Living on a budget is an art, one that I’ve got down to a science.
Always here to help, I thought I’d share of my best kept secrets with you, because let’s face it: those “money saving tips” you see on Oprah or in the glossy women’s magazines? They aren’t helpful to us normal people.
And by normal, I mean not normal, of course. We’re homeschoolers; we’ve never been accused of normalcy, right?
Useless Money Saving Tips from Bazillionaires
Oprah says, don’t buy that $4 latte every day. You’ll save hundreds of dollars a year! Should we tell her we haven’t set foot in a coffee shop since 2007, and instead chug large mugs of Folgers throughout the day?
The magazines say, try to limit your eating out and cook the occasional meal at home! Someone should tell them unless the restaurant in question comes with slides, nuggets, and a drive-thru, you haven’t been to one since (let’s say it all together) 2007.
Now that we’ve relegated silly money saving tips to the land of unicorns, faeries, and empty laundry baskets, let’s talk about ACTUAL ways to save money.
Six **REAL** Money Saving Tips for Cheapo Homeschoolers
1. Reuse paper towels
Oh yes, my pretties, they aren’t kidding when they say you can rinse and reuse them.
Of course, this method involves a lot of chasing small children around the house, shouting things like, Get back here! I’m just going to rinse the snot and egg out of this paper towel and then we’re going to wash your face! but that’s all part of the process.
Think of it as exercise (hey! another money saving tip!).
2. Shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets
Your kids can have new clothes when they either stop growing or get a job, whichever comes first.
Yes, it’s more difficult to find that mauve colored, silky on one side, fuzzy on the other, sweater, in a size 10, with ¾ sleeves, and three buttons, but hey, when you DO find it at The Salvation Army, just think of the sense of accomplishment you will have. Bask in the warm glow of your success, Mommy, bask away.
3. Make use of leftovers
Call at least one meal a week the infamous and used by your own mother and her mother before her, “Goulash.”
What is goulash, you ask? Why, that’s easy! It’s whatever is languishing in your crisper drawer, mixed with a half box of pasta, and an egg!
Or maybe it’s the heels of all your bread, tossed with the bottom contents of all your nearly expired condiments, mixed with tuna, and tucked in the crockpot! Another name for goulash is Casserole Surprise. As in, surprise! you didn’t even know you had cocktail sauce, and my, doesn’t it compliment that Skittle reduction nicely?
Incidentally, goulash night is a wonderful night to dim the lights and eat by candlelight. So romantic, and the kiddies will love it. Also, you won’t be able to see what you’re eating; always a bonus if you have picky eaters who don’t enjoy a good gruel risotto.
4. Find entertainment deals
On nights out with the rugrats, try the movie theaters that only charge $1 a ticket if they have them in your area. If you combine that with your own smuggled in treats, you’re golden!
Yes, okay, smuggling in goodies is not a lawful thing to do, but unless you really like taking out a second mortgage just for popcorn and Twizzlers, you may have to turn your kids into desperadoes. Wee one’s fluffy skirts can hold a wealth of M&Ms – just sayin’.
There may be a drawback to this method if your small children start having nightmares of being stalked, captured, and thrown into the pokey by the “theater police,” so use this tip at your own risk. Therapy is pricey.
Or just stay home and watch your movie there where everyone can pass the refreshments with reckless abandon and you don’t have to wear society accepted pants.
5. Upcycle to create new toys
As far as toys go: nah, no need to buy overpriced, plastic gimmicks! Toss your little ankle-biters in the yard with some pots and pans, sticks, and mud. If they look at you, all wide eyed and confused, just say something like, back in my day, by crikey, all I had to play with was dirt and sticks! The dirt was named Walter and the sticks were named Franny. It was uphill to get to MY backyard, and in the snow! We didn’t have no fancy smancy electronics, no siree! Franny was my best friend, and –
They’ll beg you to stop reminiscing and play with their sticks until the goulash is ready.
6. Save on gas by walking more
To cut back on your fuel budget in these days of high prices, try the old fashioned method of using your feet.
Kids want to go out for sports, do they? Want a play date with the friend a few blocks away, you say? Need to go to the library, hmm? Tell ‘em what we tell our kids, fondly, and with a friendly pat on the head, Jesus walked.
Just call me the Yoda of shopping. Teach you, I will.*
*Budgeting by Yoda is available right now**, for five easy payments of $29.99, plus shipping and handling. Comes with everything you see here, and if you act in the next three minutes, you will also receive the new book, 101 Goulash Recipes, written entirely on paper towels!*** But wait! There’s more! Act now and you’ll also receive not one, not two, but THREE boxes of sticks!****
**This is a joke.
***This, too, is a joke.