There are advantages to working from home, one of which is that I don’t have to commute to work every day or sit through rush hour traffic just to get to my office. Since my husband and I both work from home, we’re able to save on certain expenses. Even so, one can always do more to save money, right? So here’s how I save, in my own little way, as a mom, a wife and a homemaker.
1. Less trips to the grocery: My contribution to the family income goes towards all our food. We used to do groceries every week since we liked getting our food in the freshest quality possible. But since gas prices started to go up, we knew we’d be able to cut down on our transportation costs if we did groceries twice monthly instead of every week. I still get vegetables, seafood and yogurt fresh every week, but I am able to stock up on stuff like milk, tomato sauce, condiments and other canned or bottled goods. I also buy meat (we only eat lamb and beef) and poulty twice monthly and store them in the deep freeze until I need them.
The advantages of going to the grocery store only twice a month has several benefits: I only get what is on my grocery list; I’m less inclined to by other items such as snack items or junk food; I end up saving between 25-30% of my allotted budget for the household’s food, which means I have money for other things.
2. Make use of delivery services: Since we don’t have a car, we do save on gas expenses. However, that means we have to take public transportation to get some of our errands done, which is still an extra cost. Thankfully, we’ve discovered affordable delivery services for that make household management a bit easier. Here’s how it plays out in our household:
Laundry: We have our bed linens done at the laundromat. Our neighborhood laundromat has a free pick-up service! To save on laundry services, we collect two weeks worth of beddings before having them fetched (unless the sheets are soiled, which hardly ever happens unless our son’s diaper leaks!). We wash our undies, clothes, towels and other smaller pieces in our washing machine every other day, and don’t use a clothes dryer. Instead, we hang up clothes to air dry. The clothes last longer when they’re air dried, too, which means we don’t have to buy new clothes that often.
Vegetables: I don’t bulk buy vegetables on our bi-monthly grocer store trips as they will only rot in storage. (I do buy frozen veggies like peas and corn though.) For our weekly supply of veggies, I order organic produce from a farm that delivers to our neighborhood every Monday. The farm we order from also has free-range chicken eggs, and free-range duck or chicken, so if I don’t get to buy them at the grocery store, I can include egg and poultry orders with my vegetable basket order. The organic vegetable delivery service comes out cheaper for me, especially since organic produce at grocery store prices are terribly marked up. With the vegetable delivery, I can see that the crop comes straight from the farm–better value, if you ask me.
Purified water: I don’t care how clean the city says its tap water is: I will only drink purified water here in the Philippines! We have a weekly supply delivered to our house, which literally costs USD0.02 (2 cents) a week. A teeny-tiny investment in our health, which means less chances of getting sick from contaminated water.
3. Use homemade cleaners. Store-bought cleaners are not only expensive, but a lot of them are hazardous to your health and are not environmentally-friendly. Check the Household Products Database to see how some of the most common household products are actually bad for you and your household. In order to save on cleaners, I make my own using the “recipes” found at this household organization website. Instead of glass cleaner, I use rubbing alcohol; instead of disinfectant spray, I use a mixture of purified water and vinegar; for cleaning veggies, I sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the produce and rinse them in clear tap water; to keep ants and roaches at bay, I place sachets of dried lemon rinds and black peppercorns in our cabinets.
Sometimes, I might buy an all-around cleaner like Messy Bessy‘s all-purpose eucalyptus scrub, which is made up of baking soda and essential oils. It takes the place of several cleaning products, and is environmentally-friendly! If I can’t buy a particular cleaning, I keep basics such as distilled vinegar, baking soda, and lemons on stock to make my homemade cleaners. Aside from being economical, using homemade cleaners gives me the reassurance that my baby won’t inhale any harmful or toxic fumes or react to any chemical properties that are in most commercial cleaners.
4. Eat healthily. In our family, we don’t eat processed or refined foods. We don’t eat fried food either; at the most, I make pan-seared fish fillets if I’m craving for them. We steam our veggies to keep them crisp and to retain their nutrients, and we either grill or braise our meats instead of frying them. Yes, we have the occasional Spam or corned beef indulgence (like once a month, maybe since they’re expensive anyway). But on a regular basis, we eat fresh, whole foods. Eating this way has had beneficial results as far as our health as a family is concerned. By eating well, we experience less fatigue and hardly ever get ill. That means less medical expenses and less trips to the doctor.
5. Unplug electronics. At night, we unplug all the appliances in the house, save the fridge, of course. This is because we learned that 40% of the electricity certain appliances and electronics use is consumed while they are turned off . There are certain appliances known as “vampire devices,” which are energy-drainers while they are “off” yet still plugged in. Among them are satellite dish boxes, sound systems, DVD players, computers and printers. Some appliances such as microwaves with digital displays are also energy-suckers. Unplugging them may be an extra task to do each night. Still, it’s a small price to pay for a marked improvement on our electric bill.
How about you? How do you save as a mom? What are some of the practices you employ in your own home? I’d love if you could share those tips with me!