All Articles Tagged "money"

Can You Have A Baby While On A Budget?

June 20th, 2016 - By Melissa Edwards
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Corbis

As most of us already know, having a baby can put a serious dent in your wallet! Between healthcare costs, medical expenses and essentials for your baby, there can be little to no disposable income left over at the end of the month.  So how do you manage to give your baby everything he or she needs without breaking the bank? Here are some tips we hope you find extremely helpful.

1. Accept and Ask For Hand-Me-Downs

As one of the last of my friends to have children, my mommy girlfriends were all too happy to part with baby clothes and gear they no longer needed.  This mutually-beneficial arrangement allowed them to clear up some much-needed storage space while helping me avoid paying for a number of items, most of which the baby would only need for one to three months anyway (since a baby’s needs vary so much by their ever-changing stages and are most items are quickly outdated).

2.    Breastfeed

In addition to providing optimal nutrition for your baby, breastfeeding is also extremely cost-effective since it eliminates the need to constantly restock formula, bottles, disinfecting and warming devices, etc. Granted, not everyone might be lucky enough to produce enough milk, or for other reasons, the baby may not be able to breastfeed, but if you can, nursing is a great way to cut back on baby rearing expenses.

3.    Invest in Fewer Baby Clothes

Most new moms especially are easily enticed into buying “adorable” outfits for their little ones. But before you break the bank setting out to doll up your baby from head to toe, consider how quickly they will outgrow those designer newborn onesies  – most of which might only be worn a few times at most. When you start retiring outfits faster than it took to purchase them, you quickly realize the time and money wasted.

4.    Skip the Designer Stroller

As a new mom, I had no idea how pricey some strollers could be until a friend offered to sell me her $900 stroller for half the price.  Can you say “sticker shock!” The fact that she only used it for barely a year and already needed to update to another style to accommodate her second baby on the way, made me realize that an expensive stroller might not be the best investment.  Instead I opted for a budget-friendly ‘travel system.’ Considering I’ll already need to update the car seat portion in a few months, I’m glad I didn’t overspend on this purchase.

5.    Don’t’ Be Afraid to Go Generic

Wanting the very best for your baby is only natural.  However, as an aunt to three teenagers, I’m fully aware that there will eventually come a time when they will ask for and appreciate brand name items. Until then, your baby won’t mind if you’re not buying the premium diapers, wipes or other products, so enjoy that freedom to consciously budget while you still can.

Does It Cost More To Raise A Boy Or A Girl?

June 15th, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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Most parents will probably agree that raising a child isn’t cheap. There are so many basic necessities that add up each month like food, clothes, toiletries and school supplies. And what about the other things like extracurricular activities or unexpected medical costs for an ailment or a child that’s unwell?

In 2013 the U.S. Department of Agriculture proved just how costly it is to raise a child by releasing a report called “Cost of Raising a Child.” They found that for a middle-income family in the U.S. to raise a child up until 18 years old costs on average $245,340.

But is it more expensive to raise a boy or girl?

The financial site MoneyTips recently did a survey of almost 500 parents around the country asking  “which gender is more expensive to raise?” 60 percent of parents all thought it was more expensive to raise a girl and it said that those parents spent more on their girls in clothing, toiletries, and school supplies.

However a UK study from Halifax bank says that parents thought boys were more expensive because they have more wear and tear on their things like clothing, shoes, furniture, and even toys. Halifax said: “Boys are more likely than girls to need items of uniform replacing more frequently due to wear and tear than girls, and with a greater number of extra curricular sports favoured by boys, the cost of buying and replacing the kit for these can add up.”

Regardless of how expensive some people feel it is to raise a boy or a girl, raising kids in general is still pricey. One way to cut back on costs is to budget and plan ahead. Here are some tips that may help.

Tip #1 Shop During Sales And Use coupons 

This isn’t always easy to do but that extra amount of effort on your part could save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and for clothing and possibly toiletries for your entire household.

Tip #2-Keep Your Receipts For Each Month

When you have time go back and separate them into categories so you can see how much money you spent on groceries, eating out, and extra curricular activities. That way if you are in a bind it will show you where you can cut something for the next month. And if you want to go the extra step keep a budget going every month to help you stay on track and monitor your spending.

Tip #3 Don’t Be Afraid To Barter

Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to introduce bartering into your life. If you are low on cash one month and need a babysitter then ask a trusted friend if she can watch your kids and tell her you will watch hers next time for free when she goes out.

Tip #4 Vintage Is Your Friend

If you aren’t afraid of used or some slightly used things there are many low cost options or sometimes even free things at your disposal. You can make it a weekly routine on a Sunday evening for half an hour to check your local paper or a trusted mom site for people giving away free things like children’s furniture. Sometimes someone has to move to another city quickly and they don’t want the hassle of taking a lot with them. Also places like Good Will or other local vintage stores offer kids clothing at a very low cost.

 

Is This Petty? My Boyfriend Owes Me Money But Gets Upset When I Ask For It

June 10th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I think we can all agree that lending money to friends and family is a no-no. There’s nothing worse than having to find a less than aggressive way to confront your aunt or your friend about that loan that they mistook for a gift. And while blasting “B—h Better Have My Money” by Rihanna would be a great way to do it in theory, that’s probably going to make a negative situation worse. So unless the person requesting coins is known for paying people back in a timely manner, tell them that all you can loan them is the lint in your pocket.

But what do you do when your boyfriend needs to borrow some money to cover certain expenses and comes to you? You might want to cry broke in this situation too. In the case of one woman, she would probably encourage you to do so after her boyfriend of more than a year decided to take his sweet time to pay her back on a hefty loan. Things were going great in their relationship–until he decided to stick her for her paper.

“He paid me back a small amount of it but right now he owes me $330 because of other things that have been adding up,” the young woman wrote online. “Whenever I ask him about it he gets all irritated and upset…I’m tired of waiting and i’m worried that he is taking advantage of me because I have more money.”

I can’t imagine trying to make a relationship work when your boyfriend owes you money and has the nerve to be annoyed by your inquiries into when you’ll get that money back. If he doesn’t pay up soon, I’m pretty sure this young woman’s resentment will grow even stronger, and if it does, it will be time to question if this is a person she needs to be with. A few dollars here and there is one thing, but loaning out hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars only to have your significant other drag their feet about paying up? Not a good look. The fact that he doesn’t see the importance of paying what he owes, as though ignoring it will kill all communication on the matter since she’s his girlfriend, shows that he has some less than admirable traits as a partner.

Not to add to the pettiness here, but if things seem to be going well aside from the money issue, I would probably go the route of avoiding picking up any tabs or helping with expenses and outings. If and when he asks why she isn’t helping out or paying him back for purchases he’s been making for her (maybe when she needs him to run certain errands), she can ever so graciously remind him about that debt.

But aside from that, I wouldn’t run to Judge Judy over this. Court costs are no joke and the time wasted? Well, it’s up to the wronged party to figure out if it’s really worth it. But sometimes you have to take a loss to learn an important lesson in life. In this situation, the lesson is that you don’t need to play Shylock to anybody, and you shouldn’t lend money that you can’t afford to lose. So for the young woman in this messy money situation, I would recommend confronting her boyfriend in a straightforward manner with an actual plan of how he can pay what he owes (instead of just asking, “When can you pay me back?”). Tell him she will take a certain amount per week or come knocking when he gets paid. If he can’t oblige then she can tell him that he won’t be hearing from her. Yes, it might be best for her to cut her losses and cut him off (and maybe cuss him out on the way out of the door)…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you say? Is this a petty issue she should let go of or should she cut him off if he can’t chooses not to pay up? How would you handle things? 

Check out our newest series Curls Run The World featuring YouTuber Yolanda Renee:

Do You Know Your Man’s Credit Score?

June 2nd, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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It’s been said that financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce, yet many couples still take the marriage plunge completely oblivious to each other’s financial situations.

A recent survey conducted by Experian, revealed that an alarming 40 percent of newlyweds don’t even know their partner’s credit score.

“Newlyweds were surprisingly unaware of their spouse’s financial situation before walking down the aisle,” said Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian. “One in three newlyweds reported that their spouse’s spending habits are different than what they expected.”

Even worse, the majority of the 1,000 recently married participants who were surveyed said that they would spend $800 before telling their spouse and 16 percent of respondents admitted to committing financial infidelity by maintaining secret bank accounts.

Ironically, although many newlyweds don’t seem to be communicating about finances the way that they probably should, 80 percent of them said that they found credit scores to be important and 92 percent said that financial responsibility was an important trait for a spouse to possess. On top of that, 25 percent of newlyweds confessed that they did not know their partner’s annual income before tying the knot.

“Credit impacts many aspects of building a life together,” said Griffin. “Couples should check their credit reports and scores and discuss them. Knowing these scores will help couples better plan for a future together and give them the opportunity to take steps to better manage their credit.”

For couples who lack financial transparency in their relationships, Griffin recommends setting aside a specific time to discuss finances on a monthly basis.

“Checking your credit score is simple,” explained Griffin. “We recommend initiating ‘Finance Fridays’ with your spouse — setting aside time one Friday each month to check your bank accounts and credit cards – as well as your credit score and report – together. A useful resource for couples is Experian Credit Tracker(SM)*, which provides access to credit scores and reports, as well as credit monitoring services, so you can keep an eye on your joint finances.”

Discussing finances with your partner can be very uncomfortable at first, but these conversations are vital.

Why Are Child Care Costs Skyrocketing?

June 1st, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Corbis

By Alicia McMullen

As an expectant, first-time mother, (T-minus 55 days and counting to life with baby) I have to be honest: I’m much more focused on working my regular doctor visits into my schedule, figuring out our birth plan, and making sure I’m having extra helpings of protein instead of pie (or ice cream or French fries…) than the cost of child care. But the more parents I talk to, the more I realize it’s a mistake to put off planning for the high cost of child care that we’re about to face.

The funny thing is, I know more about this than most. I work with a campaign fighting for better work-family policies called Make It Work. But when I think about caring for this baby immediately after he is born, the kind of child care on my mind isn’t related to nannies or day care. Instead, I’m worried about how my husband and I will keep this kid alive. I’m thinking about breastfeeding (will I be able to do it, will it hurt), SIDS, colic, and what life will be like without sleep. I’m worried about what kind of mother I’ll be, family dynamics, and hoping I don’t screw this poor kid up too much and that he’ll grow up to be a smart, kind, generous person.

The truth is, I wish I had thought about the high cost of child care sooner, but even more than that I wish there were policies in place to reduce the financial burden on me and my husband. So here’s a harsh reminder on why I, and all of us, should be thinking about child care, even if we don’t have kids yet.

In most states in the U.S., child care costs more than in-state college tuition, and support is hard to fine. Families earning anything above 200 percent of the poverty line did not even qualify for child care aid in 39 states in 2015. Even for middle class parents, the high cost of quality child care is unsustainable. Whether you make $7 an hour or $70, when child care expenses exceed the cost of rent or a mortgage (like it does for many parents), then as a nation we’ve got a serious problem.

I know from my work that it’s not just family budgets that are squeezed because of the high cost of care. Women are dropping out of the workforce for the first time in years; millennials are putting off having kids. Women, and especially women of color, are hit hardest by the lack of quality affordable child care. Although mothers are now the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American households with children, women spend more than twice as much time as men providing primary care to children, making access to child care essential to women’s economic security.

So why is child care so expensive? Day care centers incur costs like licensing fees, insurance, rent, food and supplies. Basically all of the kinds of things parents want to be in place to assure us that our little ones are in a safe, healthy and enriching environment. Sadly, the money isn’t going to our nation’s child care teachers and caregivers. Currently, they (and “they” are primarily women, many of whom are women of color) are paid on average just more than $10/hour – and struggle to support their own families. Given the importance of their jobs—caring for the most precious people in our lives—the way child care providers are undervalued is as shocking as the cost of care itself is.

So why aren’t more of us thinking about and preparing for the costs of child care?

One reason may be because it feels like expensive child care is just a fact of life in the U.S. and something every family has to figure out and shoulder on their own. Because it seems so inevitable and so difficult, many of us just push it to that back part of our brains reserved for Hard Scary Adult Things like figuring out taxes or worrying about your parents health. But when millions of families are grappling with this, it warrants a collective solution—and they’re out there.

If we knew that, as a nation, we’re all in this together, and that together we could hold elected officials and policymakers accountable to the needs of working families, then maybe it would be easier to envision a future where all kids are in safe, nurturing environments when they’re away from their parents.

Think about that possibility for the future when you’re voting this November. Because when we elect leaders who support policies that put families first, we are all better off. The alternative means my future baby and all our kids better start filling their piggy banks now to save up for their own children’s child care.

Alicia McMullen is the Communications Director at Make It Work, a campaign to advance economic security for working women, men and families. The high cost of child care has been propelled into the forefront of the 2016 election with the announcement of Hillary Clinton’s major child care plan last week, but even being well-informed about these costs, Alicia realizes she’s not prepared to face them. And as a woman of color, Alicia personally understands the disproportionate impact of skyrocketing child care costs on families of color and women across the board—she argues that we need a national solution to what has really become a crisis for working families.

How To Keep Money Issues From Messing With Your Relationship

May 31st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Love is supposed to conquer all, even money issues. But while you’re able to get away with refraining from having those tough conversations early on, relationships that have reached a more serious level require earnest money talk.

Money matters break up more serious relationships than almost any other issue. Luckily, there’s a way to save what you have and still and work together on monetary concerns.

Talk about problems before they pop up or get really bad and they’ll soon be a non-issue in your relationship. Already arguing about money? Learn how to make those discussions productive and you can put that energy into saving more and fighting less.

How do you handle money issues in your relationship? If you have tricks to keep money as a non-issue, share it in the comment section so we can add it to the list.

Save That Piece of Advice: 19 Tips You Should Never Follow

May 31st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

People love to give advice. It’s just a part of human nature. Your grandmother thinks she knows what’s best for your relationship, your boss has opinions on your stock portfolio, and even the stranger in the produce section has tips on picking out plums. But it’s not a good idea to listen to every piece of advice that comes your way.

Even when its well-intentioned, not all advice is good advice. There are some pieces of homespun wisdom that you should never follow. From relationship tips that will wreck your marriage to money advice that will leave you in the poor house, this advice is almost always bad.

The next time someone rolls one of these helpful hints your way, it’s probably best to simply say “Thank you” and keep it moving right along. If someone has given you a disastrous piece of advice, let us know in the comment section so we can be sure not to follow it either.

Are You Financially Ready For A Relationship?

May 27th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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It’s free to walk up to someone, to slide in a person’s direct messages, or to slide your number in their hand (or their phone) at a social event, but to actually make a real effort to date them? Now that’s expensive.

In the early stages of dating, the impression you make is important, so you have to choose date venues, activities, and ideas wisely. There’s the pressure of keeping the other party interested, excited, and happy because you don’t want to bore them to death in the process of getting to know them. In the age of $200 date debates, are you ready for this new age of dating standards and expectations? More importantly, can you afford them?

According to Cosmopolitan, the average person will spend between $80-$100 on a single date night. Doing simple math, if you plan about two dates a week, you could find yourself spending upwards of $800 a month. A recent study by Match.com showed that American singles spend about $60 a month on dating, and if you live in a large city, that number basically doubles. It’s not uncommon to splurge in the beginning of the relationship, especially on the first date when you want to make a good impression and show the other party how serious you are about getting to know them, but as time goes on in the relationship, you’re quick to realize that your pockets can’t handle it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with staying in some nights, ordering food, and watching a movie together, but when that becomes your go-to “date,” things can get a bit boring pretty fast.

After surveying a few social media followers on whether finances determined their dating patterns, most admitted to being single because they couldn’t afford to pay their own expenses while also attempting to “wine and dine” someone “every other night.” There were a few followers who said they try to be creative with date ideas in order to save money. Some still resided with their parents and expressed that while they could afford to date someone, it usually didn’t go far because of their living situation. But the consensus was that yes, dating is expensive. It’s something you have to budget for as an entertainment expense. And with prices going up rapidly for many date night activities (remember when movie tickets used to be around $7?), sometimes it feels like you can’t get to know someone without spending a pretty penny.

If you find yourself in the position where you have to say a prayer every time you hand the waiter or cashier your credit card hoping that your payment is processed, chances are, dating is a financial burden for you. If you find yourself constantly bringing up splitting expenses on a sneak tip because you don’t want to just come out and say you don’t have enough and would like for your date to help, you can’t afford to date. When you find yourself constantly swiping when you’re already near the red and hoping you have enough funds in your savings to cover overdraft fees, dating shouldn’t be a priority for you right now. And when the reason you can’t go out on dates is because you’re struggling to pay bills, get groceries, and barely function, you have to ask yourself, are you financially in a place to build with someone towards a relationship or do you need to focus on getting your life together?

Skip The Fancy Present: College Graduates Need The Gift Of Financial Literacy

May 19th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Can you remember how you felt after you graduated from college? Aside from being happy I had a degree, it made me feel like a real adult. Granted I was already living in my own apartment and starting my career (I had a salaried position with a design company my senior year), I didn’t feel like I had all the answers.

No matter how much you try to prepare, there’s always some area where you lack basic knowledge. It’s understandable considering many college students had assistance from their parents and never truly tasted what the real world has to offer. If only there was a “Real World 101” course during my time in school that prepared me for what’s in store.

Maybe there is now.

One thing is quite clear: college graduates today lack a basic understanding of financial management and planning. Failure to grasp these essentials unfortunately can and will lead to high debt and improper planning for the future.

Perhaps we need to focus on teaching our loved ones personal finance instead of patting them on the back and handing them an expensive gift when they cross the stage.

A new survey called Money Matters on Campus is taking a look at first-year college students across the United States, and sheds light on what they know about debt and personal finance. With tuition and student loans on the rise, the study also reveals college graduates have an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and 16.8 percent underemployment rate. More than half of the students surveyed fear not being able to pay back their student loans (many will default) with a general consensus of feeling ill-prepared to manage money.

Young adults today aren’t acquiring wealth like their parents and as a result are holding off on marriage, having kids and home ownership. More are managing money on their own and are likely to have credit cards, but not budget, save or invest. What’s sad is that some will even resort to payday loans which are usually a financial kiss of death.

After reading the survey I found something very interesting that sheds light on students in two and four-year institutions. According to the survey, graduates from two-year college programs are more likely to possess money savvy and responsibility. While 26 percent live paycheck-to-paycheck compared to 16 percent of four-year students, they lead in areas of balancing checkbooks, using budgets (60 percent of two-year students have one compared to only 39 percent of four-year students), and mindful spending when their money is low.

I have a younger sister finishing up her sophomore year in college, enrolled in the business honors program. We have frequent chats about life after graduation that include what to expect and common banking practices. While she thankfully won’t have college debt thanks to academic scholarships, she is concerned about finding a good enough job that will help make her as self-sufficient as possible.

My son and my bun baking in the oven are way too young to understand anything about money. My husband and I invest in their academic future through 529 college savings plan but will keep an open dialogue regarding personal finance and what to expect. As parents, it’s our job to give as much financial advice as possible so they can reach greater heights and hopefully not make the same mistakes.

What conversations are you having with your children about money? Here are some reads you might want to check out.

Financial Lessons We Wish Our Parents Taught Us Sooner Than Later

Money Advice You’ve Head But Don’t Follow

10 Steps You Can Take to Build Your Financial Empire

How to Start Investing

How to Build a Financial Portfolio

Super Easy Ways One Single Mom Cut Spending And Saved $12,000 A Year

May 18th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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A little over five years ago, I left my job to start a career as a freelance writer. My goal was to have more time with my kids, more energy and more time to be a better mom. I didn’t expect to get rich — but I didn’t care. All I needed was to be able to pay the bills so that I could get back to writing my books. I expected to make a lot less money and I was willing and prepared to live on a lot less, too.
I would be leaving my job with no savings above a couple of months’ expenses, no contacts in the writing field, no experience writing professionally and no idea how long it would take to become self-sufficient. What I did have, though, was a pretty good idea that the lower my monthly expenses were when I worked my last day, the longer I would have to get going and the more freedom I would have to write about what I wanted to write.
Although I’ve never been much of a spender, I found several ways to cut my expenses to the bare bones — and I actually had a lot of fun doing it. 
Because my budget was already pretty tight (recently divorced, three kids still at home, mid-level management job), I really had to look closely at what I was spending in order to figure out ways to cut my budget even more.
I discovered there are really only four areas where you’re free to cut at will, meaning that everything else is either a necessity or out of your control like rent, utilities, medical insurance, etc. Those four areas are groceries, entertainment, clothing and personal upkeep, and miscellaneous. To me, miscellaneous includes purchases I never think about, like a pack of gum or hair ties.
Here are eight ways I slashed my expenses dramatically, even on an already tight budget.
1. Swap fast food for good food.
Every mom on the planet knows what I mean when I say you don’t usually plan for (or even want) half of the meals you go out and buy. But you ran late at work, you forgot to turn on the crock pot, and you end up at an inexpensive restaurant just to get dinner ticked off the to-do list with minimum time and energy.
What really got to me was that we rarely actually enjoyed these meals. It was just calories. So I decided fast food was off the table. Non-negotiable. I planned ahead, I used the crock pot, I cooked two meals at once, I did a little freezer cooking on weekends but I made sure that we never had to go out for a meal, just because.
However, I occasionally enjoy a nice meal out (and I wanted my kids to have incentive for this change) so I earmarked $40 per month for a really good meal out (we don’t have expensive taste). This $40 was far less than the $200 a month we were spending.
MONEY SAVED: $160 per month or $1920 per year.
2. Be your own barista.
I’m a coffee snob. I grew up on Cuban coffee, called café con leche, which is similar to a latte. I cannot and will not drink American swill. When I was working outside the home, I spent a huge amount of money at Starbuck’s and I knew I had to cut it out, so I got myself an inexpensive espresso machine and a really cute travel cup and started making my own — and the best part? It tastes better!
MONEY SAVED: $75 per month or $900 a year.
3. Skip the grocery store; try a grocery salvage.
One thing I have never been able to scrimp on is nutrition. As a kid, I knew what it was like to be hungry. I have always made it a top priority to have plenty of food in the house and to make it as nutritious as possible. That meant organic dairy and produce and stuff to pack healthy lunches for the kids.
I used to spend about $600 a month for the four of us, which included plenty of coupons. Then I discovered our local grocery salvage and my first trip there, I swear I heard an angelic chorus singing. (For the record, a grocery salvage isn’t about dented cans and expired store brands. Grocery salvage stores typically buy stock of both fresh and pantry foods by the semi-truck load and pass the savings on. Those savings are enormous.)
Here are some of my recent buys:
A case of 14 fresh, marinated 3 to 4lb chickens – $11
A case of 24 Muller Greek yogurt – 99 cents.
½ gallon of Full Circle organic almond milk – 79 cents.
Whole fresh cauliflower – 2/$1.00
A case of 26 rib-eye steaks – $35
12-oz. wedges of brie cheese – $2.99
2 lb. marinated and frozen Hormel pork loins – $2.99
Organic cantaloupe – 2/$1.00
1 lb. bags of fresh organic kale and spinach – 4/$1.00
As you can see, you can get huge deals on really high-quality foods, in addition to normal canned and boxed goods. Since I started shopping almost exclusively at the salvage (I sometimes have to get milk or eggs or butter at the grocery store) my monthly grocery expense has dropped to $300 per month.
MONEY SAVED: $300 per month or $3,600 per year.
PS: To find a grocery salvage near you, check the Internet and your phone book for grocery wholesalers and grocery salvage. And don’t let the outside appearance of the place fool you.
4. Ditch your cable.
When I was working outside the home, we spent $165 for the cheapest cable option and internet service. That was $1980 per year. I work online, so I needed the internet, but I knew cable was going to have to go.
I cut back to just the Internet (with another company to get a $35 deal), and we had nothing but Netflix (nine dollars) for two years. As I started making good money, we switched to a Roku and now have Netflix and Amazon Prime. I paid $99 for the Roku, $99 a year for prime and $108 a year for Netflix.
We not only didn’t miss cable (the kids found plenty of stuff to watch, and so did I) but we spent more time together playing games, going to the pool or just GASP: talking to each other.
MONEY SAVED: $1872 per year the first two years and $1,674 per year since then.
5. Change your cell service and cut your landline.
When I was starting my freelancing career, I was paying for the “cool” phones for both myself and my then 13-year-old daughter, plus contract service. It cost us $170 per month. I paid off our contract the month before I left my job (it was up anyway), let my daughter keep her phone but sold mine and used the money to get a less cool phone for me and Straight Talk monthly service for both of us. Our monthly cell phone expense dropped from $170 to $90.
Also, since I was going to be working at home, I got rid of our landline and saved an additional $25 per month or $300 per year.
MONEY SAVED: $1260 per year.
6. Shop thrift.
Disclaimer: I’ve always loved thrift shops. But this one is for the moms who are still using your credit cards (or what little extra cash you have) to shop brand-name for you and your kids.
I’m lucky in the sense that because I work from home, I can wear whatever I want — and that tends to be jeans, yoga pants and Old Navy cargos. But when I was working outside the home, I had to dress nicely and I wore everything from Ralph Lauren to Tahari to Milly. BUT: I got everything at the thrifts. (You can’t imagine the fun of finding last season’s Milly dress, in your size, for seven dollars.)
Even now, I may wear jeans, but they’re Seven for All Mankind, Citizens for Humanity and Hudson. My now-16-year-old daughter wears nothing but American Eagle, Aeropostale, Journeys, Buckle, Roxy and Hollister. My ten year old boy/girl twins wear mainly Gymboree. I spend about $600 per year for all of us, and that includes new thrift wardrobes every spring and fall and periodic shopping here and there.
MONEY SAVED: $600 per year.
7. Visit your library.
I’m a read-a-holic and I’m not interested in a 12-step program. I love to read books and magazines (magazines were my weekend treat) and before I started freelancing, I spent about $100 per month on new books from Amazon and magazines from the grocery store.
A few months before quitting my job, I got us all library cards and limited my magazines to those I got for free. My monthly expenses for books went from $100 to about five dollars. I also have a Kindle app on my phone and download tons of free books for the kids and me.
MONEY SAVED: $1,140 per year.
8. DIY your hair and nails.
When I was working in management, I spent about $40 per month on gel nails and about $60 per month (all told) on coloring and highlights.
Working from home gives me more freedom to look as bad as I need to — and I get that. But I think I look just fine with my $12 home coloring every three months and my DIY mani/peditreatment.
MONEY SAVED: $1,100 per year.
Between just these eight things I’ve shared with you, I managed to cut $12,000 a year from my expenses. That made all the difference in being able to work from home. We’ve had tight months since I started freelancing but we’ve always paid the bills from the get-go — but only because my bills were so small!
You have two choices: you can make more money or you can need less. To be honest, I like the freedom that comes with the latter.
Originally appeared on YourTango.com