Would you love to know 50 ways to save money? Here are some general tips on how to be frugal, ways to save money in your household, with your kids, and when feeding your family. Do you have a tip for frugal living? Please share your ideas here at Kids Activities Blog.
How To Be Frugal
- Make a goal chart and as you save the amount of money or pay off debts, mark them off and reward yourself. (Ex: we can’t get that camera until our car is paid off). The expense of the camera is minor compared to the interest I’ll save by paying off debts early.
- We do the “packets” budgeting system. All spending money we take out at the beginning of each month. We then pay for everything with that cash, when it is gone there is no more till the next month. This budgeting method works for us, find one that works for you!
- Wait for a minimum of 24 hours before purchasing any pricey item. Oh, and see if you can find something comparable used first!
- If something breaks try to fix it or do without before going out and purchasing a replacement. Try not to hire someone to fix things, rather swap services (see craig’s list).
- To curb impulse buys, create a 30-day list. When you want to buy something, other than a true necessity (medicine or food, for example), put it on this list, with the date you added it to the list. And make it a rule that you can’t buy anything for at least 30 days after you put it on the list. And stick to it. You’ll find that you buy a lot less with this system.
- Surround yourself with “frugal-minded” folk. If you don’t have any friends who are willing to make a frugal journey with you try looking online, maybe get a great frugal book, or browse the websites One Income Dollar or the Prudent Housewife. Both great inspirational blogs. We found it is easier to save when we’re not surrounded by spend-happy folks.
- Use a price sheet so that you can know if a “sale” is really a bargain or if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.
- Buy meat that is on Manager Special (expiring that day or shortly after). Cook that day and eat/freeze.
- Mix ground beef with an egg and several handfuls of quick oats (makes the meat go farther). Use in meatballs, meat loaf, etc.
- Bake your own bread – let the yeast sit in sugar water till it smells fermented and use half the yeast (the most expensive ingredient in bread). Artisan bread is the cheapest to make per loaf.
- If you are big milk drinkers, buy whole milk and a box of dry milk and make your own mock-2% milk by mixing half whole, half non-fat dry reconstituted milk. You have two gallons for a fraction of the cost.
- Go meatless 1-2 nights a week. You can substitute dry beans. They are VERY cheap and filling.
- Meal plan and coordinate so that leftovers can be utilized fully, yet keeping variety. (Ex: Tacos day one, use left over taco meat day 2 for stuffed peppers)
- Try to stretch as much time between shopping trips. The fewer times you go shopping, the fewer chances you have to “impulse buy”.
- ONLY shop from a list. If it is not on the list DO NOT BUY IT. It is best to make a check off inventory list of all things you could need and highlight what you’re out or low on.
- Eat something small before you go. It is harder to resist the temptation to over buy when you have an empty tummy.
- Keep your change (dollar bills and coins) use this as your “fun fund”
- Buy generic – many times this is considerably less than the alternative even if you have coupons.
- Use coupons if you prefer something name brand and only if you buy that item regularly. Also, ask if your grocery shop has “double days”.
- Rather than buy a newspaper for the coupons, go to your library, usually they do not mind allowing you to clip the coupons you need… and your kids can attend story time at the same time! OR you can go to this site for free grocery coupons and print the coupons you need online!
Money Saving Tips
- Wash your dishes by hand… I have a hard time with this one, I know it saves water/energy, but I love the convenience of my dishwasher!
- Wash clothes in warm water and only if you have a full load to do. Dry your clothes on the line and if you don’t like the “crunchy” feel, stick them in the dryer for 5 min with a wet rag after they’ve hung out.
- Wash your clothes inside out so they will look nicer longer… and only wash if something is truly dirty.
- If you like fabric softener, put some on a towel and throw it in with the dryer. A quarter size “spill” on the towel can do about 3 loads – a great way to save softener! Also, to make your detergent go farther, add a tablespoon of baking soda to the load and use half the detergent. Baking soda is a soap booster and is cheaper than Arm&Hammer.
- In the winter, use your dryer and stove during the early evening to help heat your home. In the summer, use them in the very early morning (or not at all) to help keep your home cool.
- Cook all your meals for a 2-week period (esp. in the summer) so that your oven only has to do the work one time for multiple meals. Keep meals in the freezer and re-heat with the microwave – uses less energy, and you save time. Also, having home-cooked freezer meals cut down on the tendency to order take-out when you’re having an exceptionally busy day. It is possible to do this with a refrigerator’s freezer.
- In the summer take a cold bath/wash rag to help you feel cool before bed, and keep the thermostat as high as possible or the A/C off if possible (we live in TX – its not possible). Each degree change can save up to 3% on your energy costs!
- In a room that has a tendency to be dark, put a mirror near the light to refract the light around the room. One light bulb has the power of two with this trick!
- Unplug items (toaster, shaver, cell phone charger, TV) when not in use. Small amounts of electricity are still being used even if they are off, but plugged in.
- Use Craig’s List to purchase used items (furniture, etc.) or freecycle or go to garage sales. We’ve even gotten a number of items from the curb on trash day!
- Buy paint from the “oops” counter at Home Depot or Lowes. Also, if the color of your walls allows, add a faux finish over the existing color. This uses a lot less paint and allows you to spruce up more rooms at a fraction of the cost.
- Cut your cell-phone or house phone, you don’t need both. If possible, become a single-phone family. For long distance, calling cards are great! You can usually find cards with under 2 cents a min! Pay-as-you-go cell phone plans are great if you are not a big phone user.
- Make your own household cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, Hydrogen peroxide, borax & bleach are all really cheap and you can make any and every household cleaner from laundry detergent to the equivalents of Windex and Comet from mixtures of those ingredients.
- Check your insurance. We were able to save $600 a year when we switched companies, combined our house and auto onto the same plan, and added $500 to our deductible.
- Get a programmable thermostat for your household heat and water heater. You can turn the temps down an hour or two after you go to bed, or during the warmer times of the day, or the times when you typically don’t use your hot water. No reason to heat what is not being used!
Pinch a Penny
- Get a buzzer and cut your hubby’s hair… if possible, have a friend cut your’s… Also, longer hairstyles do not need to be maintained as frequently as shorter ones.
- Buy clothes for your kids used – they grow out of them so fast new is not worth it! And used usually look just as good!
- Limit the number of toys your children are able to have in the house. This will lower the clutter, increase the value of the toys you currently own, increase your children’s creativity as they learn to play with less, and also will decrease spending on toys.
- Try home remedies before Doctor visits. Those co-pays can add up and its amazing how a humidifier, Vitamin C & some good ole’ rest will make the bugs go away!
- Make gifts for holidays and birthdays, often these mean more than ones purchased at the store as they show you put time and effort into the recipient.
- Make your own personal hygiene products (or do without). Kimberly has a great blog documenting her withdrawl from her addiction to shampooing.
- Cloth diaper your kiddos. If you use this cloth diapering method your whole stash can cost less than a hundred dollars and can potentially be handed down to future kiddos. Cloth diapering also encourages early potty-training!
- Make your own baby food by pureeing what the rest of the family is eating, or you can use dehydrated and powdered veggies – if you like the convenience of those pricey jars.
- Eat out rarely if ever! If you do eat out, only drink water. Also, check your newspapers for discounts and grand openings; you can usually get more for your buck then.
- Invite people over to your home rather than meeting them at a restaurant. You’ll have more time to chat and if you plan your meal well, will save a bundle too!
- Get movies for your Friday night from the library rather than Blockbuster or netflix. They are usually free! Also check out Hulu. They have a number of TV shows online for free! Amazon has many movies to stream for a dollar.
- Either eliminate or see if you can combine any of the following: Internet, Television, Long-Distance, Cell Phones – We found that a calling card saves us tons on what would have been a long distance phone bill, and we get the TV shows we want through online streaming for free.
- Set-up a baby-sitting swap with a friend who has children. You’ll save money and know that someone “experienced” is watching your kids.
- Find dates that are more events than just “going out to eat”. These can sometimes save your budget and are usually more memorable.
- See if you are near a Bass Pro shop or Cabella’s. We take our kids there instead of the zoo. It’s free to walk around and the stuffed animals don’t move so you actually get to see them! Call ahead of time and be there for the fish feeding.
Thanks to Amagill for the “money” photo!
More Ways to Save Money
We hope these tips help you and your family save money this year. We have a few more ideas on how to be frugal. Take a look at these additional ideas for frugal living:
- Save Money on Free Educational Apps for Kids
- How to Be Frugal on Vacation
- Teach Kids about Frugal Living