Based out of San Diego, California, Cyndia Rios-Myers is a fiction writer, a blogger (cindyrios.blogspot.com), a Navy wife, a Stay-at-Home-Mom, a college student, and a social media addict.
Living cheap is something that I know how to do and practice whenever it is practical. I got
good, no great lessons in this from my mom growing up. She would take me, my brother and my sister to the grocery store every Saturday morning, but not before she would sit down at home earlier in the morning to scrutinize the circulars to ferret out the cheapest groceries. All three of us would rotate on calculator duties. She made us keep track of every item she put in the grocery cart and would add that to a grand total. When comparing two similar items and weighing which one was more affordable, she would make us divide the cost by the weight of the item. While it made for a savvy tactic, it made for some sadness as well as we would have to replace “Lucky Charms” for “The Leprechaun’s Pot” or “Tricky Treats” which never tasted as good as Lucky Charms. God help us if we had to put a black-and-white labeled item in the grocery basket; I would cringe in shame over those whenever we went to check out.
I thank God, my mom, my husband and myself for the fact that we are not in the financial precarious position that my mother was in when I was a child. We live well within our means (which took much exercise, and experience over 15+ years of time) and do not owe more money than what my husband brings in every month. But here are six things that I do to save money that you can too in order to save money.
1. Cook at home! Your wallet and your waistline will thank you. Before we had our son, we went out to dinner A LOT. We’d hit up The Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Pizza Hut, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and whatever good Chinese food takeout place that was convenient for us. We soon realized that our infant son made for uncomfortable dining experiences, so we went online and found a recipe cheater website that told us how to cook our favorite meals at home. Through some trial and error, we mastered quite a few of the dishes.
2. Hit up the library. Something I did was I would go to Barnes & Noble.com or to the New York Times.com to find out what was on the bestseller list to see what sounded good. I’d then go to my library’s website and would put the books that interested me on hold. Sure, it took some time, but nothing was more rewarding than going to the library empty handed and then walking out with a few books in my hands without having spent any money!
3. Make A Realistic Budget. There are some things that I buy cheap and other things that I do not. Whenever Old Navy has its $5 t-shirt sale going on, I go in and stock up on t-shirts for myself as life can be messy for a SAHM who cooks a lot. I wear jeans all the time. You don’t have to worry about stains showing so much and they are very forgiving. I buy affordable five-pack underwear at Target. I even go to Supercuts sometimes because my hair grows fast. Things that I DO NOT scrimp on are cosmetics and perfume. I love Benefit Cosmetics, Lancome and Clinique and refuse to buy anything other than that. The same goes for the perfume I wear. So, strike a balance between things that you can go cheap on and things that you cannot go cheap and work with that.
4. Netflix. I used to love buying DVD’s and BluRay discs every Tuesday when new ones were released. These days, I put them in my Netflix Queue instead and watch them from the comfort at home.
5. Technology Repetition. Do you really need internet access on your iPad, iPhone, laptop and your desktop computer at home? Probably not. We’ve got bare bones cell phone plans with no internet anything and save the internet for home usage. We also cut our regular phone landline and signed up for VOIP phones instead to save money.
6. Find Your Art!!! Whenever I first became a Stay-at-Home-Mom and quit my lucrative job, I would take my boy out every single day and would spend the money I had saved up while I was working. I needed the distraction from being a SAHM all the time and I know that my boy needed it too, so we went to Target, the malls, Walmart, anywhere just to get out of the house. But then I started writing again and a void was filled. What I needed was an escape or a method of distraction and I know that I am not alone in that. All of my (happy) friends who stay at home just like I do have art outlets. Some knit, some sew, some bake, some write just like I do, and others run small businesses from their homes. Find that thing that you can do for free that makes you happy.