There are a few things I plan on adding to our money saving practices. I'm mostly writing this down so that I remember, but figure you don't mind me sharing.
- No more cards: I think greeting cards are not only bad for the budget, but bad for the environment. Tim has been buying his at the dollar store lately, even finding some that are 2/$1. I've decided just to cut out store bought cards all together. They can actually be quite expensive. We have a box full of random cards that I've acquired over the years. Once those are gone we'll either be making our own out of the kid's art or doing without. So, dear friends... don't be offended if you don't get cards from us for a while (or if you get random cards at odd times).
- Wrapping it up: Along with greeting cards, I think wrapping paper is a waste too (again, bad for the budget and environment). I'm going to check in to getting end rolls from the news papers. I'm not sure they still do that, but my Mom used to get it for her class. I figure the kids can paint their own paper. I know, not exactly good for the environment, but it's a sort of recycling project. We'll also use up the large stash we have and then will probably start getting creative.
- Putting it out to dry: I've wanted to start line drying my clothes for a while, but never seem to get motivated. I actually used a gift card to buy a retractable clothes line (I don't know if we can have them in our neighborhood). We don't exactly have the best weather for line drying, but I can do a little. I imagine we'll still fluff the clothes, but 5 minutes is better than 45 in the dryer. Now I just have to figure out where to hang it.
- Clearing out: My mom is having a garage sale next weekend, so it's time once again to sort and pitch. I hold on to a lot of stuff because I don't want to offend the people who gave it to us, but we have a TON of toys that never get played with. About 90% of the things we have were gifts and at least half of that never gets used. I'm not sure yet how to get family to stop buying toys, but I'm going to start be clearing some of them out. What doesn't sell at the garage sale will probably go to charity. I'm looking in to shelters (homeless and women's) for donations instead of Goodwill. We'll see. In addition to toys, we have a lot of other things that we just don't need. I've done really well at clearing them out over the past couple years, but we can always do more. Garage sales are nice because they generate a little income, but they even better at motivating me to simplify. I get a little better each time.
- Borrow instead of buying: We really don't buy much in terms of books or music, but we often want to. With a new library opening up near us in a couple months, I'm looking forward to taking full advantage of all they have to offer.
- Find free fun and food: I'm working on finding cheap or free activities for the kids. This is a lot easier in the summer, but now that they are getting older we can do a little more the whole year round. We make already make weekly trips to the zoo, which they love. I think there are a lot of other cheap options out there too. I just need to find them. We also plan on taking advantage of 'kids eat free' nights at restaurants. Troy doesn't eat much and we don't eat out often, but if we start planning things a little better we will be able to make the most of the time we do eat out.
There are a lot of other great money saving and creative ideas out there. These are just a few I would like to start doing. Share your favorite ideas or links!