Showing posts with label living frugal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label living frugal. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2013

Getting More for Less: Tips for a Frugal Family

It's almost springtime, which calls for some seasonal upkeep inside and outside the home. Frugal moms, take note: there are quite a few practical things you can do to reduce your household expenses and keep the whole family happy at the same time. Here are five:

Transportation


From the annual registration and insurance costs, to fuel and tires, driving and maintaining a vehicle is expensive. Lifehacker.com has some great tips on negotiating that can help you stay on top of vehicle maintenance. Try exchange babysitting services or homemade meals for car repairs or new tires, and don't be afraid to ask for a loyal customer discount. Also, make sure you compare rates from other companies and ask the mechanic to match his competitors' prices.


Woman shopping for a used car
Many families can't find reasonably priced vehicles, especially if they have bad credit. If finding a used vehicle you can afford is your problem, you may want to try an option like DriveTime bad credit auto loans. With a simple two-minute online application, moms find out if they're qualified for a used car that won't break their budget.

Food


Feeding a growing family can feel like you're throwing your cash into a never-ending money pit. Moms can feed their families healthy meals and stay on track financially with a variety of money-saving tactics:
  • Clip coupons. This enables families to buy the groceries they love at a reduced price. Coupons are available in the Sunday newspaper, online and through coupon exchange sites. Use them before they expire and combine them with store sales to increase your savings.
  • Stock the pantry with foods when they're on sale. Grocery stores place the same items on sale every three to four months.
  • Store brands cost less than brand names and usually taste just as good.

Coupons for food
Coupons can help make mealtime more affordable

Shelter


Refinancing a mortgage isn't always possible, but frugal moms can save money on utility bills and other expenses. Turn off the lights before leaving a room and unplug unused electric appliances. Lower the thermostat during winter months and raise it in the summer.

Also, investigate if electric deregulation means you have an option to choose your energy provider. It depends on what state you live in, but one phone call may increase your family's disposable income without sacrificing indoor comfort.


Entertainment


Buying new books and seeing movies at the theater are expensive ways to stay entertained. The local public library offers numerous resources for frugal moms. You and your family can get free movies, books and magazines rentals, as well as Internet access, free children's story times and adult book clubs. Many libraries even offer free museum day passes.


Clothing


Keeping closets stocked with cute clothes that fit growing kids challenges even the most frugal moms. Secondhand stores are the perfect places to find quality, affordable clothing.

Consignment stores sell brand-name, gently used clothes and shoes for the entire family. Moms can earn credit toward clothes by consigning the clothes that don't fit their kids anymore. Thrift stores offer clothing, shoes and household goods that are usually less expensive than consignment stores. Savvy secondhand shoppers search the dollar bins regularly and buy items during half-off sales.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Money Saving Tips We All Know, But Forget to Use

save money
Improving your money skills can help you save money.
Saving money can be really easy, but most of us either don't think about it until it's too late or we are so overwhelmed by our expenses that we feel that saving is impossible. These days we are on the go non-stop, so we go for convenience rather than being practical. Convenience food is the #1 culprit when it comes to wasting money. From buying Starbucks to going grocery shopping when we are hungry, every penny adds up to spending way too much for things we don't really need.

You can save a lot throughout the year if you can find ways to be frugal.  The Dumb Little Man website gives thirty tips to save money. Below are some of my favorites and things I have learned over the years that keep me from over spending.


  1. Buy things in Bulk - Buying dry goods and home products in bulk will save you big bucks.  I save a lot on cleaning supplies and hair products, as well as toothpaste, vitamins, snacks, etc. It may cost you a bit to start out buying in bulk, but in the long run you will save a pretty penny.
  2. Brown Bag it - Sack lunches are the way to go to save money everyday. Everyone has been sucked into going out to eat for lunch as a daily routine. Who wants to eat a plain old sandwich when you can go to the Deli down the street, right? But you can make a fun lunch by adding variety to your sack lunches. Make extras for dinner and pack it for your lunch. Lasagna, enchiladas, and chicken casserole are always better the second day. Mix in an easy chicken Cesar salad twice a week by cooking one chicken breast the night before that can be used for two salads. All you need is Romaine lettuce and a little salad dressing and you have a great salad for two days.
  3. Bring a List for Grocery Shopping - Never head to the grocery store without a list. Always know exactly what you need. If you go without a list you'll be more tempted by those impulse items, or the "just in case I don't have it" factor. I don't know how many times I have put things in my cart that I didn't need, just so I didn't risk having to go back to the store.
  4. Buy Generic Products - I have finally learned over the past 20 years that most generic products are just the same as the name brand. The only difference is the price. The only time I will buy name brand products is if I have a coupon or my club card is giving a discount.
  5. Make Your Own Coffee - I know I am getting a lot of sighs right now from all you Starbucks drinkers. Believe me, I love a good cup of coffee. I am not saying you have to go without, what I am saying is buy in moderation to save a little. A Starbucks coffee is almost the price of a meal these days. If you are buying a Starbucks 5 times per week, cut it down to 2 days per week. This will save you $15 a week, $60 per month, and $720 a year. Now that is a lot of savings!!!
  6. Use Discount Cards - Almost all of the grocery stores carry a club card to help you save more money when you shop. Kmart, CVS, and other chain shopping stores are jumping on the band wagon to help you save money. Some have special coupons and others save you money on future purchases, like giving you money off on gas purchases. It doesn't cost anything to have one so when you are asked to sign up, take the extra couple of minutes and do it. You will save $100's a year by using it. And remember to download the free FamilyWize discount prescription card to save money on your prescriptions. You can save up to 75% on the cost of your medications.

money lessons
Don't over spend, save a little for your piggy bank.
Another way to help you start living frugal is to find out if the store charges a fee for using a debit card. Some stores charge an extra fee for debit card purchases but not for credit card purchases. The ATM bank fees can run you .35 to .55 per swipe at some stores. Ask before saying credit or debit.


If you love to read, shop at used book stores. You can find plenty of used books for half the price. Even better, borrow from your local library. It doesn't cost anything to get a library card and you can check out books at no cost.


My last tip for saving in the New Year is NEVER impulse shopImpulse buying can get you into a lot of trouble, especially with big purchases. Always look around for good deals or wait for it to go on sale. For instance when you are looking for a TV you could end up saving hundreds of dollars for just being patient. Electronics, furniture, and appliances are constantly going on sale so wait and be patient when you are in the process of purchasing a big item. Nothing is worse than buying something and then seeing it on sale a couple of weeks later. Improving your money skills can definitely help you save money

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer