Today I am thrilled to have Crystal Paine, of Money Saving Mom as a guest. Crystal writes: If your family is struggling financially right now, here are 6 things you can do to contribute to your family’s finances--without going out and getting a job:
1. Set Up and Follow a Grocery Budget
It’s amazing what the simple act of creating and sticking with a grocery budget can do for your family’s finances. If you’ve never had a grocery budget before, I’d recommend going with a ballpark figure of $20 per person per week to start out with. Then, slowly work on lowering it by 1-3% each month.
Take your budgeted grocery amount out in cash at the beginning of each month and only bring that with you to the store (leave the debit card, credit card, and check book at home). This provides instant self-discipline because when the money’s gone, it’s gone.
For more step-by-step help to lower your grocery bill, check out my 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget Series:
2. Plan a Menu
A grocery budget is a wonderful thing, but it’s usually the menu plan that enables you to be successful at sticking with your grocery budget. Not only does having a plan and working the plan encourage you to make dinner instead of heading through the drive-thru lane or ordering pizza, but you can also plan inexpensive meals based upon what ingredients you already have on hand or are on sale at the store.
New to menu-planning? I’ve outlined how to get started and find inspiration here.
3. Use Your Freezer
Your freezer can become of your best money-saving friends. You can use it to store extra produce you got in season at a rock-bottom price, you can use it to store meat you purchased in bulk, and you can use it to keep freezer meals at-the-ready for last-minute dinners.
Many people are turned off by the thought of freezer cooking because they envision it entails mushy freezer-burnt casseroles. While casseroles are a quick and easy thing to make ahead and stick in your freezer, there are so many other non-casserole options when it comes to freezer cooking.
You can brown hamburger or bake and chop chicken and freeze it, you can put together baking mixes, you can make sauces and marinades to freezer, you can chop and freeze veggies for stir fries... the possibilities are near endless!
For more ideas, be sure to check out my Freezer Cooking in an Hour posts.
4. Stay Home More
There’s no arguing the fact that the less you shop, the less you buy. The more you can learn to enjoy and find productive ways to occupy your time at home, the more money you’ll save.
Being a one-car family for a few years taught me to appreciate and enjoy the quietness of just being home a lot. There’s so much you can learn and do--without ever leaving your doorstep!
Some ideas: Read good books, learn new skills, try your hand at new recipes and do-it-yourself ideas, follow a few blogs that inspire you, write handwritten cards of encouragement, get to know your neighbors, or invite people into your home for a Bible study or book club.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Want an almost fix for your discontentment? Stop comparing yourself to others around you.
You’ll always find someone who has a seeming better situation than you, but wishing you were them doesn’t change that you are you. The sooner you can embrace your lot in life--no matter the struggles--the sooner you’ll start experiencing true joy and contentment.
6. Choose Gratitude
Finally, adopt a thankful, grateful spirit for the life you are living. It might not be the life of your dreams, it might seem overwhelmingly hard right now, but a grateful spirit--even in the midst of hardship--can change your whole outlook on life. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for!
Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschool mom to three, self-proclaimed minimalist, lover of dark chocolate and good coffee, and a wannabe runner. For practical help and inspiration to get your life and finances in order, check out Crystal's blog, Money Saving Mom or purchase a copy of her book, The Money Saving Mom®‘s Budget.
Crystal has generously offered 3 of her audiobooks, The Money Saving Mom's Budget for the readers of The Better Mom!!
Recently, I had the opportunity to review this book. As a busy mom, one of my favorite things about this book is that it is an easy read with great action steps. Whether you are in financial distress or your finances have never been better you can learn from Crystal's book. It is fantastic!! Enter to win the audiobook below!!