Young and in the Military: Saving Money
Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.
If you have kept up with my “young in the military” series, then you might have remembered the first three parts:
- Young and in the Military: Starting Out
- Young and in the Military: Getting Settled
- Young and in the Military: Making Friends
Now I am adding this last post to the series about saving money. I do not claim to be an expert in any of the topics I talk about in these posts, but I do talk about things that have helped me along the way, and I hope they are helpful to you!
These are in no way inclusive, and I would love to hear your input about what you do to save money!
I am not a coupon expert, but I have found that coupons can help to save a lot of money if used right. I hear of so many people who can buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries each week, and only pay maybe $30.00 because their coupons cover the rest. I am still learning how to do that, but meanwhile here are two sites that I have found helpful!
2. Shopping at the Commissary and BX or (PX)
When we first moved to this base- my husband’s first duty station, we were living off base so I didn’t really think about shopping at the commissary for my groceries or at the BX (PX for you army people!) for other things. Now that we are living on the base, I have seen quite a difference in the prices at the commissary and BX. I was shocked to think I had been shopping at Walmart and Publix for a year, when I could have been saving money by shopping on the base. Trust me it’s worth it!
If you are young, on low income, and are having a baby, WIC might be the perfect thing for you! WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children and is a program that gives coupon-type slips of paper that get you free milk, vegetables, bread, cheese, eggs, juice and more. After the baby is born it will also get you free formula, if you are not breast feeding or need to supplement. According to the website:
“WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.“ – WIC
When I first heard about WIC, I was not very thrilled about applying for it. I guess you could say I was proud and did no want people to know that we were on it. But then when I talked to several friends, I found out that it is a pretty popular thing and very helpful. It is a nutritional program not food stamps, and it has been a big help to us. I know so many military people now who use it and benefit from it. I don’t know what we would do with out it. Feel free to go to the website above to see how you can apply!
4. Shopping at Thrift Shops, Consignment shops, Goodwill and the Airman’s Attic
I don’t know how other military bases are, but here we have our own thrift shop and also an Airman’s Attic where those of lower income can go through clothes and other items and take them for free. I have gotten baby clothes and other baby items for free at the Airman’s attic and I think it is wonderful that they have that option. Thrift shops are also great because they are really cheap and they have all sorts of items you can get there including furniture. Goodwill is another great option for cheap items such as clothes, furniture, and other household items. You might be surprised what you can find there!
Another cool thing you can do to save money with the things you buy at the above places such as Goodwill, is redo the furniture you get. I know people who have bought desks and dressers for very cheap at Goodwill and then redid them to look totally new and amazing.
I have an example here of a desk my husband and I recently did. We actually did not buy it at Goodwill, it was an antique that my husband’s family passed on to us. It was in rough condition so we we redid it, and this is the before and after. It still needs new handles, but other than that I think it is in much better condition now than before!
5. Going to Yard Sales
Yard sales are very similar to the stores I listed above in that they have great prices, but you can also sometimes haggle the prices down to get an even better deal! In one day of going to yard sales last fall, I as able to get four baby sleepers for $1.00! They were only $.25 a piece. I also got a maternity shirt for $1.00 and a plastic case to wash baby bottle parts in the dishwasher for $.50! You really can’t beat the deals you get at yard sales, and believe it or not you can find all kinds of things you need, you just have to find the right sales!
If you like yard sales but enjoy shopping online as well, there is an awesome website that does yard sales online! You post your items (kind of like ebay) and people in your area can buy them from you and you from them at yard sale prices! bookoo.com has a listing of all the bases and all the other cities and towns that participate in these yard sales. The one here in my town is mostly made up of military people, but civilians post things as well. I have made over $100. selling my stuff online through mine which is: robinsyardsales.com. It is definitely worth it to check it out!
6. Shopping on Ebay
Like the website above, ebay is a great way to make money and to buy things cheaper than in the stores. Last week we ordered a bunch of Sunbaby cloth diapers on ebay. The prices for the diapers were the best I had seen anywhere else on the web. After figuring out how much we would save by doing cloth diapering instead of disposable, we bought the ones on ebay.
Last, but not least nothing can beat a good old budget! Budgeting helps manage your money, and helps you save as well. If you have been following my blog for awhile you might have read my posts about the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class we took at out church.
We are finished with the class now and plan on continuing the steps that we were taught. If you are looking for a great program that helps you save money, get out of debt, and budget wisely then this is it. It has helped us tremendously especially with a baby on the way. If you have any other ideas and suggestions on how YOU save money, comment with them below.
I think whether it is cheaper to shop on post or not depends on where you live. It seems like some things are cheaper and some are not.
yes coupons are great especially at the commissary i just learned that they will give add the remaining off a coupon to your bill if say the item you got is less than what ur saving I havent tried it but i know of a couple people who have very cool!
I'm a big thrifter and I love to repurpose. Its better on the environment and doesn't waste. Two other websites that I didn't see on your list:
Freecycle – If you have one in your area, this is a great way to get stuff absolutely free. I've gotten dvds for my kids, kitchen stuff, a toy box & train table. They aren't always in the best of condition, but if its free, a little sandpaper and paint can always do the trick.
http://www.thefrugalgirl.com. This is an old friend of mine, and she really lives her life well on a budget. She has gotten me into baking bread which is healthier and cheaper (and tastes better too).
You have a great list here. Its so good to stick to a budget, no matter at what stage you are in life. To me, it makes spending easier. I am more likely to hire a sitter and go out with my guy if I know there is plenty of money to do so.
I've just discovered consignment sales over the past year, and I'm in L-O-V-E. They are great places to get gently used stuff for kids– everything from clothes and shoes to toys and bedding! And I can't believe how affordable. I went to a consignment sale a few weeks ago, and got literally an entire spring/summer wardrobe for G for just $45!
These are all great tips. I so wish I knew how to do that awesome coupon shopping of spending only 30 or so bucks on groceries worth 100+
This is a great post with great tips we can all adapt.
Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day.