While it would be great to be able to afford all we want to at every time, the temporary reality for some of us may be that we have to budget every last penny at home. If you are looking for a few tips to stretch every naira bill to go a little longer, wider and deeper then keep on reading for some practical help. (This blogpost was first published in March 2021.)
I am so excited to share some of the tips I have had to learn and apply as I run my home. I started applying some of them when we ran a single income home, and even though we have a little more and run a multiple income home, I still apply them because I believe in stewarding with great accountability, the wealth that God has blessed us with.
And if you are not contributing to the family income in this season, at least you can help manage well the God blesses your family with in through your hubby.
1,000 here, 3,000 there and 700 over there can quickly add up in a month to N10, 000 or more. Make a practice of it and you now find even more ways to save. And you can save it in your kid’s bank accounts, or invest in other important things.
Here are 10 tips, within which are principles, so if you cannot apply them directly, I am sure you can tweak them to suit your person, home, pocket and season. Hopefully they reduce the financial pressure that comes with money in your home.
Above all, ask God to also help you. I have seen Him help me save so much, so let’s lean into the Father’s budgeting tips too.
1. Don’t buy on ‘Instagram’
Instagram representing social media and online shopping in general. Except there is a massive and REAL sales ongoing, most things online are more expensive, sometimes up to double the price. For example, a vendor I saw on IG sells strawberries at N2500 per kg, without delivery, but I found one from asking on my WhatsApp who sells for N1800 per kg.
Services are usually reasonably priced online, while goods are more expensive. Chances are high that while you don’t have a lot of money, you probably have a little more time, so invest that time in cutting cost.
I know the pressure is high, and you think there is something you are missing by not shopping online like your friends, but trust me, you aren’t.
2. Water. Water. And more water!!!
I know you think it’s in the constitution to put Caprison, Ribena, and Bobo in your kids’ lunch box, but it isn’t’. Your kids can do just fine with water. And at home, you can make them nice, inexpensive, HEALTHY drinks. I have two posts on my fitness blog to help.
Making this swap can save you SO MUCH MONEY, and reduce all the BAD BAD sugar all these drinks contain.
3. More eggs, less ‘meats’.
By meats, I am talking chicken, turkey, fish, goat meat and the likes.
At home, I let my kids have fish or chicken once a day, and some days we even go without. However, I try to give them more eggs, so they get their iron and protein from.
Meats are certainly more expensive and you can get just as much goodness in eggs.
Which also means that there are meals that I don’t even add any animal protein because they have had or will have it in another meal the same day.
We grew up thinking meat was a sign of good living. It necessarily isn’t.
Plus, one whole egg equals one whole chicken. Hehe
4. Skip the ‘photo shoots’ pressure
Again, another waste of money that social media has made us embrace. We feel a need to capture every special occasion with a photographer, makeup artist and stylist we can tag on social media when the pictures are out. Weddings are a great time and reason to splurge for the memories, but even weddings can do without. My photographer lost my wedding files. 8 years later, I am still married lol.
Ok, seriously, don’t sweat the child’s first birthday by doing an expensive shoot. Find a photographer in your neighborhood within your budget. That was what I did for my first son’s first birthday and you can see the pictures and story here. It costs me just 3k
Sure the pictures won’t be as great as TY Bello’s but the idea is capturing a moment for posterity. If all you have is your phone, use it and save it in the clouds (like Google photos or drive, or email). Guess what? 25years later, all our pictures of today will be OUTDATED!!!! Including the makeup.
So no need to do pass yasef…
5. Thrift it
Till tomorrow, I am happy to buy my kid’s some second hand clothes. Cloths are so useless to waste money on, especially if you don’t have enough. Ask for hand me downs. My sister steady sends me her last son’s cloths (and shoes). Buy second hand, come home. Wash and anoint them. We ALL use second hand.
The bed sheets and towels we use in hotels are SECOND HAND.
So don’t even feel bad if you have to. Plus you see some real amazing deals there if you look closely. Many people who have the means still thrift abroad but it is in Nigeria we associate it with poverty, and give it demeaning names.
My sister, thrift with pride
Check out this video for the ridiculous prices Sarah got some crazy amazing maternity thrifts. And proudly too.
6. Neutral over Kiddies’ themed
This is also another absolute waste of money that could have been invested instead. First, kid-themed stuff are usually more expensive, just because they have a cartoon character on it. Second, as they grow, you have to change it because their taste will change, or they will not be kids again.
So please buy neutral stuff so they can use it for longer and can even swap between siblings. E.g. towels, lunch boxes, bed sheets, etx.
One of my kids lunch boxes went bad recently and I promptly gave him my husband’s own and changed hobby’s own. I wondered if, maybe hubby’s lunch box was the one that got bad and all the extra I had was kid’s themed. I would have had to buy a new one.
Now when I purchase long term use stuff, I stay away from kids themes, so any other person can use them if need arises.
7. Duplicates over Multiples
Girl, there are some things you need just 2 of, or max 3. There is no need having 7 cooking spoons, 5 school shoes, 6 plates, 7 cups and so on.
First, multiples means more time looking for stuff, and less care in handling it because you/they know there is another. It also makes your home cluttered.
Once I get anything as gifts and it makes it become multiples in my home, I give it out. E.g. all those kiddies’ plates, cups and all that come in party packs.
And the same applies to me, especially as a #Minimal Mom
It saves you money when you adopt that mindset, and while you think you want to keep it for later, most times we just end up having even more than the ‘said later’ needs. So you don’t just keep buying and buying. Except of course you run into a RIDICULOUSLY cheap deal, e.g. solid school shoes for N1000 haha. Then please, buy 7 until they are done with school, and hook me up too. Hehe
8. Track n’ Beat challenge
Ah, this one is a personal fave because it challenges me and I have to find really creative ‘out of the box’ ways to make it work. Basically, this means that you track the time it takes for a certain item to run out, and then find ways to beat it.
For example, I track a few things at home like how long our power card lasts, or gas, or fuel, then I try to beat it even if for a couple days or a week.
So if my Power lasts 15 days, then I try to see if it can last 18days next time. When I am on that challenge, I then find ways to conserve power. Say, when I am using my air fryer, I put off my freezer, or AC, or for the entire duration of my washing machine running, or just find times to leave some things off. That way, I am conserving power.
I do the same for gas. Find ways to combine stuff that I cook so I don’t waste my gas. These little things seem pedestal but aside from winning on the money side, it also forces your brain to think a little bit more critically.
I love it.
9. Call a FAST
Ah, this one is key because some of us eat way too much, and waste the money that is not available on food. So whether you fast off food completely for certain hours, or you pick some foods you can’t control yourself around and fast off that food.
This is something I practice even till now. There are seasons I fast off chicken because your sister is not controlling herself successfully around it.
And there are times when I would rather divert my finances to another thing, or just respond to opportunities to be generous and so I call a fast so I can save money at home. And that’s such a win because I now get to build myself spiritually too. So if satan thought he could tension you with money scarcity. You flip the whole thing on him and build some spiritual muscles instead.
Sand you can also FAST off stuff not only food. You can choose to FAST off some luxuries too, like hair and maintain a simple hairstyle. I mean, the concept is the same; you need more money, lay down something temporarily for it.
10. Pause n’ Question
Do WE really need this?
This is such an important question to ask yourself before money goes out on anything. I ask myself this every single time, because it is so easy to fit into the system of this world without thinking.
If you would PAUSE and QUESTION, it would make a huge difference.
Your kids don’t need everything that comes out now.
You don’t need everything that is hawked online for your baby.
Your kids don’t need XYZ for school.
Sort out your identity and leave it firmly in Christ and not in anything else, then make your confident and whole decisions from that healthy place.
You know yourself, your pocket and your season and you have to get comfortable with saying NO for now, because it will not be forever.
One day, it may be well within budget, so don’t kill yourself to afford what the future will present with a lot less stress.
So there you go. 10 of my best hacks to save more money while rocking out your best life. I actually have a few more, but let’s enjoy and apply from these 10 first.
Measure and Standardise
How many cups of rice will be enough for the family in a day or 2?
How many loaves of bread do you need in a week?
How much Cereal can your child finish at a meal and be full?
These things seem little but the waste soon adds up.
You make more golden morn because you didn’t measure. Your child remains it and then you eat it, or throw it away.
You always have extra rice or spaghetti so because it is ‘too small’ you end up eating those extras. Then you keep gaining weight.
You mix pancakes and after every one is stuffed, you still have enough batter to feed 3 more kids, and since batter won’t last, it gets thrown away.
So you realise stuff is finishing faster than before.
As a domestic queen honey, you should do plenty better.
Standardise measurements at home
Teach your domestic help too
And let’s save some more as a result of these small habit
Which will you be practicing now?
Do you have more hacks?
There will be moms like you checking out the comments, so feel free to share yours lets learn together
God bless you.
Sending my best hugs