Originally published Aug 2013
On December 12, 2012 (yes, that’s 12-12-12), my life changed… forever. My husband, Scott, and I welcomed our first child into the world. I had gone from working full time as a Family Readiness Support Assistant to a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). Our annual income was cut in half. We had worked hard to pay off all our debt by living on Scott’s income and paying off debt with mine. By the summer of 2012, we had no credit card balances, school loans, car loans, or mortgages to our name. We were finally debt free.
From the moment we learned we were pregnant, I knew I wanted only the best for our baby. How were we going to pay for premium cleaning products and all organic, non-GMO foods on only one income? I started to research and came up with two ways to save so we could free up money for things we wanted to prioritize.
DIY Cleaning Products
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a little crazy when it comes to laundry. I sort into an abundance of piles, spray necessary stains, wash with specific detergents, and so on. I had a friend inform me that the ingredients in Tide (and I imagine others as well) have been banned in Europe. So I got crafty, took her advice, and made my own laundry detergent. I also made fabric softener from white vinegar and essential oil, and felted wool dryer balls. I now wash and dry our clothes for PENNIES a day. The DIY mindset has taken over and I have also made dishwasher detergent.
I frequent the website DIYNatural. You can find the recipes for everything there. I had to order a few things on Amazon, such as citric acid and washing soda since I couldn’t find them here in Germany.
I also realized that planning meals played a big part in not over-spending at the commissary. I go with a list and stick to it. And, if you only buy healthy, real food, you SAVE money because you aren’t buying overpriced crap (for lack of a better term). It takes time to plan and make lists, but it’s worth it. And the more you do it, the more efficient you become.
I try to set aside about an hour per week to plan and make a list. I plan as much as I can…might be for a week or even the whole month (if I am super productive). I typically go to the store twice per week. This ensures that I have the freshest produce and reduces waste (we used to throw away SO much food because it would go bad before we ate it…this was before the list making).
I love the website Skinny Taste and Just Eat Real Food on Facebook. I also have a few favorite cookbooks that include : Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragaso, Against All Grain by Danielle Walker, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain. And, I Google often too!
There are many different aspects to being healthy: Physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial. Being debt free is…freeing. Stress is quite unhealthy, and being debt free has allowed us to have a financially healthy home. We get excited to see our savings accounts, Kipton’s college fund, and our retirement plans grow!
How do you save so you can cultivate a healthy lifestyle?