Cold-water detergent's a great idea. We haven't ever run our laundry in hot water, and it still is quite clean. With several gallons of water per wash, each load of laundry is like a bath. You don't want to pay to heat that much water if you don't have to.
And as a bonus, you don't run the risk of shrinking your husband's work slacks down to Steve Urkel length. True story. Groceries
: We're also saving money by eating dinner before we go grocery shopping, making a list and staying with it, and buying staples on sale and freezing them. Cooking at Home
: We do cook our own meals more often now and I'm going to start cooking big meals and freezing the leftovers. Also, practice your cooking skills! It's not hard to make really good food at home if you just try. All it takes is some decent ingredients, time, and attention. You'll save money and you'll feel much healthier when you cook at home. It helps tremendously (coming from a Pampered Chef
) to have good kitchen tools, too. Cooking is much easier and more enjoyable if you have a good knife set and a lot more fun if you have other userful gadgets. As Alton Brown always says, there's no need to have unitasking equipment in the kitchen except for a fire extinguisher. Get tools that are versatile and easy to use. If it takes you 20 minutes to put it together you're not going to use it more than once a year and then you're not getting your money's worth out of it.Baby Food
: For those with really small children, consider making your own baby food. The jarred stuff is ridiculously expensive (usually around $0.50 per jar and our daughter can eat two jars per meal) and you'll know exactly what goes into the food you make so you won't have to worry about preservatives. We buy whole butternut squash, carrots, peaches, apples, etc. and microwave them to soften. For younger babies, you can stick that in the blender and puree until smooth. Check out the book/video combo Fresh Baby So Easy food kit
(this is what we use) or one of the other baby food-making books.Gasoline/Petrol
: Unfortunately, Mr. Y and I live too far away from city bus routes to make them feasible (especially with a toddler and Mr. Y's work commute). The best way we've saved on gas so far is just to drive sensibly. There's no reason to shoot out of a stop light like you're trying to race everyone. Take it easy, plan your drive in advance, and take into account how long it will take you to get to your destination. I see a lot of people in Springfield tearing down the road in a frenzy to get somewhere on time and all they would need to do is leave ten minutes earlier. General Budget
: Get one. You'd be surprised how much money you can find when you take a close look at where you're spending it. Our splurging tends to be on eating out with friends or ordering a pizza when we're both too tired to cook. Try to cut back on unplanned spending, too. This is where I get myself in trouble, with a couple of dollars here and there I can easily spend $30 a day on little things.