1. Go to the ATM. Yes, that’s right. To save money you need to get cash out of the ATM. When the cash is gone, this is your sign to stop spending! Three years ago we decided to get cash out for things like groceries and eating out. This ensures that your budget has boundaries and creates a clear stop sign.
2. Stay Put. With a little planning and creativity a staycation can feel like a real summer vacation. You’ll save a lot of money and actually get some rest too! Everyone takes off work and joins in the fun. Use our Charlotte staycation ideas list to find free activities.
3. Be a Picky Eater. If you’re going out to eat, pick a restaurant where kids eat free. Also, be on the lookout for Groupons, a daily deals site with local deals such as paying $10 for $20 worth of food. You can also purchase a $25 gift certificate for only $10 from Restaurant.com. We plan our date nights around these special offers and it’s a real money saver.
4. Click Around. Free music and books are just a click away! Use Pandora internet radio to create a personal music station. I use this on my computer (while I work), on my TV (while I cook), and on my iPhone (while I workout). You can rent e-books from your library and can always find free e-book downloads from sites like Amazon or iTunes by searching “free ebooks”.
5. Money Really Does Grow on Trees. When you clip coupons it’s like clipping money out of the newspaper (which is made from trees–get it?). Match a sale with a coupon and you’ve got a 50% (or more) savings! I saved $3,769.22 the first year I used coupons and reduced my weekly grocery/toiletry budget to just $75 per week. Not sure where to start? Check out my 5 Easy Steps to Slash Your Grocery Budget in Half. Better yet, come to a workshop because learning in person is so much easier!
6. Get in the Kitchen. Even if you don’t clip one single coupon you can still save money by simply planning your meals. This removes the 5pm dinner stress and prevents you from eating out-again. Even better, plan your meals around what’s on sale. Example, if Chicken is Buy 1 Get 2 Free then you should look at your favorite recipes and plan a few chicken meals.
7. Be Careful Passing Gas. One of my most embarrassing moments happened because I passed gas- a gas station that is. I knew I was heading to the SC border (where gasoline is much cheaper) later that day. I thought I had enough gas to get me through my errands but alas, my van died at a busy intersection. A friend quickly came to rescue the kids while I waited with police for my husband to leave work and bring that silly red gasoline container. I kept saying to the officers, “I’m so sorry, I know this is not what you were trained to do”. The moral: You should look for ways to save money on gas BEFORE your low fuel light turns on. How? Use the Gas Buddy or Cheap Gas app to find the cheapest gas in your area, keep your car maintained, and use BiLo’s Fuel Perks program.
8. Toss it Out. Look for things you may not be using anymore and get rid of things that no longer fit your life. Do you really need all of those cable channels, that many cell minutes, or that gym membership that you don’t used? Getting rid of financial clutter helped us save $2520 this year!
9. Check your credit. You are entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months. These days, credit reports are being used for everything from setting insurance rates to evaluating job candidates. Making sure your report is accurate can save you money!
10. Shop for Christmas in January. Shop AFTER a holiday (Valentines, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc) for cards, decorations, and gift wrap and keep them for the next year.
Note: This was a guest post that I wrote for Little Ones Magazine blog