Ways We Save

These are all savings tips that I have gathered and use frequently. 
I am by no means an expert or else I probably wouldn't be in debt, but these ideas have helped get us a leg up getting rid of our debt.

Kitchen Savings
1. Using coupons for items I am already going to buy. We don't eat a whole lot of processed foods, so many coupons don't apply for my grocery needs. I don't want to buy 3 boxes of hamburger helper, even if I do save $1.
2. Make your own chicken, beef, veggie broth.  This is so easy I don't know why I haven't done it sooner. Just use bones and veggies you going to discard anyway. Sometimes I will freeze the bones or veggies until I am ready to make the broth.
3. Eat your leftovers. Most times leftovers are better the next day. Make a leftover buffet one night a week to clean out the fridge. 
4. Make a weekly menu plan. I implemented this because many nights I wouldn't know what to make or hadn't prepared anything. I would throw up my hands and use it as an excuse to go out to eat. Very costly for a family of five.
5. Make a grocery list. This goes hand in hand with the menu planning. I definitely save more money going in knowing exactly what I want. It also helps to know I have all the ingredients I need to follow through on my menu plan.
6. Grow an herb/ vegetable garden. I am not even kidding about having a black thumb, but I got myself an herb garden. I killed basil plants, that was my hobby. I tried to grow from seeds, I killed them. I bought a mature plant, I killed it. I bought a plant at the farmers market, that is actually still alive. I am learning, but all those plants I bought were still cheaper than buying two bunches at the grocery store. Don't worry if you don't have yard space, use flower pots. You can get really cheap clay pots at home stores.
7. Mend your clothes. I know I have thrown out perfectly fine clothing that could have just been fixed with a few minutes of care. Now, I try to make sure it can't be mended first.

Home Savings
1. Make your own cleaning supplies. This is another one I wish I had implemented sooner. There are all kinds of home cleaning recipes online. This one takes some research time to find which one works best for you. Lots of the ingredients are vinegar, baking soda and lemons. Most items are cheap cheap cheap.
2. Organize your home. I admit this is hard for myself, but it works. My example is index cards, I know I have them, where they are I don't know. Sure index cards cost maybe a dollar, but how many items do I misplace them before I am spending too much on replacing it.
3. DIYODS.   Do it your own damn self. There are so many resources online to fixing up or just fixing your home. We had a garbage disposal not working, instead of calling someone immediately, I googled my problem in fifteen minutes and an allen wrench later I had a working garbage disposal. And bragging rights to my husband. Don't forget libraries have a plethora of DIY books also. 
4. Call a professional. I know what I just said. How about we accept the things we cannot fix, courage to fix the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. I know I am not about to tackle roofing for the first time on my super sloped roof.
5. Use your children's homework papers to print coupons or other things that don't necessarily need to be on a "clean" sheet of paper. I also set the printer to gray scale when printing coupons.

General Savings
1. Save it before you see it. Allocate funds from your paycheck to be invested before it even enters your checking account. We have two different allotments that are automatically deducted one for a mutual fund the other for our TSP. I never miss it and our budget is based on what we take home.
2. Generic, Generic, Generic. Most items are interchangeable between brand and generic name. At least try it once, see the difference for yourself. Some things are not interchangeable like Q-Tips, or I should say ear swabs. Ear swabs are not as good as Q-Tips, but now I know. Obviously this is a personal choice.
3. Look into the best rates. Whether it be for your savings account or Jumbo CD rates, looking for the best rate will earn you more money in the long run.
4. Make it yourself.  I understand you don't have time, this isn't little house on the prairie, (honestly, I would have never lasted) but there are some things you could do yourself. Halloween costumes, toys and restaurant knock-off recipes. It can be done, as my dad says to me "poorer and stupider people than you have done it". He really knows how to inspire me. Here's a list of things I have made to save some moolah.