Tomorrow is Tax Day, a day that either reminds you how much or how little you have left in the savings account. Raising a family usually forces many people to find creative ways to save money. My husband has been a full-time student our entire marriage and I work part-time from home. You could say we have been on a “money fast” for several years. Our cash famine has turned into a blessing as we have learned to be content with what we have and to live thriftly (that way we won’t get sucked into the foibles of the rich when we hit it big … haha!)
Here are 3 simple ways we save money
Eat at Home
This may seem obvious, but eating out is an easy habit to get into especially hitting the drive-through when kids are just dyyyyyyying of hunger. We save money by:
- Keeping snacks handy in my purse and car to help prevent my little angels turning into hangry monsters.
- Packing lunches when I know we will be gone over the noon hour i.e. running errands, playdates or taking a family day trip
- Date nights? Dinner, movie and baby-sitter adds up fast. Instead, we treat ourselves to half-price sushi Wednesdays (thank you Sprouts!) and enjoy home dates after the kids are tucked in for the night. Or I try a new “fancy” recipe that is more enjoyable eating in peace as opposed to as fast as possible because the baby is crying.
Living on a tight budget means no splurging on expensive activities. But expensive doesn’t always mean fun and we love finding free activities around town like:
- Parks Albuquerque has a ton (close to 300!) of awesome parks. We love exploring new neighborhoods and finding not only cool parks, but relaxing open spaces where we can enjoy a family picnic. Find an alphabetical listing of park addresses here
- Libraries There are 18 libraries that make up ABC Library. Find a schedule of storytimes here
- Facebook There are so many free activities around town, but the problem is knowing about them. I like as many Albuquerque related Facebook pages I can find in order to keep in the know of free events. Below are a few I like:
- Membership Gifts: We love going to the BioPark and the Natural History Museum (and there are free days) but let’s be honest, they are expensive. We have started asking grandparents for yearly memberships for Christmas and birthdays. They save you from more toys crowding the house and grandparents love seeing pictures of kids enjoying the zoo or aquarium.
I have to be honest, I was a consignment snob before I met my husband. But my mother-in-law is the Consignment Queen and taught her children well. She finds the absolute best deals around. Now that I live by a tight budget, I have found the glory in consignment. Take a look at just a few of these great places on Facebook:
- The Tot Shop
- Other Mothers
- Mommy’s Market (Santa Fe April 23rd-24th, Albuquerque June 4th and 5th)
- New Mexico Kids Consignment Sales, LLC
- Facebook Swap Sites: There are really a ton and some are specific to areas of town. They are mostly closed groups, so you have to join. Simply search “Albuquerque Swap” or “ABQ Swap” and a list will pop up that you can look through. These are great places to buy, sell or trade.
There are lots of other ways we save money, but first I want to hear from you. What are the simple ways you have found that help your family save money?