Some of you joined in during 2017 and 2018, some of you are still doing it. For anyone who needs a refresher (and anyone new) you will find the original starter posts here. This challenge was started by Vicky when she explained some of her ways to me. I thought it was a brilliant idea!
In a nutshell it is simply about tracking all the ways you save at home and adding the savings up each week. I always stress that your presence in the home is about far more than the financial situation and the importance of running the house, caring for children and all you do is literally far above rubies. This challenge factors in the actual money you are earning. I say earring because saving and earning are so alike. Money earned is taxed. Money you save by doing things yourself will not be taxed. You get to keep more of it.
Vicky adds her weekly savings up at the end of each week. Then the month and finally the year. To many of us this is very motivating. When you see how much difference your efforts make to the household economy it is exciting! Usually you will find this is easily a whole wage. If you work full or part time you can do it too and count the ways you save in the hours you are at home.
If you are a stay home Mum or ever have been someone has probably said something along the lines of "don't you FEEL you should be contributing financially?"
First things first. I had this from someone I knew well one time I asked her how much then did she contribute financially to her family? She had two small children and was working. She said what her wage was but that is not what I wanted to know. I was asking how much profit did she make? She said she had no idea. So we worked it out. Out came paper and pen. We sat and wrote out wages less tax. We took out childcare. We took out uniforms, hosiery, dry cleaning, transport and fuel. We took at work parties presents and contributions and convenience foods as she was so short on time. The long and short of it is she was earning about 50c an hour.
Now I am not saying all jobs equal this result. But many do. And I am not saying it was not her choice either. I am just saying hey, with my home industry I am saving a lot more than 50c an hour thanks very much!
So really the truth of it may not be what it seems.
Then I get "aren't your bored at home?" Well no. I am so busy I don't have time to be bored. There are not enough hours in the day. So I cannot figure this one out at all.
It is up to you what savings you count. I do not count housework. But if you want you can count that and if you take up cleaning your own home over hiring a cleaner I certainly would count it. I do count window cleaning as a number of times in the past I have paid a window cleaner.
I count my baking. This week I made four dozen sausage rolls.
I need to check our local bakery prices. But lets say full size sausage rolls are $5. Then I made $240 worth of sausage rolls. Now I will estimate my costs to be around $30 as I cheated and bought pastry! So my savings are around $210. Not bad for an afternoons work.
Further, the supply of quick tasty meals in the freezer means we basically never get take away. I won't even bother to count that but I hear it is nothing for a lot of families to spend $2000 a year on takeaway!
I do my own hair. In Adelaide I dropped into the three closest hair dressers for a price list. To my surprise I was saving $200+ a month. I should now check our new local prices. This week Chloe trimmed my hair for me. I do my own colour and treatments. It can't be too bad as I get compliments on my hair. This is a savings of over $2400 a year.
When Andy was working in Adelaide I packed his coffees, lunch and snacks every day. At that time I worked out this saved around $10 a day. So that was another $50 a week or two and a half thousand dollars a year.
Even if you would do this challenge for a week you will be amazed! It is worth doing! It is certainly motivating.
Week one this year I had so many things to count. By putting the word out about wanting to can and needing jars I came into over $1000 of free canning equipment and jars!
I count the amount I save on gifts by making them myself.
I count the savings on bargain priced items I find.
The amount saved on things we fix ourselves.
Sometimes I can't quite decide whether to count things or not! For instance when we came here everyone expected me to want to rip out the kitchen and oven. But I love all things farmhouse and I love the old oven! I wonder what I saved there!?!
Savings Andy makes are also counted and this motivates him. Many things he makes himself or fixes are big savings.
The other day I learned to make Meringues.
Lucy told me she saw a small bag of coloured meringues for $15! So now I will adapt and make pretty little ones and colour them. That is my next project!
Just now I have a Pavlova in the oven for Mums Birthday. Since the eggs are from our chickens it is only costing me a tiny amount. I will work out my savings and count those.
At Christmas I gave out homemade treats and worked out what I saved there over bought things. Some of these savings are surprising!
I trying to keep up to date with the going rates for hand crafted goods. I have found soap making a big saver. I gave my son in law chunky and rustic homemade soaps. Some he had were from Lush and they were around $14 a bar! Mine were just as good or better and cost me so very little.
Making my own laundry detergent is a huge saver. It worked out to be a savings of about $90 last time I made this up.
Each day there are just so many ways to save! The possibilities are just endless.
It is absolutely up to you how you do your own Vicky Challenge and how accurate you want to be. I mainly to quick checks on retail prices or services, usually get a shock, then record my approximate savings. I do not spend too much time on it. The main thing is I quickly jot things down so I will remember them!
Tonight I am making pizzas. I am using tomatoes and basil from the garden. I will figure out my savings over buying pizza from the nearest place which is a local Tavern.
Apart from it being motivating I think knowing just how much difference you are making to the home economy is very uplifting. It also gives you ammo when someone tries to tear you down. Trust me, you may be contributing financially more than them. Not that is is anyones business but that does not seem to stop negative comments!
At the end of the day you need to know your own worth. Read Proverbs 31. Study it. The work you are doing might involve wiping snotty noses and endless washing but it is more than that. Building a family and strong foundations, good nutrition, morals, charity, education and so much more are all things that will pay off long term. The work you do WILL affect at least several generations.
If you have no children at home then your work is still important. Read Titus 2. There is much work to do. Coming along side a younger woman who needs encouragement, teaching how to save money, how to cook, garden, sew, make soap or whatever you can is helping someone else in their home.
Many people are struggling and one pay check away from disaster. The need to learn skills and encouragement are so needed.
If you really want to save this year ,or just get ahead in any way, it can be helpful to work out what area to attack first. If gift giving and Christmas are big expenses for you come over and join The Tuesday Afternoon Club, start now and make your gifts for next Christmas!
I find a secret in crafting too. I am CONTENT AT HOME. In fact I would rather be home than anywhere else. I can't think of anything worse than the mall. I would rather have time to get some crochet done. Or some card making.... (Oh the savings in card making!!) A while ago I said I would rather be making jam than jetting around. I am serious!
When you are truly busy growing some veggies, feeding the chooks, making your yoghurt, sewing or mending, baking and decorating and so much more you do not have time to be in the shops. You are busy. I say this because shopping is an addiction for many people. Spending on things you do not need is a big problem for many families.
At one time Friday night pizza night cost us a lot of money. So I just learned to make a good pizza base and began making my own. Over time I have picked a lot of areas to see how I can save. One of my best tips is just to take time to think over any purchase. Many times a good idea will seem like a stupid idea after a few days.
Now with the money you save you have options. But I would PLAN what you are going to do as your increase your savings. It might be wise to pay down debt. It is always wise to have a good emergency fund.
Four years ago I gave up weekly coffee and cake and used that money to build up a pantry in my cellar (at our old house). I saved $8 per week. I chose half price items to use it on which gave me $16 worth of goods to add to my pantry every week. Building up a pantry is a very good investment.
You might bank it. You might decide to invest in things that will further increase your savings. Some of the things we invested in were chickens, a bigger freezer, I invested in a spinning wheel... when I began making my own yoghurt I invested in a yoghurt maker. If they are well planned they will give you new savings!
This year my savings are going to be invested in doing up the cottage. I could have a potential income from letting out the cottage or as a B and B. To me this will pay me better dividends than the bank. So that is where most of my savings are going for 2020.
I hope you can see just how important your work is and how much potential there is to save.
If you would like to join in you can do it privately or share each week your savings. We can get so many ideas from each other!
You are very welcome to ask for ideas and you are very welcome to share how you save. I would love to hear of anything you have invested in that you feel has helped you save more. Also any skills you learned that have helped with savings.
Together we can make 2020 a year of getting ahead, even though it is a year in which we are expecting to see some pretty big food price rises. We are battling ever increasing electricity and water prices also. But when things get tough the tough get going! So be encouraged. xxx