We've all heard of the proverbial "starving artist" right? Art comes in many forms and mine just so happens to be writing. If I had to live off what I make in a year's time at this point, we would surely be in dire straights. Thankfully we have my husband's income to live off of, but at times that is a stretch. How does this writer make ends meet? Anyway I can basically. I have managed to stretch $45K a year between four people in 5 easy steps:
Scour your local grocery store for sale items and base your meal planning around those items. If you have a coupon for that sale item, consider it a lucky day. Stock up! I have managed to spent $150 a week on groceries and we still come out looking good at the end of the week.
Buy your clothing used. You would be amazed at what you can find at thrift store, Goodwill, or even yard sales. We have bought so many brand name items this way and have spent a fraction of the cost you would normally spend on them in the store. Now there are some things I will not buy used such as: underwear, shoes, and bathing suits. I do have my limits. But generally my motto is- shop smarter not harder.
Make your own laundry detergent. It is so easy to make your own detergent. You will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. All you need is a half a box of Borax, one whole box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and two bars of grated Fels-naptha. Mix them together and you have your own detergent. It will literally cost you a measly $9 to wash your clothing for six months.
Cash in on those bonus points! As a rule, I try to shop at one grocery store only. Not because I want to limit myself, but because if I do this, I can stockpile bonus points. Many grocery stores will give you so many points for a certain amount that you spend in their store. Cash in on those puppies. Don't be shy and don't let them expire. At one point I had accumulated so many points that I was able to get a whole $2.10 off per gallon of gas! In an era where gas prices are soaring close to the $4.00 mark, it is almost unheard of to get that kind of discount. It's almost criminal.
Opt for a used vehicle. I have had to lower my standards in this area of my life. My husband does the majority of the driving so he needs a more fuel efficient vehicle. I, on the other hand, am a stay-at-home writer so my need for fuel efficiency isn't as great as his. I need to be able to pick up my kids from school and hit the grocery store once a week. That's about it. Having a used vehicle saves us on insurance also. That's a win-win in my book.
I'm sure there are many other ways to save money, but these are my tried and true methods for now. Well I guess I had better get back to writing and spending less time trying to find ways to wash out and reuse those plastic sandwich bags. If you have any other budget friendly ideas feel free to shoot them my way.