Thrifty at Thirty: A Young Mom's Guide to Living on Less
It’s not easy to live on less money, but with just a bit of planning and forethought it can be done,
and the rewards for you, your family and your peace of mind will be more than you thought possible.
Get a More Reliable Car
A cheap car isn’t really a bargain if it’s not dependable. If your transportation is breaking down more than ever, it’s time to move on to something better. According to Edmunds.com, used cars are a better choice because a car that is only a year old is 20 to 30 percent cheaper than a new car. Find a car that will fit into your budget and fit your current needs. Edmunds.com suggest you build a target list of three different cars.
The DIY Challenge
With so much online information available, you can fix many things yourself and even do some remodeling on your own, just by following the easy-to-understand instructions found on websites. DIYnetwork.com is a site devoted to DIY projects for bath, kitchen, remodeling, decorating, plumbing and more.
Saving Energy Can Be a Breeze
Reduce your bills by making small changes at home. A warm dryer uses less energy and it is more efficient to wash and dry loads one right after the other so your dryer doesn’t completely cool down when it needs to heat up for the next load. When baking or roasting, turn your oven off a few minutes early. The residual heat will continue to cook food for several minutes without continued power use. Or consider using a crock pot. According to consumerenergycenter.org, it costs 16 cents to heat an oven at 350 degrees for an hour, whereas a Crockpot being heated at 200 degrees for 7 hours is 6 cents.
Don’t close off an unused room in your home; that will actually cost you more in comfort and energy savings. It’s best to keep air vents and doors open so that air can circulate freely and properly. By raising your thermostat, you can save up to 10 percent of your cooling costs for each degree above 78, according to LivingFrugalTips.com.
Don’t Buy Generic for Some Items
MommyWantsVodka.com, a site devoted to living frugally, suggests buying house brand vitamins and supplements, electronics, mattresses, toilet paper, house paint and condiments will cost you money over time, because you’ll either buy a replacement sooner (with electronics and mattresses) or you won’t use all of the less-expensive items before you get so annoyed that you buy higher-quality products after all. Skip the frustration and save time by buying higher quality to begin with.
Get Creative for Activities
Play a tourist in your own city by visiting landmarks in your city that you’ve seen only once or have never seen. LivingFrugalTips.com suggests going to local Chamber of Commerce to find out about all of the free stuff to do in your town. Cities like the Phoenix metropolitan area have a "Culture Pass" with museum admissions that may be checked out with a library card to places like the Arizona Science Story, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Zoo and the Children's Museum of Phoenix.
LivingFrugalTips.com also suggests, as an alternative to going somewhere, try “nesting” in your home or yard with fun activities such as making sock puppets with your kids or planting an herb garden.
To teach your kids the meaning of responsibility for fellow human beings and the value of helping the less fortunate, volunteer with your kids at local soup kitchens or food pantries. The lessons they learn will be priceless.