How to Make Money When Times are Tough

One of my favorite quotes is: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

One of the things I’ve been evaluating in my own home is how to help make a little money, but without actually leaving my house. Let’s face it, times are tough! However, I don’t want to sacrifice my most important job of staying at home with my two girls. I’ve thought about small business opportunities such as Pampered Chef, but let’s face it I am just NOT a salesperson. I’ve looked into whether it would be worth my time to do online surveys, mystery shopping, making money blogging, online tutoring, and a handful of other not very feasible options (at least for me!)

Then I realized I’ve had the perfect solution in my hands all along!

The BEST way to make money with times are tough is to SAVE money!

Thank you, Mr. Benjamin Franklin!

I am already a pretty frugal person. As in most instances, there is always room for improvement! So here are a few things I am already doing or plan on doing to make/save me some money!

1. Keep a Grocery Budget Less than $200 a month.
Right now I have two adults and two children, and one is a toddler and one is an exclusively breastfeeding baby, so it’s not difficult to feed 2 1/2 people on that budget. But, as food prices go up and our kids grow (or we become a larger family), I need to really buckle down and be making some wise and economical decisions.
One of the ways I keep a low grocery budget is by buying very little convenience food. A website I recently came across Grocerybudget101 stated perfectly what I have been thinking about these pricey items:

Consumers have been manipulated by marketing  companies for decades to believe  that we have less and less time and  “need” these products, which are often  loaded with colorings,  preservatives and lack any nutritional quality.
The next time you find yourself in the grocery store, I challenge  you to take a  peek into the carts of folks that walk by. The majority of  items within the  cart is convenience items that people have been  manipulated into purchasing  under the false pretense that they “save  time” or are easier than preparing  real food at home.

I feel like I am not only doing my checkbook a favor from not buying many convenience foods but also I am making the best and healthiest choices for my family. Not all convenience foods are these awful, kill-ya things, but I see a choice between bad, good, and best…and in my humble opinion most of these “time saving” options just don’t fall in the “best” category.

2. Distinguish between wants and needs.
This may sound really elementary, but it is so helpful and so true. I often find myself asking this question, “Do I really need this?” The answer is usually no, and it saves us a TON OF MONEY. I am not suggesting it is wrong to buy things we want, even as far as food goes! I LOVE ice cream, but I don’t need ice cream. I do buy ice cream once in a while, but it is not on the weekly grocery list! It is okay to treat yourself and your family.
However, if you have a clear list of want you really need and what is just wants, I think you can save yourself a lot of conflict and cash.
In other words, prioritize! These are very personal decisions. If you truly want to save some money though, it might come down to cutting down some enjoyable “wants”.

3. Spending time can be better than spending money.
Family and friends are great! But sometimes we can get caught up in “having to spend money to do something “. Again, while this is not wrong, it is not necessarily true. Some of the best memories I have of family and friends are just spending time together, not necessarily going anywhere particular, just hanging out! It really is the simple things in life!
I think the same can be said about presents. Especially at Christmas my family has never really been about the gifts. I mean, don’t get me wrong, getting a great gift is awesome! But for us it is the togetherness and the celebration of the CHRISTmas season! I still like to give little gifts, but a lot of times they will be something simple and homemade… like cookies and fudge! (I am going to try to make some tasty yet healthier treats this year…)

4. Manage Time Wiser
And for me, that means getting off the computer now. Break time is over because the kids woke up from nap time!

More next time on how time management is a money saver!

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6 thoughts on “How to Make Money When Times are Tough

  1. My mom and step-dad like to watch Suze Orman and my mom is always saying how a woman becomes rich is by using what she has and keeping things organized so she doesn’t have to keep buying things she actually already has. Honestly, I used to hate hearing this because it annoyed me and I am not the most organized person in the world, lol. And I used to love love love to buy toiletries, even if I didn’t need them at the time; now I am learning not to do this by teaching/disciplining myself to, for example, use up the deodorant until you just can’t get the proper use out of it anymore lol, or looking in my food pantry to see what I can use before going to the grocery store for something else. It’s not always easy! lol I have never been very frugal even though I don’t like to actually give my money to stores lol!! My biggest weakness is buying clothes; even if I consign or donate, it is hard not to want to replace them because then my closet looks bare lol. But I am learning little by little to be more economical–even with snacks lol! I feel healthier (and richer!) when I don’t spend as much money on chocolate or ice cream 😉 Thanks for this post, I look forward to reading more!! 🙂

    P.S. I don’t know if you know about them, but there are some blogs out there like Freebies4Mom and Coupons and Freebies Mom and Couponing With Rachel (all on FB too) and they post a lot of freebies and giveaways and deals that people may not otherwise know about. That’s how I get these awesome Cardstore greeting cards for free when they have them, how I got my sister a great Victoria’s Secret Christmas gift for like under $10 (a cute cami, a sampler of 6 perfumes, and lotion–you know all that together would be well over $100 there!! lol), etc. Also signing up for Kohls coupons, they can send you those $10 cash cards, those can come in handy, I got a pair of flip flops for a baby shower for FREE using one of those…they also have things for moms (of course!) specifically for like diapers and stuff 🙂 Check them out when you have the time!

  2. It’s so funny that the person above mentioned Suze Orman because that’s exactly what I was going to comment about. I heard her say once that you should “look at the money you save as money you earned.” . It’s a completely different outlook than most people have about money and I love the idea of being happy with saving because it’s just like you’re earning extra money. Great post!
    ~Erin
    Neaten Your Nest

  3. This is my mantra as well! In order to be a stay at home mom it was essential I cut back on everything. It is amazing how much we were using and buying that we really didn’t need! Now our “simple” life is just the norm!

    • It can be very tempting to buy things we don’t really need; those advertisers can be very good at their jobs! It definitly comes down to what is a priority in your life. Glad to hear you can also enjoy being a stay at home mom!

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