March 10, 2010

Saving REAL Money

I have decided that I am officially tired of parenting magazines.  Not that I know it all, because I don't.  It's because they write the same articles in about a 3 year cycle.  And most of them aren't that helpful anyway. For example, the last issue that I read, (I have no idea what month it was. Sorry.)  there was an article on how to shave $262 off your budget a month. Awesome, right?


I could not use one single idea. Why? Everything, every single thing is something that I already do. Or that doesn't apply to me. Shall I share an example (or 7)? (Too bad. I'm going to anyway.)

1. Stop buying expensive coffee creamer and just use milk.  (check.  Um, yeah.  Don't drink coffee anyway. . .)

2. Buy sandwich boxes for school lunches instead of using ziploc baggies.  (check. Get them at Target in July and August. They have them at the dollar spot with the rest of the back to school stuff.)

3. Rather than spend money to go to a movie in the theater, wait and then watch it on demand at home. (Reasons why this doesn't work:
1. We don't have cable. We use an antenna. (Actually, that pretty much sums it up.)
2. We have Netflix which is about $9 a month and have access to shows online and unlimited                         DVD's one at a time through the mail.
3. When we don't have netflix, we use redbox, which is a whopping $1 a night.
Oh, yeah. Haven't been to a movie in a long, long time.  Indiana Jones maybe? )

4. Get your landline through your cable/internet provider. (Don't have a landline.)

5. Buy a ball of pizza dough from a local pizza place and make your own pizza. (Or make your own dough.  Because that's what happens around here.)

6. Instead of buying 5 or 6 hardback novels a month (seriously?), get a library card or use (check and check. Or just buy all your books at DI.  You would be amazed.)

7. Check out DVD's from the library. Especially TV shows, and then cancel HBO. (Check. See #3)

Are you kind of getting the picture? These are not helpful to those of us who need to save some real money.  Around here we are resorting to things like making our own laundry detergent. Making our own chicken stock. Making our own cleaning products. Making our own personal hygiene products(that doesn't sound right. I make sugar scrub.). Making gifts. Using newspaper and grocery bags as wrapping paper.  Making our own brown and powdered sugar.

I don't want to sound like that mom who had the worst labor or who had the worst day or who has the worst children.  Because that's not what I was going for.  All I'm saying is that I am just like everyone else. Things aren't great financially.  We can pay the bills and feed the kids, but as for the extras, that's where we have to cut some corners. So, when I see the title of an article claiming to knock $262  of my budget, I get pretty excited. But the corners they suggest have been hacked off long ago. Apparently, the writers at these magazines aren't like everyone else.

Maybe I should start my own parenting magazine. One that applies to real people who can't afford to go out and buy a new wardrobe and new makeup every time the season changes.  One that applies to people who have to dress their children in clothes that came from the ward clothing swap.  (But then I would tell you how to make them cuter.)  One that applies to mothers of more than one or two children.  What do you think?

Who's with me?


Momza said...

Here, Here!!!

heather said...

I would LOVE to hear your tips. :)

Amateur Steph said...

I agree! I love that parenting magazines all stop giving advice for more than two, and sometimes three children. Parenting books seem to operate on the same concept.

Rochelle Brunson said...

I agree. And why is coffee related stuff always the first suggestion? "stop buying coffee at starbucks and make your own at home!" Like its such a revelation. Just don't drink it and save all kinds of money! Stupid magazines.

Emmy said...

Totally agree! The outfits they always advertise the kids in, a great deal for $40 for the shirt, it will say. $40 for one shirt, I don't even spend $40 on a shirt for myself let alone a kid that is going to outgrow it in a month.

And yes, the article totally recycle.. why I stopped getting those magazines a while ago now.

SpencernAmy said...

AMEN!! I remember feeling that same way but you have articulated it so well! So, some real tips: use your kids coloring pages as wrapping paper, use toilet paper instead of Kleenex for wiping noses (it's cheaper & u save the Kleenex for guests), use last year's school supplies next year, too (now there's a thought! We don't need 24 NEW pencils every fall--or 96 if you have 4 kids), I add rice to my taco meat (to make it go further at almost no cost), make your own tortillas instead of buying them, use your spoiled milk to make a pancakes or cake (I spoil mine on purpose sometimes because it tastes better in the recipe that way), instead of buying flavored oatmeal, add the flavors yourself (we've added sugar, cinnamon, apples, blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Anyway, these were things I didn't get out of a magazine . . . just sharing with friends.

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

as someone who writes for regional parenting magazines, i have to agree with you. i have to write fluff sometimes to pay the bills and when i write things that are different, they aren't wanted by any parenting mags that aren't considered mainstream (like pieces on homeschooling or attachment parenting or single parenting). i want to write deeper stuff and am always impressed with the magazines that print real stuff. you should check out Brain,Child magazine if you aren't easily offended b/c they print all kinds of real mom dilemma essays and pieces. oh, and i just wrote one on how only children rock ... i have 5 kids myself!

Unknown said...

i couldn't agree with you more. i remember as a new mom, i was folding down pages throughout the magazines. now i feel like i've read it all before. i'd love to read something about real people making real choices- good or bad.

ps - way to go on the cost cutting. :)

Sara said...

I hear ya totally on this one! We canceled TV a year ago, we do blockbuster mailing or redbox, watch tv shows via internet. I buy books at the DI or go to Seagull book and buy them when they are 70 or 80% off. I just bought 3 shirts but only cause they were $5.00 each and I am very pregnant and nothing else was fitting. I want to know more areas to cut corners having been laid off in January! Thanks for making me feel like I am not the only mom who has these issues!

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Oh, I have NEVER read a "budget cut" article that applied to me. Who are these people and what do they think frugality actually is? Buy your pizza dough from a store? Use the LIBRARY?!!!

You start a column. You show those mamby-pamby nit-wits what REAL thrift is!

wendy said...

Always wise to be frugal....and pinch pennies when needed.
I remember as a young mom being very careful with where we spent out money.
we almost NEVER went out to eat
Movies were rare
I made everything from scratch
and we DID NOT USE disposable diapers...only for church or going out of town. I used cloth. Ouch.

That Girl said...

Amen and amen. I will subscribe to you, my friend.

Evelyn said...

AMEN!!! I can't stand reading the "save money" articles!

Lourie said...

I hate the "money saving tips" They never seem to fit real people. I love it when on the news they talk about going out 1 to 2 times a month as opposed to 3 times a week. And when they talk about dining out, they aren't talking about McDonald's.

I am with you! We should write a book!

Loralee and the gang... said...

I want to know how to make those clothes cuter! And I am right now wearing slippers from our RS clothing exchange. So I hear ya...

Pam said...

I loved your post over at MMB Sounds similar to my life :)

Mom and Dad said...

You really should write a book, Rachel. (Think I've said that brfore). You articulate so well what we all feel and for what it's worth, I am very impressed with your wisdom and frugality, your parenting skills, and I could go on and on... I love you girl! your mil

Rachelle said...

i would LOVE to read your tips. I think you are great. I still feel like i can't be your friend till i send a freaking package ... so now that things are slowing down, i'll try that again! thanks for hanging in there and being my blog buddy! ♥

Cranberryfries said...

You are one smart smart lady. I need to learn lots from you.

And I totally agree about the magazines. I used to love them but a) dont want to pay for them anymore and b) like you said it's the same stuff over and over.

Love this post! Love love love it!

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

i know i've already commented but i wanted to let you know i'm loving your blog! and i agree that you should write a book. you are funny like me :-) AND i agree about the corners being hacked off long ago and who are these dang writers at these parenting mags? i wrote an article about stocking up on meals and food to save time, money and sanity and one about moms making money with their kids in tow but you don't see me writing about how to save money b/c lots of moms would laugh their butts off at me! couldn't find you on twitter!

Anne said...

Well, I hate to just repeat what everyone else said, but I totally agree! None of those "money-saving tips" ever apply to me. I'd love to read some of your tips.

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