Daily Money Saving Tip

The Starbucks store at 1912 Pike Place. This i...
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This post comes from Melissa from Mom’s Plans as part of the Yakezie Blog Swap. You can see my post on the same topic on her site.

I am on an unpaid leave of absence due to the birth of my daughter last spring.  I was given a very generous leave of absence (14 months!).  I am using this as a trial run to see if we can live without my salary so that I may stay home when my kids are little.  As a result, I have to question every single purchase every day.

The best way I have found to cut costs on a daily basis is to always ask myself, “Can I spend less money?”  Asking this question and searching for a lower cost alternative has lead to a number of different outcomes.

Bartering
*My son is taking a dance class that costs $48 a month.  Right now, there is not an extra $48 in the budget, so the easy solution would be to pull him from the class, but he enjoys it, and I think it is good for him.  Instead, I asked the dance teacher if there was financial aid or anything I could do to reduce his fee.  She agreed to let me clean the dance studio once a month in return for free tuition.

*In the past, I know that some tenants have kept up the lawn and received a discount on rent.  I asked the landlord if we could do it this year; she was more than happy to agree.  We will start keeping up the lawn in April in exchange for a discount on rent.

Finding Substitutions

*I have a mean Starbucks addiction.  My preferred drink is a soy Caramel Frappuccino with no whip, no drizzle.  While yummy, this drink costs $5.31.  Clearly, that is not in the budget.  I bought the caramel syrup from Starbucks along with the caramel coffee.  It cost me $20 to buy these (the equivalent to a little less than 4 drinks), but I am guessing I can easily get 20 to 30 homemade coffees from this, dropping my cost to less than $1 per drink.

*At the grocery store, one way I cut costs is to buy items that can be used for multiple purposes.  Whole wheat hamburger buns usually run $2 to $3.50 for 8.  Instead of paying that, I buy the whole wheat English muffins when they are on sale 6 for $1.  I store the extra in the freezer, and we can use them for breakfasts, as buns for Sloppy Joes and hamburgers, etc.

While it is true that we have had to make some changes to our life style, it is important to both me and my husband that I stay home with the kids while they are little.  Every time I want to buy something that is not in the budget, I ask myself if I can find a way to pay less money. If I can’t, I ask myself if I want it so badly it is worth going back to a job I don’t really enjoy just for the paycheck.  It never is.

9 thoughts on “Daily Money Saving Tip”

  1. Some very creative ways to cut down on everyday expenses. I like how you cut down on your Starbucks expense by making the Frappuccino at home!

    Enjoy the time with your kids, you are lucky to get such a long LOA!

  2. Really detailed and specific ideas. I particularly like the english muffin idea… I'm going to have to try it. I tried bartering with the computer repair guy today, but was able to reduce the price for service instead!

  3. MoneyCone–I am enjoying my time with the kids. It makes all of the penny pinching worthwhile! __krantcents–Yes, it is a simple thought, but one it took me a long time to embrace. __bfinance–Way to go with the computer! __The Saved Quarter–Thanks. __retirebyforty–Yes, bartering can be a lot of work. I just cleaned the dance studio for the first time last night, and it was 2.5 hours of strenuous work. I never realized how much there was to clean there!

  4. That's genius to offer to clean the studio in exchange for waiving the monthly fee! Nice work! Similar to your idea of buying English muffins, I also buy thicker bread so that I can use it for both normal sandwiches and hamburgers as well.

  5. Terrific tips! Gonna try bartering later when I get a chance. Stocking up on muffins is great. I load up on bread from Costco sometimes. A happy medium is going to a grocery store and buying their sandwiches. For some reason, when it is not made by me, it taste a tad bit better. May I need cooking classes. 🙂 It may be more expensive than making it at home, but cheaper than Subway.

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