Where did all my money go?! 😮
No you were not the victim of identity theft, but you do have a bandit in your bank account! Sorry to say, but that bandit is YOU! I’ve talked about how you can earn extra money working online and even gave you my top 5 best ways to do so as a special needs parent. But what about those sneaky ways that you are hurting your monthly income? Our monthly budgets are filled with expenses other families are not concerned with.
Just to name a few:
- More co-pay fees and coinsurance costs for repeated Doctor visits, not to mention higher fees for specialists
- Prescription costs
- High deductibles
- Therapy visits
- Respite care costs for at-home aids
- Medical necessities
- Special diet foods – not only for food allergies, or feeding tube considerations but also dealing with food aversions and sudden unexplained changes in diet just when you think you got the hang of things
- Medical foods and supplements
- Diapers, pull-ups, adult diapering if applicable
- Extra coffee to keep YOU awake and running!
- New books, courses, online training – let’s face it, we research the heck out of the diseases that afflict our children
- Newest gadget, supplement, homeopathic treatment, or widget promising to potty train our special child, or tame their behavior, or promise peace or harmony in the household (are they collecting dust yet????)
- WiFi and iPad costs – because without it YOU cannot function without some peace in your day
I can hear you now, “But Deena, I NEED those things!” Yes, you do. Those things above are medically necessary and part of the harsh reality of our lives with special needs. You won’t be able to change those things.
So what CAN we change? How we spend the rest of our money.
How to keep more of the money you make
Here are a few ways I’ve found to keep more money in my pocket each month:
- Eat at home – perhaps you already do this due to the difficulties in getting out to eat. But when tempted to order that pizza or swing through the drive through resist! For our family of 5 a delivered pizza to feed us all costs on average $35. That is $140 per month or $1820 per year! I haven’t found even the drive through to be any cheaper for our family either. Plan out your meals, and stick to it!
- Keep your kitchen clean! – I’ve followed Living on a Dime for years! I first purchased her book eons ago at a craft fair and still read it today. She often talks about how a dirty kitchen equals being in more debt. When your kitchen is dirty you are more prone to eating out. Believe me, I know that is so true for me!
- Freezer cooking! I started freezer cooking back when I was pregnant with my son, baby #2. I had a lot more time then so I would shop and cook an entire month’s worth of food in one weekend! It took our grocery bill down from $800 to $300! That included everything, breakfast, lunch and dinner! As I continued to add babies and my husband was showing signs of his illness it got away from me. Right at the time that I probably needed it the most I stopped. I found this course from Erin Chase at $5 dinners and I’m getting started again. Check it out, it’s called My Freeze Easy and it’s a menu planner for freezer meals.
- Use an envelope budgeting system. I got started years ago when I became pregnant with my first child with this system. It helped us go from paycheck to paycheck to completely buying her nursery furniture totally for cash (we used this furniture for all 3 kids and now the dresser is my buffet in the dinning room!) and having plenty of cash in the bank. It was a good feeling once precious girl came along. I personally use an electronic version of envelopes and I use a system called Mvelopes. You can also go to Dave Ramsey’s website to learn more about an offline system.
- Learn to live on one income even when you have two – You can start to behave as if you have only one income now. It doesn’t really pose any risk to trim down your budget. Take a look at this video where Tawra at Living on a Dime has a video on this topic.
- Use a rewards credit card for all your purchases. I just recently started doing this. I didn’t realize I was leaving a lot of money on the table by not using a rewards credit card for all my purchases. I frequent Amazon a lot, even for basics around the house and even specialty food items for food allergies in our house. So I signed up for BOTH the Amazon Store Card and the Amazon Prime Credit Card.
- The Amazon Store Card allows you to earn a 5% cash back statement credit for all of your purchases! It’s nice to have that credited right on your account so you only pay the remaining amount. I order almost exclusively through Amazon and this is FREE money back since I always pay off my balance prior to the statement cut off. Don’t get caught paying interest fees!
- The Amazon Prime Credit Card earns you 3% back on Amazon purchases, 2% on restaurant and other specialty items and 1% back on everything else. You can redeem that for cash or Amazon points which you can spend on Amazon. Again FREE money back to you. Be sure to pay it off every month to avoid a fee.
- Speaking of Amazon, if you are not a Prime member you are paying too much! I have been a Prime member ever since it was introduced. We get free videos for the kids and us, FREE 2-day shipping and so much more. Get your FREE 30 day trial below.
I hope that gives you a few ideas of how to keep some cash in your pocket. Think of some creative ways that you might be leaving extra money on the table.
What are some ways that you have found money leaking out of your bank account? Drop me a comment below.
Have a special day!