Find a good accountant! I have found a fantastic accountant who tells me all the ways I can get money back from SARS. He knows how to minimise your tax and maximise your returns. My new accountant even lodges my tax return for me. Easy!
We have the luxury of a dishwasher in our house. Instead of adding a rinse aid to stop watermarks, I add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. It works just as well, if not better, a bottle of vinegar lasts as long as a bottle of rinse aid and I feel better for eliminating more nasty chemicals on the dishes my kids eat from.
Always carry a snack bag and water with you.
For fun baths, instead of buying fancy bubbles or bath bombs, a few drops of natural food colouring does the trick.
Invest in a universal battery re-charger that charges batteries of different sizes.
Have a shopping budget, write a list and stick to it. Never shop on an empty stomach.
Know your prices; that way when there’s a good bargain you can save even more.
Shop at green/ farmers’ markets.
While you’re pregnant or even if you already have a child/ children, keep an eye out for nappies when they come on special so you can stock up.
Visit the supermarkets late in the evening as that’s when they mark down the prices of bakery items and chickens.
Nappy bags can be expensive, so I use the medium-sized freezer bags instead – they do the trick just as well.
Hair detangling sprays can be expensive. We make our own by mixing regular hair conditioner with water in an old spray bottle.
Do your grocery shopping online. While there is a small charge for delivery, it keeps a running total of your groceries which stops impulse buying.
Create a meal plan for the week then make up a shopping list from it. When you go shopping, stick to the list and don’t pick up any extras! Buy your meat in bulk and get your veggies from the farmers’ markets, so you are only getting the staples from the supermarket. Also pay your bills weekly or put money into a separate “Bills” account and if possible pay/ put away a little more, so when the time comes for birthdays etc. you don’t have to pay/ put away that week and you can put that money towards the party and presents.
I plan a 4-week menu plan. At the start of the week I put all that week’s meat into the freezer basket at the top of the chest freezer so it is easy to pull out. I write out the shopping list for the week (and for the following week too), but the aim is to use up foodstuffs that you already have in your pantry. I defrost the meat overnight in the fridge, and make the meal (or prepare it) by lunchtime. Then when 5 o’clock comes round, baby is grizzly but mealtime is okay because I am organised! If the menu rotation gets off track I fall back on chops or sausages with lots of veggies, easy and quick to make, and then I try and get back into the menu rotation. It’s also a good way of trying all those recipes that you never get around to sampling! Good for reducing food shop costs because you use up pantry stuff; good for using up meat/ food in freezer; good for family because meals are ‘on time’ so less snacking; and good for me because dinner is sorted meaning less reliance on takeaways.
Buy seasonal vegetables in bulk at your local markets. Chop them up and par-boil them. Then transfer meal sized portions in to plastic bags and freeze. Makes jungle hour easier on mom and you save loads of money by not buying frozen vegetables at the supermarket.
I often make a big pot of mince stew and whatever we don’t eat that night we use again by making “mince and cheese toasted sandwiches”, or you can turn that mince stew into a Shepard’s pie the next night.
Never throw out fruit that’s not fresh enough to eat in its natural state. Bake it in a muffin or cake.
Freeze any leftover cupcakes or muffins in separate bags and defrost them in the microwave when needed. Great for when kids want a nice treat.
Instead of buying little packs of chips or marshmallows, buy a larger pack, get some zip lock snack bags and make your own.
We have “McMommy” dinners. I buy special toys and make chicken nuggets and wedges. Much cheaper and healthier option.
Invest in a slow-cooker, you can cook cheaper cuts of meat to save money and make beautifully tender meals.
Sell clothes, toys, baby equipment that your children have outgrown. Or hold a swap day at your mother’s group were such items can be viewed and then borrowed or swapped.
Look no further than your local charity shop for play clothes. My local charity shop always has heaps of designer labels for just a couple of Rands.
Using the washing machine after 9 pm to save money on the energy bill as this is off-peak time.
Buy clothes a size ahead at the end of season when cheap.
Washing powder can get really expensive so I use half a scoop of washing powder and half baking soda.
Instead of buying coffee out, take your own from home in a travel mug. Even if you use nice Jacobs or Nescafé Gold etc., it still costs less per cup. Just one a day made at home instead of bought can save you hundreds of Rands per year!
My friends and I love to read gossip and baby magazines, but they can be so expensive. We all take turns buying the mags each month and then pass them on.
Encourage children’s rewards to be activities, e.g. going to the park, or having their favourite meal as a picnic. That way when you go to the shops they aren’t asking for everything, encouraging you to buy more.
Instead of paying for babysitters, start a babysitting co-op with other moms from mother’s group.
Look up your local city council website for free children’s activities in your area such as story-time at the library or museum visits.
When we want a family night out we go to a nice restaurant, which has “kids eat free”.
Teaching saving skills to kids
Put just R5 a day into a high interest account for your child.
I go through my small change after I return home following each shopping trip, and put aside in each child’s money box the coins that are dated the year of their birth.
Consider becoming a “home-made gift giver”. Next time give a personalised gift made with love – bake food, sew a gift or pot a plant nicely.
Instead of flowers, we give new parents a “welcome home hamper” – nappies, frozen meals, biscuits, snacks and fruit.
Use children’s artwork for wrapping paper. You are then recycling, reusing and adding a personal touch.