All jobs have potential costs associated with them:
- Work clothes
- Vehicle expenses and gas
- Convenience foods for lunches
- Extra expenses for quick dinners, and eating out more for lack of time and energy to fix dinner
- Taxes taken out of your paycheck
- Babysitting and daycare for children
- Housecleaning expenses
- Dry cleaning
Unless you are working primarily for health care coverage, and especially if you desire to be at home, it is always good to calculate how much money you will actually net after factoring in these types of expenses. Meanwhile there are lots of ways to save money which ends up being money in your pocket!
25 ways to save money:
- Combine coupons with sale items to get the lowest possible prices on staples.
(You can regularly get free toothpaste, deodorant, hand soap, pain relievers…There are websites that do the research for you. The websites I use most for this are Deal Seeking Mom, and Stretching a Buck.
- Look for great clothes and home decorations at consignment shops, thrift stores or yard sales, instead of paying department store prices.
- Check books and videos out from the library for free.
- Go to matinee movies, or find a dollar theater instead of paying movie theaters’ regular high ticket prices.
- Eat out as little as possible. There are so many convenience foods at the grocery that can be prepared quickly when you’re short on time or energy.
- Utilities aren’t always fixed. For example, my local garbage service charges WAY less if you pay for the whole year at one time. (Update: I save 31% to be exact)
- When things are on sale, stock up on a few of each. The less trips to the store, the less you spend.
- Every month pay extra toward the principal on your mortgage even if it’s just a few dollars; you’ll easily save thousands over the life of your mortgage.
- When shopping throughout the year keep an eye out for good deals on birthday and Christmas gifts, and wrapping paper, and keep a stash on hand or recycle gift bags you’ve been given.
- After doing your homework, buy used cars; new cars depreciate up to 30% when you drive them off the lot.
- Budget and stick to it.
- Don’t SHOP for entertainment; find other means of entertainment.
- Eat leftovers for lunch, and make your own coffee.
- Pay bills online through your local bank and save time and postage.
- Be organized so you can find things when you need them, and not have to go out and buy another.
- Use a refrigerator pitcher with a filter instead of buying bottled water.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Borrow and share tools instead of buying them.
- Paint is a frugal way to update rooms and furniture.
- Slipcover couches and chairs that are still in good condition instead of buying new. I love Surefit’s stretchy 2 or 3 piece sets.
- If you are a member of AAA you can save on more than just hotels and car rentals. Their website lists lots of retailers online and outlets that will give you an additional discount by showing your card.
- Whenever I am ready to check out a purchase online, I always do a quick Google search with the name of the retailer and “discount codes.” Nine times out of ten I find a discount code for free shipping or a percentage off my total that is enough to pay for the shipping. My favorite site is: RetailMeNot.com
- Use a credit card with some sort of cash back program or rewards of some sort. I use mine instead of my debit card for everyday purchases (making sure to pay it off every month), and earn enough through the year for several free hotel stays.
- Exchange babysitting with a trusted friend, for time to yourself or dates with your spouse.
- Plan your meals each week! This curbs the impulse to eat out, helps you use up leftovers, and allows you the time to incorporate pantry and freezer items you may have forgotten about.
This list is far from exhaustive. The library is full of books on this topic, and there on many websites dedicated to helping people retain more of their hard earned money.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but Dave Ramsey offers great financial advice that is prudent for the economic times we are going through. If you’re working (an outside job) but desire to stay home, calculate how much your financial gain really is after your job related expenses, to see if it might be just as profitable to stay home and “earn” money by saving in certain areas of your budget.