I get asked (a lot) how we can afford for me to stay home with our two kids on a military salary (hint: it a'int the commissary!) So, I figured I'd share my "top ten list" of cheap living strategies over the next few weeks. None of this is rocket science, just stuff I've learned through trial and error. If any of this helps you find a little extra money in your budget, great! So, without further ado, and yes, I/m kind of working backwards....
#10: A ridiculous amount of situational awareness
So, what does that mean?
That for me means:
a) the grocery store I frequent is offering 4x the gas rewards on each dollar spent on gift cards this week
b) the grocery store offers home depot gift cards
c) we really need mulch for our flower beds right now...and it's on sale this weekend for Memorial Day @ Home Depot
d) there is a $5 off a 50 dollar purchase coupon in my inbox from the Home Depot garden club newsletter
1st, I bought 2 $25 dollar Home Depot gift cards and received 200 points in gas rewards, which equals 20cents off per gallon. Combined with my grocery reward, I'll actually get 30cents off. Getting 30 cents off per gallon means I've saved $6 for the entire fill up on my 20 gallon tank. That may not seem like a lot, but it gets better.
2nd, The mulch we like is 4 for $10 dollars at HD, so with my $5 off coupon and gift cards, I can get 22 bags, which should more than take care of our needs.
Does that make sense? By anticipating our family's needs and planning carefully, I can usually make our purchases do double duty for us. I shelled out 50 bucks, got a free $5 to spend, and saved $4 at the pump. My fifty dollars spent like 61 dollars. Roughly, 22% more bang for my buck.
The big picture: let's assume you can do this (or better) with all of your cash. For the sake of argument, we'll use a 2,000 per month take home pay. Getting 22% more for each dollar means you actually have the buying power of 2,440 month. That 440 should about cover a car payment, or more :) But, I can almost always make our money go farther on everyday items...
Stay tuned for #9, Trolling at Target. (yes, I know it's trawling, but I like trolls. They are short, like me, so it's "trolling.")