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Yesterday my microwave broke. And so I thought I could survive life without a microwave, but after a few hours, not so much. I desperately need a new microwave but since it is the wall-unit type, we are looking at over 200$.
And as a stay at home mom, we are on a tight budget now. I have been working hard at cutting coupons, searching the internet for the best deals and have become a, 'Frugal Mom.' It takes a little more time and research to find ways to cut corners on costs. As all of you know, having children is not cheap :)
I have always been a frugal person, but still splurged here and there. My friends used to make fun of me for shopping at Forever 21, but I told them, "hey, fashion changes so much on a monthly basis, that if you were to go and buy a 100$ shirt at Neiman Marcus, it would be out of style in a few months anyway!" I said that you might as well buy the same knock-off shirt at Forever 21 for 20$ and then you can give it to Goodwill in a few months and not curse yourself for spending too much money on it.
How do you become a Frugal Mom? Well, for starters, I now try to purchase everything I can at Amazon Mom since the shipping is free and the products are usually 10% less than retail stores. You can read about it on my post here. If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for? It's great if you are needing weekly items like diapers, wipes, formula, etc.
Another way I've cut costs myself is breastfeeding and using cloth diapers. Yes, call me crazy but I love using cloth diapers. When my child was born I could not believe how many diapers I was throwing away and did some research about how many landfills one baby can fill with used diapers and wipes. Shocking!! And having a front-load washer saves water, so we aren't wasting too much water or trash. There are other benefits to cloth diapers too like non-cancer causing cotton, earlier potty training, etc. but I am digressing and may save that for another post.
Also when it comes to cutting costs, I started making my own baby food in my baby cooker, the Beaba. It's a little pricey and luckily mine was a baby gift but it is completely worth the money as I have never had to buy baby food. But you really don't have to buy one as it really just takes boiling water, throwing in some veggies or meats, then using your blender. Then put your mixture into some ice cube trays freeze and then voila! Pop one out at a time, heat and serve.
Here is a great website for making your own toddler and baby food. Now my child is refusing anything pureed so it is taking more of an effort, but I feed her mostly what I would eat myself, so I am not buying too much extra food (avocados, mangos, bananas, black beans, cheese, etc.) Simple enough huh?
And thank goodness for children's menus too. I am not there yet but I have been reading them each time I go out to eat so I can get an idea of what places charge, and so glad they have inexpensive items at most places. I may start going to the Kids Eat Free places too! Here are a few sites that list places when and where kids can eat free:
For Dallas/Ft Worth people
And then there is the task of saving money on groceries. That's the tough one. And if only they had more coupons for organic items instead of processed foods like Chef Boyardee and Tuna Helpers. I'm trying to feed my family healthy here, not to send them to the Biggest Loser.
Having to clip through coupons weekly is a job in of itself! But I have come across some pretty cool blogs where women do it for me. They search for the best deals and if you sign up for their emails, then you can get a summary right in your inbox. I have my friend Heather to thank for giving me this list! These blogs also give you great coupon deals for all kinds of things. For instance, I found a coupon that I used today at Lowe's for 10$ off your purchase of 50$ or more. A great way to save money on my Spring planting!
Here are the few good coupon blogs I've come across:
Krazy Koupon Lady
And how can we forget Target? They have a list of coupons at the bottom of their website that are in addition to their weekly ads. Just click on the word 'coupon' and you'll see tons of extras.
The only downside to some of the coupon websites is that you have to still print them out. If you're lucky enough, sometimes the store will scan them off of your cell phone so you don't have to waste money on printing them out and you can save a tree!
If any of you have any other money saving tips or websites let us all know your secrets.