Ten Ways I Save My Large Family Money

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I have lots of tricks up my sleeve.  Frugal yes, down right cheap–certainly! Hey, it all helps keep me home, where I belong, with my babies. Winking smile

Here are some big and small ways our big family saves money.

1.) REUSE Ziploc bags – Yup, I’m THAT cheap.   I wash the Ziploc bag in the dish water like anything else, then turn it inside out to dry.  I then keep the used bags in a plastic grocery bag for storage and easy access.

2.) No paper napkins – We don’t use paper napkins or paper towels. A little bit ago I had the joy of getting new dish towels {ya’ know it doesn’t take much}.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw the old dish towels away.  I just knew there had to be a use for them.  I had a light bulb moment. I cut the old dish towels into squares and reused them as napkins.  We wash them just like cloth napkins.  A very funny relative who was eating with us one night commented “oh, look…it’s the napkins that Jesus used!” They’re not pretty but they get the job done.

3.) Make my own laundry detergent, fabric softener and clean with vinegar {o.k…I just squeezed three in for #3}. It only costs me around $8 annually to make our own laundry detergent.  Huge savings.

4.) Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping – Huge money saver for me.  It keeps me out of the stores and it makes me create a list to really focus on what I will need.  Shopping once-a-month cuts out a lot of the frills and silly things that we don’t really need. It takes away the urge to impulse shop and all the “I want, I want, I want!”  It also makes me use what’s in my refrigerators and pantry, especially when it’s getting close to shopping day. 

5.) Use Cloth Diapers Often.  With two little boys, ages two and under in diapers, I use disposables when we’re away from home.  It’s just easier.  However, I love cloth diapers and use them at home much of the time.

6.) Buy the Family Pass –  We have seen, even when we were a family of four, that buying passes to museums/amusement parks was a wise option for our family. Even though it cost us more out-of-pocket upfront it saves us money in the long run. Now as a family of seven buying the large pass is the only way to go.  We have bought various passes ourselves and have family members that may buy our family a large pass as a gift. Here is the annual science museum pass we buy. This museum pass allows us to visit over 200 science museums nation wide.  After we visit just two museums we consider the rest of our visits for the year to be free. You can read about one of our many trips here where we “milked” this pass for every penny!  We’ve also done this with the children’s museum reciprocal pass.

7.) Buy books for our homeschool at the thrift store, yard sales, book fairs, etc. – or anywhere else CHEAP I can find them.  This is a “God thing.”  He gives me books from heaven it seems!  I snatch up any book with a Newberry or award seal.  After doing this for years we’ve been growing a nice home library.

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8.) Use more sausage instead of hamburger –  Lately I’ve notice, like everything, the price of ground beef is going up.  However, I’ve been able to find sausage for 0.99 cents per pound. I’m not even talking about healthy here folks.  I’m talking home cooking, at least attempts there of, and LOTS.  We like lots!  I can use two pounds of sausage instead of ground beef in spaghetti, chili, tacos, etc. Let me add, it tastes yummy.  Very, very, yummy!

9.) Use a wood-stove –   We feel very blessed by our wood stove.  The first year we lived in this house our heating gas bill was $380 per month!  We also had to use supplemental electric heaters in some rooms.  DOUBLE YIKES!  That first pricey year woke us up to our need to get our wood stove in working order. I also left my job as a Charge Nurse during this time to stay home full-time with our children.  The need to cut every corner was very important. For the past four years we’ve used nothing but our wood stove as heat and love it. It heats our entire 2,000 sq ft house.  Literally in January we will all be walking around in t-shirts because it heats the house so efficiently.  The cost of wood for our wood burning season is generally under $700.  In October, November, March and April, we may only do a fire in the evening.  During December, January, February, and March, we keep the stove burning around the clock.  It’s a wonderful, toasty, savings!  {This year we’ve been blessed with FREE wood that my husband has already started to cut for next season.}

10.) Paid for vehicles – This one can be easier said than done as well.  For me though this was a big step.  I had the worldly mindset for many years that I had to always have a new car.  I thought it was o.k. to always be in debt and always have a car payment.  Boy, we’ve come a long way! When we assessed me leaving my Charge Nurse job, and began praying over my being home full-time, one of the biggest things we saw I was working for was car payments, insurance and car taxes. How many woman are leaving their children to pay for debt?  I’m the first to raise my hand that I did.  Not only was I working for car payments.  I was also working for annual trips to Disney, new Nikes, eating out, weekly frivolous shopping, extra gas expenses…the list my friends goes on. So let me add, my staying home and NOT working saves our family money as well.

BONUS:  I buy a years worth of school supplies in August during the back to school sales. Usually for around $10, I pick up boxes of spiral notebooks, crayons, glue and markers.  It’s almost JUNE and we still have supplies in baskets from last summers sale.

What are some ways you save your family money?


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