Most of us work very hard for the money that we earn to pay our bills and and take care of our families. With a good percentage of our gross pay going to pay taxes and to medical insurance, we should be wise and thrifty with the "net" part, that we actually get to spend. Of course, that means we need to S-T-R-E-T-C-H it as far as we can, by saving money where we can.
Even if we are very blessed with not having to live paycheck to paycheck, it's still a very wise move to be smart with our money, spend less than we earn, and save for those unexpected expenses and rainy days.
I started this post thinking I would give 10 ways I regularly save money for my family, but the list immediately grew to 20! 🙂
20 Ways To Save Money for Your Family
- My number one way that I almost always save lots of money, when I'm purchasing online is: before I check out, I open a new tab and google "discount codes for ____________" or "coupon codes for ___________" (the company I am buying from). Google will bring up a list of results, and the most reliable, use-worthy site that I have found is "RetailMeNot." A good percentage of the time, I end up finding an active code and saving some money, just from a 30 second google. So the next time you're about to hit "click to purchase" something online, check for promo or discount codes on RetailMeNot.
- If you shop at Walmart, they have an app that includes "Savings Catcher," which you use to scan your receipt after shopping, and it checks to see if there is a lower price from the stores in your area, on your purchases. If there is, it will give you the difference as a credit on a gift card. I've been using this app for around 9 months and have gotten back around $40.
- I used to be a fanatic with coupons, till I started blogging, which now uses up a lot of my free time. The last month or so though, I've been getting back into it, because the savings is undeniable. If you'd like to get started, search online "store deals" for the name of the grocery store that you shop at most frequently. For instance, I like to shop at my local Giant Eagle, since they double coupons up to a dollar. So before I plan my trip, I search "Giant Eagle deals" and find a website, such as Lady Savings, that lists the current deals and coupon match ups for the week, and even links to printable coupons. Coupons.com is a great place to print coupons without having to sign up to a manufacturers website, and create a password and all that. I'm always amazed at how much of a cart load of groceries I get, when using coupons, compared to how much less I get without using coupons, for the same amount of money.
- Now if you don't have the time to use coupons, you can still save a ton by reading through a store's ad paper, and stocking up on the items on sale.
- Also check out what reward's programs your local grocery store might offer. Giant Eagle has fuel perks, which gives you a certain amount off gasoline, based on how much you spend in their grocery store. So we rarely pay full price for gas, just for buying groceries at their companion store. An added plus is they sell gift cards in the store for restaurants and home improvement stores, so if I'm going next door to Home Depot, I can buy a gift card for Home Depot at the grocery, and get the benefit of the fuel perks, to buy what I was going to buy with cash or my credit card anyway at Home Depot.
- Another thing my hubby and I have been talking about recently, is using cash more often for local purchases, instead of our credit card. We've been using our credit card for almost everything (always paying it off every month), so that we can earn free hotel stays, which is a benefit that our credit card offers. However, we've read that people tend to unconsciously spend more when using their credit cards, than they would if using cash.
- I've been a big reader my whole life, and this whole Kindle - instant gratification thing, of easily buying a book online, can get out of hand for me. Lately, after seeing how many books I purchase, and then never actually read, I've been trying to pay attention and stop, and search my local library's free online resource called Overdrive, to see if what I want is available to borrow. If it's available, I still get the pleasure of instant gratification, because Overdrive lets you download books to your Kindle as well, and for free. 😛
- Cable TV for me is another one of those too tempting instant gratification things. If I find a movie I want to see, that's available to rent for $5.99, it's too easy for me to rationalize..."well it's cheaper than going to the movies." My hubby is the more practical and patient one, and is always quick to remind me, that the library "rents" them for free, or our local Redbox is only a $1.
- Another new thing with cable TV, is that some companies are starting to offer a more "pick and choose" your channels package. For instance I have Dish, and they have started offering a "Flex Pack" where I can choose the channels I want, and not have to pay for the channels we never use. So it's definitely worth looking into your options with your cable provider.
- Thrift stores are a biggie for saving money. My family and I recently spent a week with my parents, and they have a thrift store close by that often offers $1 a bag, on whatever you can fit in it, which is a wonderful deal for stocking up on clothing items or books. Unfortunately when we last visited, they didn't have that deal going on, but I still got some really great deals... A beautiful bag for my daughter, a pair of running pants for my youngest son, and a looks like new, Beverly Lewis Trilogy that retails for around $40 on Amazon, for $2.50! To find thrift stores in your area, check out your local phone book or do a search online.
- When I'm exhausted and can't find the energy to make dinner, we've often turned to pizza delivery, since it's often the most frugal choice, as far as takeout goes. But lately, especially with me getting back into couponing, and finding very good deals on frozen pizza, I've been making sure I keep a few in the freezer for those exhausted evenings. I can just throw them in the oven for dinner, instead of caving and ordering pizza. This is a savings for us of around $20 each time we do this!
- If you shop a lot online, make sure you check out Ebates. If you sign up, and start your product search on their site, when you make a purchase, many retailers give you a certain percentage of cash back on your order. I've just started with them, so I haven't made a bunch yet, but I've heard only good things about them!
- See if some of your "fixed" bills like garbage pickup, will give you a discount if you pay for the year in full. My local garbage pickup company does this, and it can save anywhere from $40 -$120 for the year.
- If you really like to eat out (and can afford to), a nice way to save money is to order takeout from a restaurant, instead of eating inside. Pick up your food and either eat it at home or a park, or some place nice. This way you still get the convenience and deliciousness, but you save the money you would have spent on tipping and drinks!
- Getting organized can save A LOT. How many times have you bought something that you just knew you already had, SOMEWHERE, but didn't have a clue where it might be. If you know WHAT you have, and WHERE it is, you can save yourself so much in duplicate purchases, whether it's food in the freezer, or clothing, or office supplies, books....
- Use your local library resources. My local library has low cost copy printing, free new release DVDs, and of course, lots of books. Make sure you keep track of when your library books are due, so you don't rack up fines. 🙂
- Take advantage of video games that your kids no longer play. We recently had our two youngest go through their video and DS games to pick out what they no longer play, and we took them to our local GameStop store, which bought them back. My children made $90 for spending money.
- If you're a reader, you probably have quite the library of books in your home that are sitting around collecting dust. Pack them up and sell them back to a used bookstore. The one we use is Half Price Books.
- Maybe you have leftover sports equipment lying around. Have you heard of Play it Again Sports? They buy and sell pre-owned sporting items, and their website has a list of what they are looking for.
- One thing I do sometimes, when my time is tight, and I'm needing help, is hiring my kids for tasks I need help with (only age appropriate ones). It may be computer work for my blog, or a cleaning chore etc... My kids like earning the money, and it's cheaper for me than hiring a cleaning person or virtual assistant. Don't worry, I don't take advantage, it's usually only 2-3 hours a month.
I hope I've given you some new ideas for how to stretch you $$$ farther for you and your family! Feel free to leave any of your money saving tips in the comments! 🙂