Five Ways To Save $100

I haven’t done Frugal Friday in a while but this week’s challenge is to write five ways your family saved at least $100 in 2007 and that seemed fun. Here are my top five:

1) We use cloth diapers – Savings: over $400 per year

First off, let me just say that I don’t think using cloth diapers is a virtue that puts me on some higher supermommy plane of existence. It’s just cheaper. A LOT cheaper.

Using online references and rounding up or going with the highest estimate, I calculated that doing a load of diaper wash with hot water, an extra rinse cycle, and an hour of drying time costs 45 cents. I do diaper wash two or three times a week. For the sake of easy calculation, lets say that costs me $1 per week (since I don’t pay for detergent anymore, see below). We go through 65 diapers a week now that Hannah only wears diapers for naps and bedtime (Jack still wears diapers all the time, because he is 7 months old and thus not potty trained, more’s the pity!). The cost for each diaper washed is roughly 1.5 cents per diaper.

Using cloth diapers was a huge impetus behind getting Hannah potty trained early. Had we not been using cloth diapers, I might have procrastinated and thus we’d be using a lot more than 65 diapers a week.

If I could ever find diapers for less than 1.5 cents each, I would probably use disposables for night and travel. As it is, I’ve never found them for that low a price. One of my friends who has one child in diapers said she spends $35 a month on diapers and wipes. Another friend guessed she spends $35 a month for two kids in diapers. Let’s assume that since I’m a savvy shopper and use coupons, I could diaper my two for $35 a month. That would be $420 per year, versus the $52 per year I spend on cloth.

If money were no object, I think I’d still cloth diaper. There are so many things I’d rather spend $400 on than disposable objects filled with poo. Like this purse. Or this perfume. Or this minivan. OK, I’d have to cloth diaper for hundreds of years to get the minivan, but you get my drift. 🙂

2) We shop at CVS – Savings: way more than $100, just for three months!

I’ve posted on CVS before, if you’re new to it, check out Money Saving Mom. I only started CVSing in October, but to date my out of pocket expenditure there has been less than I used to spend on razor blades alone! Plus I use the overage from coupons to get other things we need. I figure in the three months I’ve shopped at CVS, I’ve saved about $50 on razor blades, $30 on toilet paper, $20 on detergent, and tons more on shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cough drops, coloring books, crayons, tape, sidewalk chalk, soap, lotion, etc etc etc.

3) We use the library – Savings: way more than $100

We pay $35 a year to use the IMCPL since we’re out of county, but it’s worth it. We generally have at least 30 items checked out at any one time, and usually that many or more on hold. Having this library card means I haven’t spent money on Amazon buying books (I read a LOT and used to spend a lot to buy books), we haven’t spent money at Blockbuster because our library has new release DVDs, and we haven’t spent money on CDs because we can check those out of the library too. Spending that $35 saved us well over $100 last year.

4) We make our own pizza – Savings $100

We used to order Papa John’s pizza at least once a month. Even getting the special deals and having a frequent buyer card and all that, we probably spent $15 a month on Papa John’s. Then I found Crystal’s pizza crust recipe and our lives were forever changed. 😉 We had never had homemade pizza, or even a frozen DiGiorno type pizza, that we thought was close to Papa John’s. Crystal’s crust recipe, though, really comes close and satisfies our Papa John’s cravings. I use my bulk yeast ($3 for a 1-2 year’s supply from Costco), bulk flour, and this or that for toppings (cheese, veggies, pepperoni, mushrooms, etc). Now I make pizza several times a month and it costs less than $2 per pizza including toppings. So we’re eating pizza more often and spending WAY less, for a savings of at least $100.

5) We make our own bread – Savings: $108

Now that I have the bulk yeast ($3 for a 1-2 year supply from Costco as mentioned above) it’s cheaper for me to make bread than to buy it. If I were buying bread (which I did at various times this year before I found the yeast, so this is more speculative than concrete) I would be buying whole wheat organic bread at $2.00 per loaf, and using 1.5 loaves per week since we eat a lot of sandwiches around here. Our Walmart recently started carrying an organically grown (but not certified organic) whole wheat flour for $2.50/5 lbs, and I mix that with white flour and some wheat germ. I make one loaf at a time and use a little sugar and a little milk and a little salt too…plus the cost of running the oven…so I think it comes out to about $4 in supplies and oven time per month. That’s a savings of $108 per year. Now that I have the process down pretty well, I find it really doesn’t take me much time to make the bread, and it’s nice to have homemade bread with no preservatives.

For more savings ideas, check out Frugal Friday.

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