Over the next few months Derek and I will be working really hard to save money for a down payment on our first home. We've already been through the trying to buy a house process twice already, but the timing and financial situation never felt exactly right. We never felt like we were as financially prepared as we wanted to be. We're finally at this really good place where medical bills for Em have slowed down, all our credit cards are paid off, and now that I'm making steady income over here, we feel like we're finally in a position to be saving for a down payment.
As we were budgeting and working out how we were going to save money, we kept talking about all the things we can't believe some people spend money on. Not that any of these things are terrible, but it's just funny sometimes when people talk about how broke they are... and then you see them blowing money on non necessity items. So here is my list of things that are definitely non essential:
Manicures: I'm always amazed by the amount of people who talk about all the struggles of being an adult and how paying bills is the worst... and then they're showing off their new weekly manicure on Instagram. Manicures are expensive and cutting them out could save you around $1200 per year. (Note: getting manicures isn't a terrible thing, but if it's between that and feeding your kids, please choose the latter)
Cable TV: Derek and I have never paid for cable in our marriage until now. The only reason we have it is because it was actually cheaper to have cable and internet instead of just internet... which is super annoying in my opinion. But if you're struggling to make ends meet, ditch the high cost of cable and get a Netflix or Amazon Prime membership. This could save you at least $300 a year. Also, wait two days and that show will be available to watch online. You won't die, I promise.
Coffee: We don't drink coffee over here which is a great way for us to save money... But for those of you who always have to have that cup of Joe in the morning, make it at home, or figure out how to make your favorite Starbucks recipe at home. Even if you're just stopping at the gas station for a one dollar cup each day that's still $365 dollars over the course of the year.
Name Brand Food: There are some things I have to buy name brand (Sargento string cheese, always), but in most cases the generic store brand food tastes just as good, if not the same as the name brand. Switching to the stores private label will save you hundreds on your grocery bill each year. Also, here's a great article by Janssen on how to feed a family of 5 on $75/week.
Bottled Water: We've never been that family to consistently buy bottled water because we have our own Brita Filter at home, and we have reusable water bottles that we fill when we need to. Sure it adds 30 more seconds to our lives filling up a water bottle, but not buying them at the store each week saves us another $300 each year.
Designer Baby Clothes: I never knew this was a thing until we were gifted a huge amount of baby clothes for Em and all of a sudden we were sorting through Donna Karen New York and Gucci onesies. Save your money for things that won't be grown out of in three seconds, or pooped on.
Eating Out Too Much: Derek and I are guilty of this one. Especially with me training for my races that I have planned. Derek gets home from work, I go running and then have no desire to cook dinner. Even if we're only spending $10 twice a week at a fast food place, that's still over $1,000 a year that could be in our bank account. And now that I did that math I feel sick. Eating out stops now.
Oil Changes: We've been lucky that when we bought our car almost three years ago it came with 10 free oil changes at the dealership. When those are all gone though, you better believe we'll be doing it ourselves for $10 instead of paying $30 somewhere else. Thank goodness for Youtube tutorials.