Need help from the pros..m

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
Need help from the pros..m
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 9:15pm
Hi everyone, my name's Sara, I'm 19 and live in the Indiana area. I have a 7 month old son, Kaydon and am engaged to Matthew, 24 yrs. Right now I'm working as a financial service rep./bank teller at our local Flagstar bank, and Matt is a Communications officer at our Sheriff's Dept. and Reserves officer hoping to someday be on our police force/paid. Friday we just closed on our house that we bought, and I'm waiting on a 6000 loan to go through to help pay off some debt that we accumulated for insurnace that has to be paid ASAP. My dad had to help me with it since I do not have any credit built up, so I'm praying it'll go through, Dad has great credit and is an engineer so it shouldn't be a problem. Anyway's, what can I do to keep my bills low? I live about 30 minutes away from my parents so there is a little bit of a phone bill, Matt works nights and I work days, so we dn't eat supper together alot but am willing to make meals that can at least last 2 or 3 times, since we lived in an apartment, we did laundry at my parents (I drove 30 minutes away once a week with at least 8 or 10 loads to do!) so I'm not used to doing laundry every once in awhile. I know that I will not change brands of detergent, I use Purex and Snuggle. But what are the good ways to save? Matt amd I together make a great income for our ages, and I have finished my diploma for medical billing, but am wanting to save before we get married next July and start any other college classes. Advice would be great!!


Avatar for e13lorena
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 9:52pm
Welcome, Sara. I'm in Indiana too, Northern by Norte Dame! You came to the right place to save some money. Congrats on buying a home!

First off, do you have a budget set up. Meaning you know how much you spend on each thing you spend it on and stick to that monthly or do you just pay the bills when they come.

I think the best way to save $$ is to track what you spend. Figure out if you're spending more than what you're bringing in, and then go from there.

Obviously, if you're spending more than what you're making, you need to cut costs somewhere. If you come out above each month, you can start saving the extra.

Do you have any credit card debt or other debts besides the mortgage for your new home?

Here's a few ways to keep your bills low:

Gas / Electric: (depending on which you use for heat)

-Get a programmable thremostat and set it lower when you're not home

-Set it as lowe as you can stand it when at home and put on an extra shirt, socks, etc.

-Put plastic up around your drafty windows in the fall / winter

-Turn of things when you're not using them, lights, appliances, computers, etc.

-Try to line dry clothes instead of dryer. Get a clothesline or hanging rack. (This is sometimes hard to do in the winter, because it's so cold outside, but you can still do it inside. In the spring summer and warm part of fall it works wonderfully to line dry outside)

-Cook in bulk, meaning, if you're turning the oven on for dinner, make a large portion and maybe bake some cookie too. It takes less energy to keep the oven running for an extra hours than to warm it up from stratch again a different time.

Water: (depending if you have well/spetic, or city water)

-Put a brick or large rock in your toliet tank to lessen the water than fills up the toliet. It'll still flush and work, but you'll waste less water.

-Use bath water, or water you boiled veggies in (once cooled) to water indoor plants

Phone / Internet / Cell Phone:

-Cut all the extra on your home phone unless you really need them. (IE: call waiting, forwarding, caller id, etc.)

-If you have a long distance plan on your cell phone you don't need one on your home phone.

-Make sure you're paying the least ammount for internet service as possible. I use Netzero dial-up which is $9.95/month, no ads. Great service!

-Cut your minutes on sell phone, if you find you never use them all.

Groceries: (this will be a long catagory)

-Buy in bulk

-Stock up when things you use all the time go on sale

-Always shop with a list and stick to it.

-Never shop hungry, everything will look good and cost you lots more $$!

-Look at the weekly sales flyers and plan your menu around the sales.

-Shop lost leaders. This are things the stores advertise at a grat price and actually take a loss on to get you in the store thinking (knowing) that you'll buy other things too!

-Buy name brand

-Cut out pre-pared items, convience foods. Most you can make at home from stratch and they're cheaper and taste better and bigger portions.

-Clip coupons and go to stores that will double their face value

-Price match (if that option is available)

-Don't buy something just because you have a coupon. If it's something you wouldn't normally buy, then make sure you're getting a great deal. Otherwise spending $3.00 to save 30¢ just isn't worth it, if you won't eat it or wouldn't normally get it!

-Shop alone. I find this says tons when I leave DH at home. The girls (5 and 18 months) aren't so bad, but when DH comes we go crazy!

-Buy all your paper products (toliet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc in bulk) it's normally cheaper and they always go on sale.

-Use cloth instead of paper, (Cloth napkins, use old towels or rags for clean-ups instead of paper towels, use cloth diapers Also cloth wipes will save you lots too, or just use washclothes, and wet them before you wipe babe with them.

-Since you wanna stick to your laundry brands Purex and Snuggle, try to find coupons to use with them and get them on sale. Stock up, it won't go bad. And you won't have to buy more before they go on sale again.

-If you stick with disposable diapers, use a store brand or off brand. Some work great if not better than expensive pampers or huggies brand, even without the coupons.

General Shopping: (clothing, shoes, large purchase, etc)

-Never pay full price for anything

-Always check out the clearance sections first, then the sales

-Check out consignment shoppes or thrift stores.

-Check out all your options before you buy. Make sure it's not cheaper at another store. Especially for large purchases. Check a general price online, than shop around your area for the best deal.

-Know what you're buying. Find out as much info. about it as you can. Don't let the salesman/woman tack on extra fees, etc. walk out if you have too, more times than not, they're waive those bogus fees to get your $$!

-Check Ebay and auction sites for name brand stuff for cheaper.

-Check out dollar stores, T.J. Max, Big Lots, Value City, places that have seconds of name brand clothes and things for less. Normally you can't even tell the difference.

Since you'll planning your wedding, try to do as much stuff yourself. Like the invites, decorating, cartering, music, etc. Find relatives that will help out and do the stuff with you. There's no reason to spend tons to start your marriage in debt. It's only one day, and even though it's very special and you'll always remember it no matter what! Do lots of research through the internet on different decorating ideas, favors, etc. Most if not all the things the sale for so much $$ is so easy to do on your own for so much cheaper!

Well, I'm sure I've given you a novel to read. You of course don't have to do all these things listed if you're not in financial trouble or have a *need* to be extremely frugal, but these are things I do and most of the ladies on this board do to save money, just to save the money. It's always better spent elsewhere.

Don't be over-whemled, as I'm sure you might be if you're not used to living frugally, but take one step at a time if you want to save your $$.

Good luck with your loan going through, congrats on your home and up coming wedding, and again welcome.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 10-12-2003 - 12:14pm
You already got great advice, so I'll just say 'Welcome!!'


SAHM to Justin (7), Kyle (4) & Alicia (2)

Edited 10/12/2003 12:15:01 PM ET by ginger.cookie

Avatar for cl_lfbennett
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 10-15-2003 - 5:18pm

Wowie! I don't know if I can add anything more to Erin's post.

The thing that makes the biggest difference in our family budget is 1) making a weekly menu and sticking to it and 2) planning nights we eat out. We eat out way too often, and we really enjoy it. But one night out to dinner can cost as much as a week's worth of groceries. We don't want to cut it out completely, so we try to plan which nights we'll eat out. That way we can really enjoy it without feeling guilty.

Anyhow, welcome to the board! My second baby, Henry is almost the same age as your Kaydon. Henry was born 2/7/03.

Stick around, I'm sure you'll get lots of good ideas!


cl-lfbennett @ Frugal Living

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
Wed, 10-15-2003 - 10:15pm
Thanks SO much about the advice!! I have been busy with Kaydon, work and keeping Matt happy - but I wanted to get on here to read your wonderful posts! My loan DID go through and I'm rather happy about how cheap it's going to be. I don't have any credit cards, so this will help my credit in a good way. I will NOT get credit cards either. I am learning through everyone elses mistakes! lol I had the realator give me clues on what the water bills, gas, electric, etc are so I will know what to look "forward" to. Also, I am going to start a different way of eating/cooking once we move, so that it'll be less hassle for me when I get home from work at night. (there are days that I work until 7pm at the bank - I work at a 7 day a week bank). Also, I think I did a great job planning everything for the house. Matt's grandma is going to give me all of her antique furntiure she has but doesn't use (she's got enough money to pay off our house and probably everyone else where i live, so it's not hurting her), i have a twin bed my parents bought me 3 years ago that i don't use of course so i am going to sand and paint that for kaydon's big boy bed when he's older, and matt and i already have our furniture. I really lucked out with all of this, and I'm so lucky to have smart ladies like yourself to be here to help not so smart gals like me! This is my first year actually paying bills - I had to grow up fast..but I'm rather excited about it. :) Thanks for all the advice!!


Avatar for twinmom8508
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 10-18-2003 - 8:31pm
Hi I just wanted to say welcome to the list. I am "new again" here ...... I use to post here a lot and then haven't, but now i'm back. I'm LaDonna 27 years old married to my high school sweetheart Matt who is 30 years old, we have been married for 9 1/2 years and have three children. Elizabeth is 9 and in the 4th grade and our fraternal twin boys Caine and Jacob are 6 and in the 1st grade, we also live in Indiana, southern IN. Again welcome to the board!!!