Good morning everyone! Welcome to this week’s post in our ongoing series “How to Afford Homeschooling”. The topic for today is Saving Money Around the House.
If you’re struggling to manage a home while teaching your kids all day, I don’t have to tell you that staying on a budget is difficult. Kids always want and need new things and somehow you have to find room in the finances to get those things, pay the bills, eat, and eventually get around to buying something that you need. Here are a few tips that we’ve found to be useful when it comes to cutting costs at home.
- Use homemade cleaners and detergent: Fun fact – I have not purchased laundry detergent in three years. Instead, I use a homemade detergent mix made from Ivory soap, washing soda (or baking soda), and Borax. Tipnut has a great list of homemade laundry detergent recipes. Personally, I prefer the powdered version because it’s much faster to put together and I make a smaller batch as well. I just grate an entire bar of Ivory soap and mix it with 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of either washing soda or baking soda. Then I use 2 tablespoons per load. The really great thing about this recipe is that it’s very mild, so I can use it on Piglet’s diapers and Christopher Robin’s work clothes. I also make use of homemade household cleaners whenever I can.
- Get rid of cable: Most homeschooling families I know personally have gotten rid of cable a long time ago, so this is probably a no-brainer. We have a Netflix streaming-only subscription and I use that plus a regular TV antenna to get our local channels and plenty of TV shows and movies for us to watch. I was surprised at how much our weekly TV consumption went down when we got rid of cable. There are actually days when we don’t turn it on at all and we don’t miss it either.
Bringing Up Baby
- Breastfeed (if you can): Breastfeeding is undeniably the best way to feed a baby and all pregnant women are strongly encouraged to do it, unless there’s a reason why they absolutely cannot. One advantage people don’t discuss often, though, is that breastfeeding is so much more affordable than buying formula! I formula-fed Tigger after an unsuccessful attempt at nursing her and I’m here to tell you that buying cans of formula on a regular basis will easily put you in the poorhouse.
- Use cloth diapers wisely: Cloth diapering has come back into vogue in recent years, which is great! Disposable diapers are terrible for the environment and may even contain toxic chemicals. However, some people I know who tout the money-saving benefits of cloth diapers will spend $35 or $40 on one diaper without blinking an eye. Maybe they can afford that. I, however, cannot. A good supply of Chinese or Indian unbleached prefolds and a few covers will take you most of the way when it comes to diapering your baby. For Piglet’s overnight diapers, I bought used or second-quality diapers from other mamas at DiaperSwappers.
Keeping Up Appearances
- Do your own hair – Both Tigger and I have dreadlocks, which I love because it means no more combs! Combing out hair was truly a traumatic experience in our house. However, natural (that is, un-permed) hair can be rather expensive, especially if you don’t know how to care for it yourself. And that’s where I learned that YouTube was my friend. I have learned how to style, retwist, and wash my hair from watching YouTube tutorials. Which is good, because our budget was not going to survive me spending $75 a month at the salon.
- Shop for clothes smartly – I actually have skirts from when I was a teenager. (I can’t fit into them right now, but that’s another story.) I don’t buy clothes often and, when I do, I try to pick items that I know I’ll still like in a few years. Naturally, that means I’m not usually up-to-date on the latest trends, but when is a floor-length circle skirt going to go out of style? The answer is never.
I could go on, but I don’t want you guys to have to endure an entire wall of text, so I’ll save some for another post. What are your tips for saving money around the home? Let us know in the comments!
And come back next week for our next installment “Cooking Cheaply”! Keep on learning!