Lately I've been reading money saving blogs and all the different ways to save money! I love all the ideas, but realize, like everything else, what works for one family does not work for another! But the general concept does!
My family has been living on a strict budget for some time. I have to admit, it's been hard, and some months seems impossible, but so far so good! We follow an altered Dave Ramsey type of plan, altered to fit our needs. At the beginning of each month my husband hits the ATM machine and takes out CASH...yes, cash! Remember that green stuff you can spend? We have all our expenses on a spreadsheet, and allow a certain amount for the month for each category, such as "kids", "fun money", "groceries", "gas" and so on. He pays the bills for the month, fills the car and then the debt cards go into hiding, so we don't have them in our wallets teasing us! We each get a certain amount of CASH to spend on ourselves, an amount for the kids, groceries and date money. We place the cash in separate envelopes and spend it out of the envelopes. When the cash is gone, it's gone. The rest of his paycheck goes into savings....an emergency fund, and debt pay down. (our debt is mostly MY student loans :( ) We have NO CREDIT CARDS...so if there is no money there is no spending! Some months are easier, but some months we spend our fun money right away and have to turn down mom's night out or a shopping trip! So far it is working....hopefully with the addition of yet another child it will continue to work!
So, I'm sure by now you wonder HOW....is there anything special we do? Well, there are a few things. I collect a few coupons, but have found that there are not many coupons that we actually use except for household things like detergent, dishwashing liquid and personal items. We shop at the Commissary, and Bj's. We use cloth diapers, and I breastfeed the kids. I make baby food and try to cut corners by doing as much myself as I can! I will admit, I do have someone come in once a month to clean my house! But that is figured into our budget...seems silly, I know, but my three kids come behind me and mess things up!
So what are a few things YOUR family does to save money?