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How to save your family money
Ok. So not everybody can be the breadwinner in the family. I am a great example of that. I am a stay-at-home mother of 3 kids and although my husband brings home the money, I am the so-called 'Captain' of the ship. I run the finances, the kids, the daily cleaning and maintenence, the shopping, and the budget. I don't bring in the money but I do figure out the best ways to spend or not spend it. That is almost as important as earning the money. I find the best ways to utilize our income and make it work for us.I am going to tell you quick ways to save money, websites to visit, things you shouldn't waste money on, and how to get free stuff that you will actually use! I will not waste your time or mine by giving you bad advice. I will only tell you the things I do and how they have worked for me.
So let's go...
To start off, if you are reading this, then you have the internet. It is a great tool to have when you have questions...and you get the information for free. Do NOT go to the store and buy a 'how to' book. Anything you ever wanted to know is right at your fingertips. The best website by far has to be www.freebies4mom.com. The woman who writes it is a genius! It tells you how to get free products in the mail and gives you direct links to the sites. I have done them and started getting free stuff immediately....I got shampoo in the mail today! I know it seems cheap but you get great products and if you only request items that you know you will use, it doesn't wast your time and you save money. The website has so many things to browse through and there is new stuff added daily so go check it out.
I suggest opening a checking and savings account with Bank of America. They have that Save The Change program where they round up the amount you spend with your check card to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference into the savings account. You don't have to think about saving and it makes your check book easier to balance. Its almost too easy.
They can be a pain in the you-know-what but they add up. Here is what I do. Get the Sunday paper and clip the coupons (only the ones you will use). I shop at Kroger and they double coupons up to 50 cents. Also, you can go to the Kroger website and look at their weekly specials in your area. You can click on the items you want to buy and it will make you a shopping list that you can print off. Go through you coupons and see if you have any for the items that are already on sale and keep those with your list. Take along the coupons you also know that you will use that week and go to the store for only those items. The exception would be for items such as milk and bread...I never see coupons for these. Save your other coupons for the next week and wait to see if those go on sale.
Oh yeah, if you are an icecream lover like me, Breyers is a high ticket item that is my downfall and I have ever only found 1 coupon for it. It is always cheaper at Wal-Mart than anywhere else.
Try to only got to the store once a week and when you get a great deal, buy as many items as you can afford and that you have room to store. Don't pile up your house with canned goods. I think that's silly. Also, you may have heard of those people that sit around all day and 'sweep'. They enter contests and hope to win. That is such a waste of time. Please just get your coupons and maybe a free product here and move on.
Time is money and you should spend it on your most valuable asset...your family.
Getting back to basics
This should go without saying but I am going to say it. Stop buying things that you do not need! Needs are different than wants. My 8 year old understands this concept so why do adults have such a hard time with it?
1. You do not need to buy lunch everyday...brown bag it!
2. You do not need to but self help books...there are so many great FREE things on the internet...like my page for instance : )
3. You do not need to go see the newest romantic comedy out in theaters...wait and rent it. Better yet, there are these new portable dvd rental machines at my local Kroger and Wal-Mart. They are $1 a day. You can't beat that.
4. Think about other things...do you need the $300 cell phone or would you die without the mobile internet version?
5. Buying generic is ok! I have my vices too but I find ways to save on the name brand too. I am addicted to Diet Dr Pepper but I only but 2 liters because the price of a 12 pack is kind of ridiculous.
6. Do not buy a new car. If you are going to no matter what I say, then at least go in and ask to see a program car. They are less than 1 year old with almost no miles and you can save thousands. I recommend paying cash for a car. Its not going to be a great car but think of this. If you think you can afford $200 a month in a car payment, then buy a $1000 car with cash now and put the $200 in a savings account for one year. You will then have $2400 by the end of the year. You can then decide to trade in the cheap car or sell it and take all your cash and pay for another car...that's $3400! My husband an I bought a 2000 Accord for $2700 last month and it is great! You can find the deals if you look. If you cave another year , you can have another $2400 for a total of $5800. Another year later you have $8200, then at the end of 5 years, you have $13000 cash for a car. I think that going a year or two with a junker is worth the effort you put into getting a great car with no payment.
7. Always, always pay yourself. You make the money so you should keep some of it. If you say you cannot afford to, then you are living above your means and you need to find a way to cut back. I think karma exists and if you gave a little, it will come back to you threefold. So the next thing you should do is give. I'm not going to say the customary 10% but I am just going to say give; give what you can and do it graciously. Give to your church, your favorite charity, or even a needy family member. You will feel great about it and not once have I ever regretted giving money to any charity.
8. Never go to the grocery store hungry. You will buy junk that you don't need every time.
9. Make a budget! They are no fun and I hate them but they are necessary for you to see what you actually spend every month! If you don't have money left over for things like car repairs of even co-pays for the doctor, then you need to cut out extras now before those unexpecteds come up. It is better to prevent now than to have to recover later.