Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5 Ways to Make & Save Money This Month

Now that we are a family of five plus two dogs, I am always looking for more ways to save money and cut costs. We are working the Dave Ramsey baby steps (though I admit I've been lazy with it lately) and every little bit helps towards the ultimate goal of paying off those pesky student loans.

I do a lot of things throughout the month to cut down on expenses and save money, but here are just a few of the things I have done so far the past couple weeks (and my apologies that this is a long one):

1. Purge the house of clutter! Whether you're looking to donate items, toss them or sell, this feels so good once it's done. The process is daunting, but by tackling one room or space at a time you can really start to feel the progress. One effective things to do is to take everything out of a room and enjoy the empty. You're probably less likely to fill it right back up once you've seen the calm of an empty and clean space.  I suggest starting with a closet, yours or a kid's. Be sure to order a ThredUp Clean Out Kit  and fill it up with quality clothing items you're done with.  Since I began sending items into ThredUp, I've made $342.43! If it doesn't fit, isn't worn, or you just plain don't like it, get rid of it. You can consign with a local consignment shop, send into ThredUp, have a yard sale, post on Instagram or a Facebook group. Or there is always eBay.  Whatever avenue you take, you'll be amazed at how much you can make on items you aren't using. And it will feel so good to have a clutter free space.

2. Start a Coin Jar: this might sound odd, I know. But we recently started a family coin jar and everyone puts their loose change in. The kids have the option of adding their pennies and coins to it if they want but they don't have to. We told them that when the jar is full we will roll the coins (with an awesome coin roller) and when we eventually save enough money we will take a trip to Disney. This has worked as motivation in so many ways. It gets us to use cash instead of the debit card (that always makes me watch my purchases more) because we look forward to the change. The kids are less likely to ask for things at the store because I keep reminding them of the jar. Everyone is working towards a common goal and it makes us stop and think about our purchases and also motivates us to literally save our pennies.  Just the other day my kids stacked wood for their Papa and were paid in coins and you would have thought it was Christmas morning they were so filled with excitement.

3. Join iRazoo: I know what you're thinking. Another survey company, come on, Amanda! But iRazoo is different. The idea is basically the same, do some surveys, earn some points, get a reward. In their case, you can earn gift cards to Amazon, Target, Home Depot and so many more places. This obviously cuts down your household expenses but also passes the time if you're waiting at school pickup, pumping or nursing, at the doctor's office and there is a long wait, waiting for a flight, you name it! Do a quick five minute survey, rack up some points and boom! You're on your way to a gift card. They also have a great Refer a Friend program where you can score some major points and get even closer to your rewards goal. They are very user friendly, have a excellent help team and don't have a million pop-ups attacking you as you're trying to earn your points.  So next time you're aimlessly scrolling Facebook, do a survey instead and you'll really be making your time worthwhile.

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4. Join Stitch-Fix: Ok, this one I bet you're really thinking "you want me to shop to save money?" but hear me out! I get a Stitch-Fix box every quarter and I look forward to it so much, it actually helps me not to shop in between fixes. Knowing there is a fun, surprise, hand picked box of great quality items headed my way makes me empty my Target cart of wardrobe purchases I'll likely get sick of in ten minutes. New to Stitch-Fix? Not a problem! Here's the run down: you make a style profile, tell your stylist a bit about yourself and what you like and more importantly, what you grossly dislike. You can provide them with your Pinterest where you can have a style board and also your Instagram so they can get a sense of who you are and what you like. This helps a ton when they are picking things out for you. A stay at home mom like me doesn't need work pants and blazers, so they don't send that to me. I recently asked for my box to be nursing friendly and was so happy with what they sent. I also learned a couple weeks ago that their customer service is great. I get really excited when my box is set to arrive and I was disappointed when I received a box with a personalized letter to Teresa, not me!  It was all my size so I tried it on anyway and ended up buying a cardigan from it so it turned out ok. They sent me a new box and credited my account the style fee and they were wonderful about the mix up. But be careful here. Don't just buy the items because they're in your hand. Try them on, feel them. Keep what you absolutely love and what has a place in your wardrobe. And if you happen to love all five items, you get a 25% off discount. What are you waiting for? Go make your style profile now! 

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5. Ask Other Moms: As a general rule thumb, if there is a baby item I need, I usually ask my mom friends, mom group or consignment shop before buying new. Especially with this being my last baby, I don't want to spend a fortune on things.  I recently bought a new stroller at Target and didn't like that it wasn't a system with my car seat so I asked my mom group if anyone was selling one and immediately found one. I got a great deal on a barely used stroller and another mom got some cash in her pocket. Now I'll be selling the original one I had so the circle continues! My sister is so good at consignment sales, she's like a thrifting goddess. But here is where it gets tricky-do not, I repeat DO NOT just buy all the second hand things because they are good deals. Don't do it. If you don't need it, or already have it (you don't need seven baby plat mats) just put it back. A deal doesn't mean you have to have it. Someone else will need it and scoop it up. You aren't looking for clutter or bad quality. You're looking for the same item you'd buy at Target only at a discount and from another family who will benefit more from your purchase. And to go back to number one on this list, when you're done with it, especially baby gear, sell it. It's a win win.


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