Ever wonder where all that hard earned money goes? Yeah, me too. We used to be a dual income family flying to Paris, Rome, Barcelona (well, it helped that we used to be in the Air Force living in Italy). Now, we’re down to one income with me staying home and my husband going to school full time. How do we stay afloat? Let me show you how we keep our budget and our money saving hacks.
1. Actually Keep a Budget
What’s this horrible word budget you speak of? Well, it’s something you need to have on hand unless you want to go BROKE! People use this word “budget” as if it’s a derogative term. All budget means is that you know what money is coming in and how much you’re spending.
This is as easy as making an Excel Spreadsheet. Have you ever tracked what you’re eating with Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal? Well it’s the same thing. You’re going to want to cheat, you’re not going to want to put how much you actually spent on fast food but if you skip your Mc Donald’s bill or your Spotify it’s not going to work. LITTLE. THINGS. ADD. UP.
2. Speaking of Spotify…
Do you really need all those subscriptions? I know Spotify gives you an all access to music, those Ipsy subscription boxes are really fun to get with all that pink packaging and you have to watch The Office for the 100th time on Netflix.
If you add all that up you have Spotify $10 + Ipsy $10 + Netflix $10 = $30! I don’t know about you but $30 buys a big box of Huggies Diapers I know diapers are not as exciting as that sample of MAC lipstick but guess what, we’re moms now. Our fun comes in the excitement of our little ones faces now, not makeup, not new clothes and not that Chevy Camaro (I used to have all of that) Okay those things are still exciting but we just can’t afford them now.
Instead of Spotify use I Heart Radio. No it’s not ad free and you don’t have an all access to music but like I said before IT’S FREE!
Want those makeup samples still? The lovely ladies at Sephora or Ulta can hook you up with free samples or just go to the store and do up your face there. There’s no shame in this mom’s game. My daughter loves going to Ulta with me. I get to play with makeup and so does she!
No cable and now no Netflix?! Okay listen to me on this one, you can keep the Netflix but what other sites are you using? If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime have you checked out the Amazon Prime Video? It has pretty much the same stuff as Netflix and it’s included. Speaking of Amazon Prime, it also has MUSIC! Can we say bye bye Spotify? EVEN BETTER, are you a student or still have that student email? You can have 6 free months of Amazon Prime then it’s 50% off after that. Ching Ching!
3. Coupons aren’t like they used to be
I love coupons! It’s really like having free money. Guess what though? You don’t have to get the newspaper, clip those coupons then forget about them in your wallet. There’s an APP for that! I personally love Ibotta. They have coupons for the same stuff I was going to buy anyway. Do you buy cheese, bread, eggs, milk, BEER? Have your attention? Sign up at Ibotta to claim a $10 welcome bonus! I made $80 in 28 days! All that money goes straight to your PayPal as soon as you have $20 in your account.
Pretty much every major store out there has their own app with coupons too. I shop at Albertsons and Fred Myer. I love the Albertson’s app because I can find on there before hand what I’m going to buy then save it. They also have coupons around the store that you can scan through the app. I never pay full price for milk!
4. Sell Your Sh*t!
Ever look around your house and wonder why you have so much crap? Why not turn that crap into cash! I have earned $1000 selling stuff we no longer used. Dang girl, I can use $1000. Okay, I’ll tell you how I did it.
Poshmark, baby! People want those 2008 True Religion jeans that you no longer fit into. Post your clothes, your husbands clothes, your baby’s never worn NB clothes. I made $600 on clothes, ALONE! Sign up and get your first $5 free! Use referral code RACHAEL_HOOKER at Poshmark
I also sold on the old trusty Craigslist. People want baby crap! No, not that crap I’m talking play kitchens, car seats, clothes, shoes, and toys. The people want it! I’m willing to bet you, you still have stuff from your baby shower that’s unopened. Sell it! If the kid is two and you’ve still not used it, sell it!
Another thing I’ve been into is Rae Dunn. I’ve put this last because you’re going to have to spend money to make money. I don’t know where you live, but here in Eugene, Oregon people love Dunning! It’s like Black Friday at Marshall’s every morning.
Don’t know what Rae Dunn is? It’s ceramics with little cute sayings. It’s the Beanie Babies of 2018. You’ll find cups that say “Hey Girl” or “Ciao” also baking dishes that say, “Devour” or “Feast”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super cute and I’ve kept a few pieces for myself but people buy this stuff then upsell on Mercari, Ebay, Depop, Poshmark you name it!
You have to know what to buy. There are “unicorn” pieces just meaning the hard to find items. If you find a Rae Dunn mug that says “Pumpkin Spice” at TJ Maxx you just made yourself $50. It’s like an adult Easter egg hunt and I’m obsessed. A little secret of mine is ( I can tell you right?) I keep the receipt and if I don’t sell in 30 days, I return it. Hustle baby! Oh, that’s another saying on a cup, “Hustle”.
5. I love Free!
You do not have to spend a lot to have fun. In fact, you don’t have to spend anything. There are so many free things in town! I like to use the Facebook event page. If you’re not a scardy cat and have your location still turned on, it’ll show you all the events happening in town. One thing I like is Hike it Baby. It’s a local group who is probably also in your town that do meet ups and go hike. The kids have fun, the moms have fun, it’s a win win. Nothing cures the mommy blues better than good old fashion sunshine.
My local kids resell store Peppypotomus gives away free kids clothes once a month. They just get too many donations so they invite the public to come rustle through their bins for free clothes. I go when my kids don’t even need clothes. They’re going to grow into that 4T eventually and I’ll be ready!
Oh, remember those folks called parents? I’m sure they’d love to have you over for dinner. My husband and I love to score free food and drinks by going to my in-laws. Not only that, my MIL is an AWESOME cook! I have much to learn from her.
6. Speaking of food
We all have to eat right? Are you like me and have ten thousand Pinterest pins but have never made a single one? Okay, you’re going to like this. I’m sure if you have not been living under a rock you’ve heard of this but we love Hello Fresh! It’s a meal delivery service that ships you 2-4 meals a week with a handy dandy recipe. The food is so good! Simple 30 min or less meals and they are GOOD!
We can’t afford that! Of course you can. You get free meals just for signing up and THEN (shh) cancel and move on to the next meal delivery service. There’s Blue Apron, Plated, Green Chef, Marley Spoon. I’m not very good at math but I’ve counted 5 months of discounted food. Have a spouse with an email? Go through it all over again with his log in. Boom!
7. Get rid of the car payments!
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the magical man, Dave Ramsey, but if you haven’t go look him up! I am in no way a financial wizard but he is! Go to his site Dave Ramsey and school yourself on how to get out of debt and start saving that money. You’ll want to start with the 7 Baby Steps. These are easy and depending on where you’re at with your debt it could take some time.
If my husband and I didn’t do his class and start saving on our dual income before we became civilians, we would be in a lot of trouble. He helped us pay off the car, get the down payment for the house and a nice little nest egg. We’re not rich folks. Go look up how much an E4 and an E5 makes in the military. Go ahead, it’s public knowledge. Find it? See how poor we were but still bought that 300K house? Have your attention? DAVE RAMSEY!
Alright hustlers, there you have it! A few tips and tricks on how we live off of one income. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun but life’s hard, get a helmet.
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