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Blogger on a Budget: Plan, Save Money, and Still Enjoy Life

A blogging mom says Iowans can find designer clothes at deep discounts at secondhand shops. (Pixabay)
A blogging mom says Iowans can find designer clothes at deep discounts at secondhand shops. (Pixabay)

March 29, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa - Social media and the Internet make a person's image seem important, but with money tight, some Iowans can't live the lifestyles they want and still pay the bills.

Blogger at Mama Gone Thrifting! LaTashia Perry wants to help. Perry has four kids and one on the way, and she explains it is possible to enjoy some of the finer things without spending a lot of cash.

Life can't be all work and no play, she says, and recommends setting a budget to determine what's left after the bills are paid. And instead of figuring out what to spend, she suggests considering how to save.

"That's what we get caught up in, is thinking we have to spend, spend, spend," she says. "But it's more about planning. Plan ahead and you can save yourself a ton of money and still enjoy life."

Some of her biggest savings come from thrift stores, where Perry says she buys items at 80 to 90 percent of the price they would sell for at full-price retailers.

Meal planning is another major cost-cutter, through not eating out and thinking ahead to avoid waste. Perry explains the money saved can then be put towards other special purchases or experiences.

At Goodwill and other secondhand stores, Perry says shoppers can find quality items with the price tags still attached.

"You have people that buy clothes and then they get 'em home and they decide they don't like 'em," says Perry. "You get some people who will wear something once or twice and then, maybe they lose weight or gain weight. I get tons of things barely used or brand new."

With a big family, Perry faces a monthly grocery store bill that's as much as a car payment. But she says using simple recipes and buying in bulk really helps stretch meals and food dollars.

"Chicken and noodles," she says. 'That feeds six of us for about three days. You get your big pack of noodles, and then you get your chicken breast, and I then add cream of mushroom [soup] and that's everything for about maybe $25."

A Gallup poll released last year found most Americans believe a minimum of $58,000 a year is needed for a family of four to get by in their community, more than double the federal poverty level.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA