If you are like most women today, one of your main problems is how to save money on everything from groceries to birthday presents. Millions of families are living paycheck to paycheck, and chances are if you aren’t one of them, you know someone who is.
There are dozens of ways you can help cut expenses and live within a tighter budget, without compromising the quality of your life. Try adding just a few news money saving ideas a week. Save money at home, and you might even find enough left over to finally start that savings plan we all wish we had now!
Save Money on Groceries
? Make one day a week your food prep day. Create a menu for the week and use it to prep lunch foods for the kids, purchase the right ingredients for dinners and bake snacks or breakfast foods that can be used in lunches or reheated during the busy work week. A little bit of planning can save you big bucks on the cost of food. For the average family, that’s hundreds a month.
? DON’T stop at the store on your way home every night. I have found myself spending an easy $100 extra a week that way! Make your food purchases once a week (this is where that planning comes in!) and avoid the last minute runs. Have you EVER actually walked out with just that one carton of eggs you walked in for?
? Reduce waste. Most Americans throw away half their food. Can you imagine cutting your food bill in half? That’s thousands a year. Invest in those green bags for your produce, (yes, they really work) make a list of leftovers on the refrigerator door so they don’t get lost in the back, dish your kids half of what you normally would and let them come back for more rather than throw it away. Same goes for pouring them milk or juice.
Save Money on Kids
? Save money on kid’s clothes by looking for bargains and not buying on impulse. Watch end of the season sales, and buy 2 sizes larger on average for the next year. Short sleeve shirts can be used year round layered under sweatshirts or with longer sleeves, so they are always a good buy on clearance. Check out those thrift stores while the kids are at school and score them some brand name gently used clothing for just a few dollars. They don’t have to know where they came from if it bothers them.
? Young kids are perfectly happy with budget minded activities to keep them busy. Nothing wrong with whipping up a homemade batch of playdough or bubbles, in fact, they might enjoy that just as much as playing with them! Keep a box of craft supplies to pull out when they need an imagination day. Pick up glue sticks, crayons and scissors in bulk when school supplies are on sale to last all year. Save magazines for them to cut up and make collages. Reuse computer paper and allow them to draw on the backside. Use the internet to find sites that offer free computer games, or instructions to games your kids can play. A good one is http://www.funattic.com/.
? Older kids and teenagers seem to think they always need the latest and greatest video games. They don’t. Last years games at half the price are just as fun this year. Don’t let the “keeping up with the Joneses kids” mentality drive your judgment. Kids today have WAY more then they probably should anyway. Fun is great, but make sure they understand the whole “I want it all, and I want it now” mentality is what got our country in this mess! And by the way…they will not die if they have to wait for a birthday or holiday to get them, either. Despite what your 13 year old would like you to believe. Another money saving tip for gaming? Ebay. Just make sure you check out the sellers ratings to be sure you are dealing with a legitimate business.
Save Money on Household
? Trim your electric bill by cutting back on energy usage. Turn off your computer, especially your monitor when not in use. Letting is run all night in an unused room is a big waste. Turn down your thermostat just a couple of degrees and save 20% on your bill. Sew quilted window coverings to insulate your number one energy leak.
? Save on restaurants by planning your trips on free kid’s night. Ask for water with lemon instead of soft drinks. If your local restaurant has a half price appetizers hour, make it a meal on just a few dollars. Look for the most value for your dollar. Our local Mexican restaurant makes a nacho appetizer that is so large it can easily be shared by four for a filling meal, and it’s less than $9.
? When making major household purchases, make sure you do your research. Look for stores that offer a price match if you find a better deal. Floor models sell for a lot less and work just the same. Most experts say save your money when it comes to the extended warranty…if something is going to go wrong, it probably will while its still covered by the manufacturers warranty. Don’t underestimate your ability to repair things. The internet is packed full of websites and forums that will walk you through household repairs and even tell you what parts you need. Look for furniture on Craiglist. Don’t feel like you have to buy every piece of furniture you need at once, take your time and find a bargain.
Now that you have started implementing a plan to save your family money, consider learning to make extra money as well to help you put away for a rainy day, pay for your children’s lessons and classes, or to pay down debt. Remember, ANY woman can learn to make money on the internet, no matter how tight her budget, even if she’s just getting her surfing feet wet, and using what she already knows!