How I’m Saving Time and Money in 2023 and Beyond!

I’m posting a lot less these days because I now have a full-time job outside the house, and y’all- I’m freaking exhausted at the end of the day. weekends are spent doing family stuff (mostly playing with legos and drawing), and doing kid activities like martial arts and girl scouts.

I wanted to share with you some ways you can save money, score freebies, and even earn some money each month without running all over town, spending hours of time doing little penny surveys, or scanning your entire grocery order to earn points for junk (looking at you Neilson panel).

This is how I’ve been doing it for years, and now that I have even less time, I’m leaning on these more.

Automate

  •  Use the calendar in your phone to remind you of appointments, neighborhood free food distributions, sales, and even coupon events: I seriously put the Bath and Body Works coupon dates in my calendar so I remembered to use them.
  • I bought a subscription to  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA boxes. This way my fresh fruit and veggies are delivered to my door each week.
  • Set up auto-shipments for most needed household items. Vitamins/supplements, specialized food, and even pet food. There are all sorts of companies that offer this service including Amazon, Chewy, and Vitacost are just a few.
  • I order from Dream Dinners once or twice a quarter. Now that they have lower minimum orders, I can grab a few favorites and try a new meal with greater ease. I order online, and pickup is so easy- I drive up and they deliver to my car!

Organize

  • I reorganized the kitchen over Winter Break. I have printables available for free. If you are interested, please drop me an email and I can send them to you. They print in color or black and white.
  • I meal plan weekly. I may not have time to post them on the blog each week, but I’ll still have pics up on Instagram each week- it helps keep me accountable. I spend about an hour on Monday evenings meal prepping fruit and veggies that come in our weekly CSA box.
  • For more organization tips that work in our home, check out my post about managing a household with neurodivergencies here.

Disconnect

  • This one is hard, but I am trying to consume only meaningful media. Don’t be afraid to disconnect from Social Media Platforms, people, or advertising that does not serve you or your life. Unfollow people and brands, delete or pause apps as you see fit. Engage with media in a manner that serves you and fulfills you. Do what feeds your soul and makes you a better person.
  • Unsubscribe from emails that don’t serve you. It will make your inbox smaller and you won’t miss information and freebies that you actually want. In my case, it’s freebies from Social Nature, PinchMe, and research study invitations.
  • In the same vein, I am trying to consume less physical media, specifically, mail and advertisements. If I don’t see sales, I won’t be tempted to shop. Junk mail and sale fliers go directly into the recycling can next to our group mailbox.

Saving Money

This is the big one, the reason you wanted to read this post. All of the above will help you save money, but here are a few specific ways that I use to save money on top of all of the above.

  • Use the notes section on my phone to keep a running list of our stockpiles: Toiletries, laundry soap, canned goods, and paper products.
  • Use the notes section of my phone to keep a running grocery list for the week. As we run low on items, I add them to my list. Right now I shop at three stores: Food4less, Grocery Outlet, and Dollar Tree (for specific items that are cheaper there). Unless I have coupons or freebie offers for other stores-usually from Social Nature, I stick to those three. At this point with inflation, we eat meat once or twice a week.
  • Use money saving/rebate apps. My list is here, and it’s pretty up-to-date. Fetch, Ibotta, and Shopkick are my go-to apps, and they yield me the biggest payouts.

 

Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Stay Indoors Easier

file9831347376219.jpgA lot of people are posting about stocking up on essentials, or ways to make your own hand sanitizer in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I don’t want to freak out or spread any misinformation, so instead, I’m going to focus on how you can get your home ready in case you have to quarantine, either because of illness/exposure or because of a government mandate.

What can you do to prepare your home?

Make sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. I don’t mean a years supply, maybe just enough to get you through an illness (like you would buy if someone in your home came down with a cold or cough), or in the case of #4, enough menstruation supplies for 1 period (most of us with periods have that in our homes anyway).

  1. Enough of your daily prescription meds for 14+ days.
  2. Pain relievers- Tylenol, Motrin, Advil.
  3. Cold /cough remedies- Sudafed, Mucinex, cough syrup. Don’t forget to have kid versions too!
  4. Menstruation supplies- Pads, Tampons, Cups, period panties.
  5. Any other OTC meds that you and your family use regularly.

Food– This is a tough one because each family is different. I recommend doing a pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory and make notes on what you have. I’d pick up a few extra things that are “must-haves” in your home. For us, that’s bagels and cream cheese. Bread products can be frozen, so I tossed a few extras in the freezer, as well a few extra quarts of milk.

I also picked up some of the shelf-stable milk quarts, like these. They are great for camping, as they don’t have to be refrigerated until after they are opened. They are also great for cooking.  I have also picked up some pantry staples so that we can have homemade baked goods (it gives us an activity and food!).

If you are worried about not having enough food because your budget doesn’t allow for an extra stock-up trip to the grocery store, there are food resources to help you. Check out this page for San Diego County food resources. If you are in Northern SD County, there is a list here. If you live outside San Diego County, but within the US, call 211 for assistance.

Cleaning Supplies-I cleaned out under our kitchen sink and organized all of the cleaning supplies- and I also have been cleaning the house. It was originally because we were hosting a birthday party, but, now it will be nice to have a clean house in case we are stuck inside.

A few of the cleaning supplies that are good to have on hand include:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia (but never mix it with bleach or any other cleaning chemical)
  • Pine-Sol or Fabuloso
  • Spray bottles for bleach/water mixtures, Ammonia/water mixtures
  • sponges
  • Magic Erasers
  • Paper towels
  • baking soda or Comet/Ajax (to scrub sinks/toilets/bathtubs)
  • White vinegar
  • Oxi-Clean
  • Laundry Soap
  • Laundry stain pre-treater

These are what we keep on hand all the time. I am pretty old school. I use ammonia as a degreaser to clean the stovetop, range hood, and mop the kitchen floor.

Something to do- I think this is something that most of us are forgetting about. Without school, work, the gym, clubs, or other outside activities, Netflix is going to get really boring really fast.

I did a craft supply reorganization yesterday and pulled together stuff for a bunch of different crafts the kids can do. If you have crafty kids, but not a lot of craft supplies, a quick trip to Dollar Tree with $20 can hook you up with a decent selection of supplies. If you don’t have a chance to go, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. They have some craft supplies that would be great- canvases, construction paper, glue sticks, etc.

I will be finishing up the basket of UFO (Unfinished Outlying Projects) sewing, and probably start on a few new things that I’ve been planning (like curtains). I’ve got plenty of fabric and thread. No trip to the store will be needed.

We’ll be hitting up the library today or tomorrow for some books for the kids. But we’ve also got Epic on the iPads, and well as some other educational apps (I’ll be posting a list of free apps later today).

I went through all of our games and pulled out some newer ones that the kids haven’t played, or haven’t played in a while. I foresee lots of family game time.

Some government officials and municipalities are telling people to keep a 6-foot distance from others and no handshakes/hugs. That’s is great to control the spread of illness, but I can’t keep my kids inside all the time. Which is why we’ll be playing in our outdoor space/patio, and the green area outside our home, while carefully avoiding others. I may also take them hiking- many of the trails that we frequent are not heavily used. It is rare that we see other people. The fresh air will do them good. If you have a yard, send your kids outside to play or read outside. We want to avoid others to contain the spread of disease.

file801244167702.jpgAnd my final bit of advice: WASH YOUR HANDS FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS OF SCRUBBING. Use soap. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Use hand sanitizer as needed, but it is not a substitute for handwashing. Try not to touch your face (This is super hard, I know). 

Please be safe!