Each month I like to look back at ways that we saved money. Some months I save hundreds like when I transferred my blog from Blogger to WordPress on my own. Other months I save a few dollars here and there like when I cooked a turkey and used the meat on sandwiches instead of buying lunch meat. But each month the savings add up to thousands by the end of the year!
Each of the ways we save money boil down to one thing: Choices.
When those choices become regular habits, they turn into a lifestyle. Each month, I see reoccurring choices that save us money because it has become habit. Here are four common choices that we make in order to save thousands of dollars each year. I will also share specifically how we saved during March.
1. We choose to buy second-hand.
There are some items that we will only buy brand new, but we have no problem buying several things that are used. Before purchasing anything second hand, we always make sure it is in good enough condition. Obviously, it won’t be perfect, but it should still be nice. Next, we always check prices online before purchasing at a second hand store. Sometimes items that are sold second hand can be just as pricey as a brand new item on sale.
How we saved in March: Our dryer called it quits last month, and we could have spent $500-700 on a brand new dryer, but we chose to buy a refurbished dryer and it has been working wonderfully.
Kids’ toys and clothes are always great things to buy second hand because they use them for such a short period of time. In March we found a tool table set at Goodwill for a fourth of the price at the store. I also picked up an outdoor play slide at a consignment sale that would have cost us 4 times as much if we had bought it brand new. While at the consignment store, I also picked up my son’s “boutique-like” Easter outfit for $5. An outfit like that could have cost $20-30 brand new. Plus, the egg on the front is reversible so he can wear it throughout the spring and summer!
2. We choose to use what we already have.
Before going out and buying more, it is always best to take inventory of what you already have. I love doing this when I decorate my home. I used to buy random house decor, but now I like to shop my own house first. The same is applied to food. Before I go grocery shopping, I always take inventory of what I already have in the freezer and pantry and make my list from there.
How we saved in March: We had apples that were going to go bad before we were able to eat the them. Instead of throwing them away, I peeled and sliced several apples and used them in muffins for breakfast. What I didn’t use, I put into a freezer bag to use later.
The corner shelf in our dining room had a red background and I wanted to replace the red with a neutral color. Instead of buying new paint or paper to line it, I just used some leftover paint that I already had. I love the change!
3. We choose to take our time before making purchases.
If it is at all possible, taking time to make a purchase can save money. This way you are able to shop around and compare prices. Sometimes items take a while to go on sale, and if you wait just a few weeks, you may be able to get a great deal on what you are looking for. Also, it can be easy to slide that credit card when you can’t afford a purchase, but in the long run, you will end up paying big time in interest. It is better to wait until you have the money to buy in cash.
How we saved in March: My husband has been looking for a particular item on Craigslist for several months, but he could not justify the prices. Finally this past month he found the item he wanted for five times cheaper than if he had bought it right away. He waited a long time, but saved himself a lot of money!
4. We choose not to live up to other people’s standards.
How we saved in March: For Easter, we gave my son a simple Easter basket. However, on Easter Sunday I saw several pictures of my Facebook friend’s overflowing Easter baskets and piles of candy.
For just a second, I thought that my son’s basket wasn’t good enough.
But then I quickly reminded myself that my son was happy with his simple basket, and it was the right choice for our family. Really it is quit silly of me to compare my son’s Easter basket with others. My motivation in giving my son his Easter basket was not to impress others or have a pretty picture for all of my social media “friends”. I gave him a basket full of things that I know he loves and will play with because I love him. That is the only standard that I need!
I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to making choices to save money, but I love learning and sharing with you all. My hope is to encourage you!
What other choices do you make on a regular basis that save you money?
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