Ever on our minds is the budget. Truth: I love budgeting! I hate looking at it when I’ve accidentally spent the monthly grocery budget on lunch at the Whole Foods hot bar. But I actually really enjoy playing with the numbers, making changes, setting goals and reaching them. I may stink at the follow through, but I’m a great planner.
Alex and I are currently residing in an apartment while renting our house to save money. We made this decision while I was pregnant with Ruthie and preparing to leave my job at Girls on the Run; Alex was holding down the fort with two jobs and grad school and it all just made sense. We have been in the apartment for a year and a half and we are Oh.So.Ready. to get out! I am ready for my hardwood floors and beautiful natural light and carpet that hasn’t existed since the 90s.
When we first moved in it was purely to survive losing one income. But in the last year we have been tremendously blessed. Alex has a new job that more than covers my old salary, he is able to slow down a bit with grad school and his second job is a choice not a requirement. Life has relaxed and so did our budget. We were spending more than we ought considering we still have some big financial goals. We held a “state of the union” or “come to Jesus” meeting and are making changes to help us reach our goals which include paying off all of our debt before our lease is up next year, setting up life insurance policies and a will before our big travel plans later this year, and contributing to Alex’s new 401K at work. So here are some simple changes we are making to save money:
1. Shopping with Walmart Grocery online with free pick up.
A couple years ago I did a grocery budget challenge and found that we saved most money when we shopped at Walmart. Over time we fell out of the habit. I actually hate shopping at Walmart. It is just so big and loud and bright and stressed me out. Also, the smell of the Subway as I walked through doors made me nauseous. I started using online shopping through Harris Teeter and found that I could save money by avoiding the actual grocery aisles and sticking to my list from the comfort of my home. When Walmart picked up the service and made it free I jumped right on board. Our grocery bill for 2 adults and 2 very hungry littles went from about $200 a week to about $125 (when I stick to the list). Plus I feel like I can still shop the little extras for snacks like pouches and almonds and LaCroix and still stay on budget! Walmart doesn’t offer many organic meats so occasionally I still run to Whole Foods but we have also started to eat more vegetarian meals.
2. Quitting Burn Bootcamp (the gym)
This was always a luxury for me, but I loved how motivating the workouts were and how strong I felt after each class. Alas, my husband’s job gives us incredibly cheap Y membership and we can save almost $100 a month by giving up bootcamp. I am not as excited about the classes at the Y, namely the class times don’t fit our schedule very well. However, the money we save each month is worth the extra effort it will take to squeeze in my workout. The weather is also improving so I have been running with Alex or the with the girls on occasion and soon I will be back on my bike. If we didn’t already have cheap membership at the Y we would likely trade that in for outdoor workouts at this time of year as well. I am just hoping I can find the motivation to stay active without my beloved bootcamp workouts.
3. Sticking to a capsule wardrobe
My love for the capsule wardrobe is deep. I did my first capsule last summer, then created a fall capsule, a winter one, and now I’m working on my Spring. As I’m looking through my clothes I actually don’t have many needs. Creating a capsule wardrobe has allowed me to focus on needs and purchase quality pieces over trendy seasonal items. This spring I am sticking with basics: a couple great pairs of jeans, easy t-shirts, a few sweaters/jackets and a couple pairs of shorts. From this list I only need to purchase a few tops and I’m all set. Ordinarily I would want all new things because I get tired of wearing the same outfits all the time. I used to buy inexpensive, less quality pieces so I could keep mixing it up. Now that I spend a little more on things that I just love and choose fewer things, I actually find that I don’t mind wearing the same thing over and over.
4. Shopping consignment
And when I do shop for me I am shopping this amazing giant sale called Green Jeans. They have three sales in the greater Charlotte area and last Fall I found some amazing items for great prices. I actually scored huge with four pairs of designer jeans, a pair of boots and two Loft shirts for less than $150! I’m going to hit up the sale again this year but with a much smaller list. I spent most of last year building a wardrobe that fits and looks great and now I just don’t need very much. We also shop consignment for most of the girls’ clothes.
5. Quitting subscription services
I know this one sounds like a no-brainer. In fact they all do, but it is so easy to get wrapped up in subscriptions, namely the Honest Company. I loooove their diapers. And I really want to buy all the makeup. But we had to quit to save money. I did the math. The $89 a month we were spending on diapers and wipes could be slashed in half buying the same amount of Target diapers and wipes. Buh-bye pretty patterns. Sad face.
These are just a few ways my family works to save money. Share in the comments what works for you!