Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Input Needed... and a Giveaway!

This post is going to be fun... at least I think so! A solicitation for tips and advice, and a giveaway wrapped into one!

Since I will stop working at the end of this school year and we will be going down to one income, I would LOVE to hear your practical money saving tips.

We have been on a tight budget before... early in our marriage, we made it a priority to get rid of our debt. School loans, credit cards, car payments... we paid off everything but our mortgage (though there is a plan in place for that, too!). So being thrifty isn't a new thing. But, pinching pennies seems to be a lot harder when you have kids! :) And when you've been used to living on two incomes and are cutting that in half.

I am particularly interested about:

- How you are able to reduce your grocery budget while still eating healthy (and for me, this includes buying the organic versions of the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies.) I already shop sales, plan my menus around them, make a list and only buy what's on it (usually :) ), and buy generic versions whenever possible. It's also important to me to use environmentally friendly cleaning products, and those tend to be more expensive. Except for vinegar... but I have a serious, serious aversion to the smell of vinegar and just wouldn't be able to clean with it. :(

- What things do you do with your kiddos that are fun, memorable, educational, and creative without spending a fortune? (Even the little petting zoo near us is $12 admission!!)

So here's how this will work. Feel free to leave any tips and pieces of advice in the comment section. For every comment you leave, you'll be entered into the giveaway. (So, if you'd rather leave 5 tips as 5 separate comments, go for it!).

And what will you win?

None other than one of my favorite CDs... "Blessings" by Laura Story!

UPDATED-- Several of you have mentioned planting my own vegetable garden. Great idea! We live in a townhouse with a hardscaped patio out back and not really any room to plant veggies. Our townhome is an interior unit, and with the way it is set up, our kitchen counters don't face the window. So... if you have any tips on planting a veggie garden given these restrictions, I would love to hear them! :)
Comments will close on Saturday, May 14th at 5pm EST. The winner will be announced on Sunday, May 15th, so be sure to check back!

77 comments:

Katie said...

Congrats on becoming a SAHM! I must have missed the big announcement. For budgets...I coupon. By getting free or cheap household stuff (cleaners, body wash, razors, toilet paper, etc.) it's freed up money in our budget for buying meat, dairy, and other produce. The weekly budget for my family of 3 is $60 and I'm normally under by a little bit. I also use Door to Door Organics.

I've joined a MOMS club. It's $25 a year, but has saved my sanity. I've made so many new friends and it's essential to get out of the house! We go to parks, farms, do arts and crafts, etc. The majority of it is free. Library story time is also a good free activity.

Krista said...

To eat healthy and save on food budget, we garden during the summer and I learned to can and preserve the foods to give us a winter stock. We also shop farmer's markets and go straight to the farmer's and purchase meat in bulk when they slaughter. I cook everything from scratch. Saves a fortune because grocery stores charge astronomical fees for organics and produce.

Carly said...

Stacy, here is one in MD that I miss...I would go to Butler's once a week and fill a whole cart for not very much $. It is such a fun place to go anyway, but they have locally grown stuff and if it is not they'll label it. They also have some pretty great homemade desserts too!!!

Sarah said...

I would look into memberships for different activities (ie. museums, zoo, play place). We have a great zoo here. There are different levels of membership. We do the all inclusive one because it is 100 for entry into everything, unlimited, and I can bring guests.

Also, definately the library for activities, a mom group for play dates. Also depending on the season, maybe you can just do the park, library and hiking/forest preseves instead of spending money.

I will post our grocery info later...

ashley said...

A fellow blogger said she puts water in her cleaning supplies. I believer her hubby and herself have been married for a couple years and she hasn't had to buy any new supplies
here are a couple ideas from her blog:

"Household cleaning spray (you can use this spray for about everything!)
1 Cup distilled white vinegar
add 10 drops each of lavender and lemon - blend together
add 2 cups purified water
Shake and use.

Window Cleaner
1 Cup distilled white vinegar
10-15 drops lemon, orange, lavender (or your favorite scent)
1 cup purified water
Shake and use."

Tonia said...

One thing that I started doing this year is making my own laundry soap. It really is A LOT cheaper and works well. Even if you make a batch and mix it with other laundry soap to stretch it a bit. If you are interested let me know and I will get the recipe that I use to you.
Tonia

Erica said...

You already know about my friend's blog thefrugalgirl.com. I shop at Aldi as much as possible which saves a bundle. At BJ's, I double up on manufacture's coupons and BJ's coupons for the same item. I use rags and washcloths to clean up kids and messes and rarely use napkins or paper towels. Couponmom.com shows you how to get things for free or very cheap by matching sales and coupons for you. My parents give me the coupon inserts from their newspapers since I don't subscribe. I plan meals based on what I already have and DO NOT waste any food. I buy very few prepackaged/processed foods, but rather try to cook from scratch, making my own bread, etc. All these little things add up and I've been spending less than $100/week on groceries. Would love to have you over for a play/pool date this summer and chat all about it! So excited for you guys!

Tonia said...

Also, I see someone else mentioned a mom's club, but that would be an idea. Even if it was just a group of say 5 friends and kids. Each time you meet (weekly or by-weekly) can be at a different persons house. Just have one person host each time. You could have snacks and playtime!! Or meet at a park one time.

Tonia said...

Join your local library. A lot of libraries do fun events for kids.

Mommato2miracles said...

Let's see: COUPONS! I love the website thekrazycouponlady.com
-plant and can your own veggies.
-fruits are hard though.
-make your own cleaning products.
I can email you info about making
your own if interested.
-hand me down clothing: consignment
stores, Craigslist, e-bay and
friends/family. Clearance sales

Mommato2miracles said...

Buy in bulk and freeze what you can
-use re-usable cleaning cloths
-swap with friends for babysitting
-for activities: local libraries
typically offer discounted tickets
to zoos, museums etc.
-google "free family fun activities
in your area. I have foun TONS
of stuff
-I do weekly playground playdates
with lots of people in warm weather, in the cooler months we
swap houses and do different craft
and activitie we have found on
websites such as "family fun"

Staci said...

Congrats on your choice to stay at home!

I work FT outside the home but am always up for saving a few dollars. Most of these tips have been mentioned but:

-coupon cutting
-joining online grocery clubs for deal alerts
-only buying items when on sale; really, leaving them behind if they aren't
-gardening and freezing
-warehouse clubs for bulk food/health items
-playgroups, for sure. parks should be free :) and home visits

King J's Queen said...

I'm so excited for you! I've been both a SAHM and a working-outside-the-home mom. Moving back to SAHM presented me with many of the same challenges.

For activities, check your local library. Most likely, they will have frequent toddler story times. Our library also offers pajama parties (early evening story times where kids wear PJs), children’s music programs and other entertainment. All for free!

Barnes & Noble also has story time for little ones, too.

For a fun afternoon, try Chuck E Cheese. They have a separate toddler play area and they welcome families who come to just play. Even if you buy a snack or drink, it’s still much less expensive than other child-focused play places.

Visit the playground at a local park, at least until Isaac’s is finished.

Take Eliana to visit State and National Parks. With National Parks, you can buy an annual pass, or pay on a per-visit basis. Most parks are relatively inexpensive. For example, Piscataway is $2/adult and $0.50/child. It’s a working colonial era farm.

Regal Cinemas has a summer movie program. The last few years have been free; but this year they are $1. Each week, they offer a G and a PG movie on Tues/Wed at 10 am. Other theater chains often offer similar programs.

I’ll do a separate comment for budget saving ideas.

Heather said...

We also live in a townhouse with a brick patio out back. We LOVE using Earth Boxes. http://www.earthbox.com/ (we got our on Amazon). They come with everything you need & can be used year after year (just new dirt & plants!). We've grown tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and herbs. It's a "fool-proof" growing system. they come on wheels & are easy to move around the patio. It's perfect :)

King J's Queen said...

Now for the grocery budget items…

Since you have no place for a garden bed, you could still create container gardens. Sure, your yield won’t be as great, but every little bit helps. If your community allows them, you could also grow some items in window boxes. Even on a small patio, there is probably room for a few plants, and you might be able to hang a pot or two on the fence. Stick with growing your most used, expensive veggies and that will make a dent in the grocery bill. For me, I don’t grow anything in my garden that I can buy for less than $1/lb fresh or frozen at the store.

Even if you can’t grow anything at home, you could still save money by buying certain produce items in bulk during peak sales and preserving them. In season, I buy tomatoes by the bushel, make salsa, bruschetta, and other sauces, then I can them (as well as canning some plain tomatoes). I use those until the next season when I can start again. There is an up-front cost of a pressure canner (if you are going to can any veggies other than tomatoes, you MUST have a pressure canner), jars and lids. The initial outlay is around $100 and can pay for itself the first year.

You could make your own bread and save a little there. I have a recipe on my blog, if you want to take a peek at it. It really is much easier than I ever thought. Some foods that are ridiculously expensive in the store are pretty easy to make at home much less expensively. Baked goods, hummus, trail/chex mix, and apple sauce are all good examples.

You could make your own cleaners and laundry detergent. I’ve been making laundry detergent for about a year and a half and it’s so worth it. One change I’ve made to the traditional recipes is that I like the smell of Wisk. So, each time I refill my bottle, I add a couple of tablespoons of Wisk for fragrance. I make some of our cleaners, too, but not all. Like you, I’m not particularly fond of the smell of vinegar, although I do use it some.

Try shopping at a grocery salvage. Our local store sells local produce, sometimes organic, for well below regular grocery stores. We also get brand name ice cream, well inside the sell-by date, for $1.25/container. These are the not-quite-2 quart containers.

Shop at thrift stores. It takes time; but there are bargains to be found, especially with little children’s clothing. They outgrow stuff long before it wears out. It’s the same with toys, books, etc.

One more thing is to sign up with your local Freecycle chapter. The idea is to keep useful things out of the landfill. Your neighbor may be looking to rehome a toy or piece of furniture you’ve been wanting. You offer up items you no longer want, but are too good to throw away. (You might be surprised at what people want. Those who raise chickens want your old egg cartons, for example.) We have both given and received many useful items through Freecycle over the years.

Good luck to you as you pursue this new endeavour!

Laura Ripley said...

Try to buy Eliana's clothes at a kids consignment sale. A lot of churches have spring and fall sales. I know if you volenteer to work a shift you get to shop before the public. You can find some really cute stuff. You can save a lot of money this way. You might have to stay away from baby Gap and Gymboree for a while.

Meegs said...

Coupons! Get Sunday's paper and start clipping. The savings can add up to the hundreds when you use them judiciously (aka don't buy something just because you have the coupon, but do use it in combo with sales on things you need to really increase your savings). My husband loves to see if he can save more then he spends each shopping trip.

Check the website of your favorite brands too... I think seventh generation often has coupons, especially when you sign up for their email list for the first time.

Also check in your area for a good farmers market. You can get great locally grown, organic fruits and veggies for less then the super markets.


As for inexpensive activities:
Check for state parks in your area... they have free trails, and are great places to spend an afternoon. Turn it into a lesson on bugs, trees, the water cycle, etc! Pack a picnic lunch.

Kelly said...

Stacey, make your own cleaning supplies and soaps using natural ingredients and reusable bottles! There are recipes on the internet for anything you could ever need found by a simple google search! Laundry detergent(that's how the Duggar's don't go broke doing 30 loads a day!), dish soap, cleaners, disinfectants, anything. It is environmentally conscious and wallet friendly!

Kelly said...

For free or close to things to do with the kiddos, take advantage of your local parks...if you want to frequent places like zoos or public beaches that require admission, spring for the season passes, you'll save so much in the long run. For rainy days, we LOVE McDonalds. Not my favorite for lunch fare, but if you load your kiddies up on a healthy lunch and then go to the Playplace to play, you just get yourself something to drink AND they get a FREE kiddie cone of vanilla soft serve.

Kelly said...

I have found that it extremely rewarding to interact with Ashton while teaching her all at the same time. I go online and search around for Sunday school and pre-school Christian home school ideas and a couple of days a week we do lessons, read books, learn about Jesus, craft, play games. I am using www.sundayschoolcenter.com right now for a lot of my ideas.

Kelly said...

oh yeah! How could I forget! The LIBRARY is AWESOME! We have so much fun there!

Jenny said...

Hi Stacy,
Love this post... I'm cutting my hours in half when the new baby comes and have gotten a lot of great ideas already from other comments - thanks everyone!

Living in NYC, it is super expensive to go places, etc... I joined groupon.com (i didn't check to see if frederick is listed as one of the towns, but DC and Baltimore are) and they've had some GREAT deals for kids... like buy one get one free, trial gym packs, etc.... that I've been able to take advantage of these past few months. They frequently have food deals, too... for example, for $15, I get $30 worth of food from a "snack warehouse"... which just so happens to carry the little bunny crackers Eli loves. Gourmet food companies also appear often, so I've been buying gifts for family that way.

Doodledeals also has some great online things (not sure if they have it outside of nyc)... I got a package of five music classes for Eli for $60. There are a bunch of online deal groups for moms.

Do you use Pampers diapers? I've been saving up my pampers gifts to grow points for 2 years and will be able to get some great stuff soon! (Huggies has a program, too).

One thing I've found that helps in regards to not buying more clothes (HE HAS PLENTY) for Eli is to NOT GO IN THOSE STORES. Just don't do it. You'll find a deal and won't be able to resist. I live a block away from The Children's Place and it's a frequent temptation... haven't bought any clothes for him in a long time, though!!!

Join amazon moms. You get free shipping for a year (2 day prime shipping) and diapers are 20 or 30% off. If you buy enough times, they'll let you join for MORE than a year.

We go to the park a lot! And holy cow - maybe it's just NYC, but if you go to the Barnes and Noble kid's section during the day, that is toooootally an outing. Kids all over the place!!

Going over to another kid's house for a few hours is toooootally a day outing (we did that today).

Simple things like a picnic outside can be a good free outing!

I imagine you'll be going to the pool a lot - that will take up a lot of time!

Hope that helps a little. :)

Melissa Jo - mjp photography said...

first I want to say you're great...if you remember...I was the lucky winner a few years ago of another of your giveaway's, the Chris Tomlin CD...AMAZING....Love it! So anyway, I have been doing coupons...not nearly to the extreme of TLC's new TV show "Extreme Couponing"....but it really does help...$5 to $10 here and there does help!

Melissa Jo - mjp photography said...

another thing I do....although I have the space for planting, I like to do some small items in pots on my porch...I do lettuce and some spices in pots, I either put them on the porch or deck, or I put them on a small table inside under the window for great light! Nothing like those fresh herbs and yummy lettuce! God Bless!

Jenell said...

This year I started couponing and am saving hundreds of dollars! I also buy as much organic as I can. I'm not sure if you have a Trader Joe's but they are awesome, cheap and have a great selection for organic. I also shop our farmer's market. I love the following blog! It has a series on reducing your grocery budget and the ins and outs on the "drugstore game", where I now shop mostly for free, plus tax. It also matches coupons to your local grocery stores, which has helped a ton! Good luck. :)
http://moneysavingmom.com/

Jacksmom said...

You could always try planting a container garden. We tried last year and put our containers on our porch/deck. We were successful with cucumber, some strawberries (though certainly not enough), and tomato, but broccoli and green beans were duds.

Another option I have heard alot of friends like is doing a farm co-op. You get whatever is in season on the farm each delivery, but if you like a variety of foods and have a nice recipe database it could work.

Chris said...

Use coupons. They do exist for natural and organics. Save on the things you are able to, so you can splurge where you want to.
JenK

Chris said...

Know your store policy. Shop at the store that is the most customer and coupon friendly. Use paperless coupons loaded onto your loyalty card.
JenK

Chris said...

Eat at home. Find organic sales. Whole foods and Wegmans (coming soon to a town near you:) offer sales on organic meats, veggies and dairy products.
JenK

Chris said...

Stock pile non perishable items, when they are a the lowest possible price (find this using a price book).
JenK

Sarah said...

Although, I'm still very much working on adjusting to life on one income with a child, here are a couple things I've started doing/plan to do.

- couponing. I have started clipping and frequent a couple of blogs that help me while I'm still in the learning stages. They are www.moneysavingmom.com and www.southernsavers.com.

- get rid of landline. If you do have one currently but want to keep it, we are looking into getting something called ooma. It's basically an internet phone and my super frugal brother-in-law has had good luck with it and it's super cheap.

I'm excited that you get to be at home with Ellie now. I know God will meet your needs since He has put this on your heart!

Lots of love! Sarah :-)

asplashofsunshine said...

if you have freecycle.org in your area, check out the website! It's fantastic for clothes, toys, or even food.

Make a meal plan, or at least for dinner. Helps to not have excess condiments, meats, etc.

Spend time looking into free experiences for your family. Activities such as storytime at the library, parks n' rec activities. Constantly check the web for summer deals at movie theaters, or play groups.

I focused on mostly kid things since kids are usually the ones that require so much of our finances. Good luck. You'll be fine, just get creative.

Kincaid said...

cloth diapers :) seriously. and Costco...they have lots of organic options and great prices on dairy products. If you want suggestions for cloth diapers...feel free to email me, I could pretty much write a book about all the different types I've tried :) congrats on SAHM status...it's an adventure I'm sure you'll love!

Lis said...

I wish I could help you more.

I stayed at home this year (and as a side, you will not regret it!). I do not do "enough" to make sure we're eating top-notch happy, and only since going down to one income did I become more aware of clipping coupons, buying generic, etc., so basically what you are already doing. The only suggestion I have is when you find something for a good price, buy a lot and make as much as you can with it, freezing it if necessary. I'm more about just stretching things; making large quantities we can eat for awhile so we're not buying SO much food. (For example, I make chili in a slow cooker and we eat it alone, over pasta, in a burrito, over rice, etc.)

As for the second question, I do a lot and I'm trying to think how to answer you because I have a much older boy than your Eliana, plus we're in a big city so there's just so much to SEE and not have to pay for. I signed up for a newsletter (nymetroparents.com) that is AWESOME. Weekly they send events that are happening all over NY for free or that are very cheap. Perhaps they have something like that around you?

And totally unrelated, since being at home I've learned the value of things like Swagbucks, signing up to do online surveys, focus groups, etc. I won't post any links here because I do not know if you want that, but I've been able to get a lot of "little" spending money here and there, and it's all how much I want to do and when I want to do. Something to think about.

I just wanted to let you know how much I love how transparent you continue to be about your walk since losing Isaac. I am so glad he is written about so regularly. You are helping a lot of people.

rachel said...

Cloth diapers - saves a fortune! If you can't/don't want to, Amazon Subscribe & Save is awesome - 30% off all diapers/wipes.

Costco for stuff that isn't on Amazon subscribe & save.

I go to free parks and libraries for our entertainment.

I buy produce in season and when things are on sale, I buy a lot, prepare it, and freeze into meals ahead of time. I think it's cheaper because we aren't going out for food as much, but it's not necessarily a penny-pinching technique.

I buy things on Craigslist or clearance. I have never paid full-price for a single baby item!

Good luck - others have some great ideas.

Trista said...

AN IDEA FOR A GARDEN WITH YOUR LIMITED SPACE IS A GARDENRACK. GO TO GARDENRACK.COM TO SEE A PICTURE. WHAT IS NICE ABOUT THIS IS IT IS WAIST HIGH SO KIDS AND PETS CAN'T GET IN TO THEM.

Trista said...

HOMEMADE YOGURT CAN SAVE YOU A LOY OF MONEY IF YOU EAT A LOT OF IT. MY DAUGHTER EATS YOGURT ALMOST EVERYDAY. IT IS VERY EASY TO DO IN A CROCKPOT. THERE IS LOTS OF GREAT RECIPES OUT THERE FOR IT.

Trista said...

MONEYSAVINGMOM IS A GREAT BLOG TO FOLLOW. I HAVE SAVED SO MUCH MONEY BY FOLLOWING HER.

Trista said...

WATCH FOR SALES AT TARGET ON DAIPERS OR PULLUPS. THEY USUALLY HAVE WHERE YOU BUY TWO OR THREE PACKS AND GET A FIVE DOLLAR GIFTCARD AND THEN YOU CAN USE COUPONS FOR THEM ON TOP OF THAT. YOU CAN USUALLY FIND PRINTABLE COUPONS FOR HUGGIES ON THE INTERNET AND YOU CAN FIND PAMPERS IN THE COUPON FLYERS IN THE SUNDAY PAPER. JUST REMEMBER TO HAVE A SEPERATE COUPON FOR EACH PACK OF DIAPERS.

Trista said...

CONSIGNMENT SHOPS!!!!! I KNOW YOUR LITTLE ONE GROWS FAST AND YOU CAN SELL SOME OR ALL THOSE CLOTHES AT A CONSIGNMENT SHOP. YOU CAN USE THE MONEY TO BUY THINGS THERE OR TAKE THE MONEY TO USE ON SOMETHING ELSE.

I FIND NEW TAGS ON CLOTHES ALL THE TIME OR STUFF THAT DOESN'T EVEN LOOK WORN. BRANDS LIKE GYMBOREE, CHILDRENS PLACE, BABY GAP.

Taylor said...

I would see if any of the girls in your neighborhood are interested in sharing a Costco membership. They are getting more and more organic and all-natural food and products. For example, I buy a 4-lb bag of organic quinoa there for $9.

*Michelle* said...

Become friends with coupons, thrift stores, yard sales and the internet. Couponing will save you money, even if your not into it extreme, every little bit helps. Thrift stores and yard sales, will help you buy gently used items for a fraction of the cost. And last the internet it will help you find places to go that are free and/or low cost that are near bye, help with the coupons and all in all just help with budgeting your money a little better. There are a ton of blogs dedicated to it. Im sure its all starting to sound like a broken record by now cause we are all saying the same things, but I really hope this helps :)

Taylor said...

oh also organic grass-fed beef is $4/lb, organic chicken is (I think) $5/lb and cage-free eggs are $3.50/2 dozen. I can't remember how much organic milk is because we usually buy almond milk instead.

Sarah H said...

Well, first of all you should definitely join MOPS. We meet twice a month- once for a formal meeting at church and then once for a more informal playdate.

Sarah H said...

Our favorite "Free" activity is storytime at the public library. All the libraries do it and the storytimes change based on your child's age. Weston has loved "Babies with Books" and now he is going to "Transition into Twos"- also alot of fun. We sing songs, read books, learn fingerplays, and it is a great place to meet other moms.

Sarah H said...

Sign up for Amazon Mom and get your diapers and wipes there. You can get all the name brands (Pampers, Huggies, Luvs) for 30% less than what you would pay at Walmart or Target. And they ship them for free right to your door.

jeeper said...

Another thing i forgot to mention is bartering. You can use you skills as a teacher and offer tutoring in exchange for services needed. Many communities have a barter exchange where people list what they will barter.

jeeper said...

A lot of moms make a decent income by carrying advertising on their blogs. Many of these companies give free products for bloggers to review & endorse.

Sonya said...

use coupons. stack them with any store coupons and buy items on sale. find a store that doubles coupons to save even more money. I usually only get good coupons for toiletry items and I always buy as many items as I have coupons for and basically stock up on those when they are on sale. I am always able to do the same things with diapers and formula.

Sonya said...

our little ones LOVE to go to the park so we do that very often. We are pretty lucky that there are 3 differnt parks fairly close so they don't get bored with going to the same one over and over again.

Sonya said...

lots of places offer "free admission" days during the summer. check out websites for your favorite places like the zoo to see if they offer something liek that.

Sonya said...

you might try a container vegetable garden. you can use flower pots or planter box things to grow them in instead of planting them in the ground.

Sonya said...

http://thekarels.blogspot.com/2009/05/homemade-laundry-detergent.html

I make my own laundry detergent

Emily said...

Since you can't have your own garden space, maybe a friend who lives nearby would share some space with you. If you were willing to put in the work and by the plants and help maintain it, then maybe they would let you garden in their yard. I really enjoyed gardening last year.

Holly said...

Have you tried using 50/50 vinegar? (50% vinegar and 50% water) It doesn't have quite as strong a smell as 100% vinegar.

To save money we use a lot of things cloth-diapers, table towels (in place of paper towels), facial rounds, tissues.

You can get those planters that hang upside down and grows veggies and such. Maybe give that a try?

Emily said...

For the fruits and veggies, I would also try to check out any local farmer's markets or places where you can pick your own fruits. In our area we have blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, and a few more to pick on our own. They are grown organically and these things freeze very well. It really helps to have at least a small chest freezer to stock up on things when you find them for a good deal as well.

Emily said...

You can sign up for programs for freebies and great coupons for free products. Viewpoints and Kraft First Taste are a couple that I have gotten a lot of free stuff from, like a 20 pack of Cascade tabs for my dishwasher, free razors, and free full size pantene shampoo.

Team Lando said...

NATIONAL ZOO! It's free (or $60 for the year, that covers the insane parking) and you can bring food in to picnic. :)

Laura said...

You can garden in bales of hay :) it works really well and not as "messy" or needing as much room on the hard patio

Melissa Jo - mjp photography said...

oh no bad blogger....I think I wrote about winning here before...the AWESOME Chris Tomblin CD....Love it!!! Thanks Again!!!

My favorite "money saver" is first coupons....although I'm slacking a bit.

God bless, Melissa Jo

Melissa Jo - mjp photography said...

oh and one other thing, with the gardening, I love to plant lettuce and some herbs we use in small pots on my porch, although also I am sure you could some like indoor plants and set them in front of the windows...good for the soul...Gardening!!!! AAAAHHHH!!!

Julie said...

I use vinegar and water for all sorts of cleaning stuff. You can get a huge thing of vinegar for really cheap. I also use cloth napkins instead of paper and rags instead of paper towels.

Julie said...

Oh, and couponing is a given!! Buy your diapers at Amazon (join Frugal Girls or Baby Cheapskate on Facebook for lots of great diaper deals and tons of other deals). You get free next-day shipping with Amazon Mom, and it is cheaper than diapers in the store.

Julie said...

Also, join your local Freecyle group. In addition to getting rid of stuff and simplifying your life, you can get toys for Ellie. They grow out of them so fast, and people put some really nice toys (and clothes!) up for free!! I have more or less filled Caleb's playroom with Freecycle stuff (except for the toys he gets as gifts!) When she's done with it, just freecycle it again!

Trista said...

DUPLICATE

A IDEA FOR A GARDEN WITH YOUR LIMITED SPACE WOULD BE A GARDENRACK. GO TO GARDENRACK.COM AND CHECK THEM OUT. THEY ARE WAIST HIGH SO PETS AND SMALL CHILDREN CAN'T GET INTO THEM.

Trista said...

DUPLICATE

MONEY SAVING MOM IS A GREAT BLOG TO FOLLOW I FIND SO MANY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY FROM HER BLOG.

Trista said...

DUPLICATE

YOU CAN SAVE LOTS OF MONEY MAKING HOMEMADE YOGURT. ESPECIALLY IF YOU FAMILY EATS A LOT OF YOGURT. IT IS SUPER EASY TO MAKE AND YOU CAN EVEN MAKE IT IN A CROCKPOT. THERE IS LOTS OF RECIPES ONLINE.

Trista said...

DUPLICATE

CONSIGNMENT SHOPS!!! I KNOW YOUR LITTLE ONE GROWS FAST AND YOU CAN SELL SOME OR ALL THOSE CLOTHES. YOU CAN SPEND THE MONEY ON OTHER CLOTHES THERE OR ON SOMETHING ELSE YOU NEED. I FIND STUFF ALL THE TIME WITH NEW TAGS OR STUFF THAT LOOKS BRAND NEW. EVEN BRANDS LIKE GYMBOREE, CHILDRENS PLACE AND BABYGAP.

Trista said...

DUPLICATE

TARGET RUNS GREAT DEALS ON DIAPERS AND PULLUPS. LIKE WHERE YOU BUY TWO BOXES OR THREE PACKS OF DIAPERS AND TOU GET A FINE DOLLAR GIFTCARD AND THEN IF YOU HAVE COUPONS ON TOP OF THAT YOU CAN GET A REALLY GREAT DEAL.

YOU CAN FIND HUGGIES PRINTABLE COUPONS ONLINE AND PAMPERS IN THE SUNDAY PAPER. JUST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SEPERATE COUPON FOR EACH PACK OF DIAPERS.

Jennifer said...

All my money saving tips have already been mentioned I think except I don't remember if anyone said anything back about looking for items in your budget you can cut out like (big gasp here) cable. We have 5 kiddos, I stay home (obviously), and we homeschool which can be costly. We've cut everything possible, we coupon, we buy almost everything used, but we still live a happy, blessed life!! Good Luck on this new adventure!

Also please enter me in the giveaway! Would love that CD! :)

Jeni V said...

Yay for being able to make it work to stay home with your little one :)

My favorite places to go for activities for my little ones is the library and bookstores which always offer free story hours with crafts involved. We also purchase a yearly membership to the zoo which feels like it provides free activities throughout the year. Our zoo (I live in Phoenix, AZ) allows outside food so I pack a lunch and the only money spent is on gas. I also love just taking walks and visiting the local parks.

As far as food budgeting and your lack of a yard. Have you ever thought of building planters? My brother-in-law did this with some wood from Home Depot and he has three square planters on his concrete patio that is producing a lot of produce for him!! If you have the space on your patio it may be workth looking into. I also use coupons and get three Sunday papers which gives me a greater amount of coupons which allows me to stock up on items when they are on sale so I can get the greatest savings.

Hope these ideas are helpful and ENJOY your time at home with your little one!

*Michelle* said...

Duplicate- Well im not sure my exact words but It was mostly about using the internet as a resourcs to find frugal/money-saving blogs or websites, there are tons. And using cupons, even 50cent ones add up after a while, yardsales and thriftstores. OH and I just read on someones comment about losing cable, been there done that, and let me tell you it really does save some cash and with the interent you really dont need it. Good luck

The Shepherd Family said...

As far as finding things to do, when i stayed home I found a moms group on Meetup.com. (there are other interest groups available on the site too)
At first it was strange, but now I have at least 20 good friends from those groups 5 years ago. We have sinced moved states and still keep up. These ladies helped me survive those first years of parenting:) And yes, you can find good deals on fun places to go. (we frequent chick fil a around here:)

JB said...

You can do a lot in patio containers. Lettuces and greens do well like that, herbs too. Much of my garden is on my deck in planters of various sized because it is close to my kitchen. Another great source is local farmer's markets for cheap and organic produce. Buy what is in season.
Subscribe to emails and newsletters fro your area that advertise free activities for kids. Hardware stores, books stores, recreation centers offer free and low cost activities for families, especially in summer.
I am a mom who teaches, but since I am married to a teacher, we have to be frugal on two incomes!
Jennifer

Jenny said...

I'll try to remember everything I said the first time, but my memory isn't the best these days! lol.

Groupon.com is a great way to get deals for restaurants, online food places (gourmet baskets you can get for half price for gifts.... as well as snack places, etc for half price) and kiddie activities (I got Eli a pack of 5 gym classes for $65).

Amazon.com has a moms program where you can become a prime member for free for a year, which entitles you to free 2 day shipping as well as 30% of diapers.

To save TONS of money, do NOT GO IN kid's clothing stores. Stay away from Gymboree, baby gap, the children's place, etc. Eli has sooooo many clothes and still I buy things "because they're on sale!" for him.

I went to a consignment sale and got GREAT deals on kid's toys, diapers, etc. I also got some GREAT things for baby showers ($$$ sucking event!) coming up.

Fold construction paper in half and have Ellie color on it instead of buying Hallmark cards.... it's more personal and much cheaper!

Living in NYC, we can't afford to go to many classes/events/museums, etc..... so we go to a lot of parks, have playdates (one good playdate is a whole day's activity!), etc.

I've spent a fortune on books that I could have gotten from the library. Also - at the library, I check out kids CDs instead of buying them for Eli.... he gets a wide variety of music and it's free!

Barnes and Noble (which someone mentioned already) is a GREAT place to take kids....at least here in NYC. Tons of kids running around.... Eli met new friends, read books, etc.

Are you signed up for the Pampers gifts to grow program? We're going to get our next birth announcements (or pictures or photo books) for free cause of all of the codes I've entered. Even if you don't like Pampers, there are tons of free codes out there - you can ride those for a while! Huggies also has a similar program - I won a $15 Pea in the Pod gift card through them.

Doodledeals.com..... I bought a package of 5 music classes for $55 through them. (Lol.... that's good for NY standards).

Sorry if I left some things out! Hope that helps a little. I love reading the tips from others.... that money mom website is a KEEPER. :)

Jeff and Melissa Blair said...

I have some great tips to share!

Household supplies - My biggest tip is that I make my own laundry detergent. With my family of 6, we have saved hundreds of $$ by doing this. I started about 18 months ago, and it took me awhile to find a good recipe that I like, but I finally found one from TLC's Duggar family that I like really well. http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/homemade-laundry-soap.htm. In the past year and a half, I have spent less than $10 total on laundry detergent (I average about 10 loads a week too)!!

Healthy/organic eating - look into your local Community Supported Agriculture program. I belong to one here in Ohio, and I pay about $20 per week to have a decent sized box of organic vegetables and fruit delivered right to my door! Many CSA programs will offer options for buying things like milk, eggs and bread from local farmer's market's too.

Things to do - It sounds so simple, but check with your states visitor's bureau online. I did it last summer and was surprised to discover many small museums, parks and historical sites that were nearby that I have never hear of (I have lived here my whole life too). Many are tiny little museums that are set up by local small towns in my area with little to no charge for admission. Since your are on the East coast, you are probably in the heart of historical sites and parks!! Also one of the best, educational and least expensive family vacations you could ever take is a trip to Washington D.C. Nearly everything is free, and there is so much to do for all ages! Something for everyone.

Good luck at your new career as a stay at home mom! It is so challenging and rewarding, and wouldn't change it for the world!

PS - no need to put me in your giveaway. I was just happy to pass along some mom to mom advice!

jeeper said...

Many blogger moms make a decent income putting advertising on their blogs. Many companies give them products to review & give away.
Also, you can use your teacher skills to tutor & barter for services you need.