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10 Tips for living within your means

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Simple ways to save

Are your expenses getting out of control? If so, it's time to create a budget and rein in your spending. It's not as hard as you might think. Here are 10 tips to help you trim the fat and live within your means.

woman shopping with coupons

Use the library

A library card is a huge opportunity to save big. Instead of buying books and renting movies, check them out at the library.

Use coupons

There's a reason coupon websites and daily emails are flourishing. With a little preparation, you can slash your grocery bill and find amazing deals on clothing, makeup, travel and entertainment. Follow your favorite restaurants and stores on Twitter and Facebook for private deals.

Hone your DIY skills

The next time you see something fabulous that you simply must have, ask yourself if you might be able to make it for less. Try your hand at some home decor DIY projects, and you might surprise yourself at the hidden talents you never knew you had.

Stop the impulse buying

The next time you're about to put something in your cart because it's adorable, it's your favorite color, it's marked down to half-price or your kid says, "Mommy, pleeeeaase," be strong and put it back. Mull it over for a while, and if you still want it next month and it's within your budget, go for it.

Make your own coffee

You've probably heard this money-saving tip a hundred times, but when the new fall flavors come out, it's easy to fall back into the habit of stopping by the coffee shop for a caffeine boost. The savings from brewing your own coffee add up, so save the fancy coffee drinks for special occasions.

Swap babysitting nights

If you want to enjoy a night out without the kids from time to time but don't want to shell out the big bucks for a babysitter, consider a babysitting swap. Choose friends with kids the same age as your own, and pick one night a week to alternate babysitting duties.

Don't pay retail

Paying full retail price is so 2010. If you're wondering where all your friends are scoring their designer outfits and handbags, know that they're probably getting them at a consignment store or discount retailer.

Eat in

Eating out or picking up dinner is convenient and delicious, it's true. However, it's also a major money drain. Create a meal plan for the week, getting all your shopping and prep work done on the weekend. With a little advance planning, you can get healthy and tasty meals on the table and save big.

Enjoy family time at home

When the weekend rolls around, it's easy to feel pressured to take the kids out for breakfast, to a movie or to another pricey outing. Try enjoying some family bonding at home instead. Have a lazy morning making breakfast together, playing a board game or curling up on the couch with popcorn and a movie.

Refinance your home

Take advantage of low rates and refinance your home. Slashing your mortgage payments is a painless way to take a huge step toward living within your means.

More on family finances

Tips for setting a family budget
How to start an education fund for your kids
Top 10 fun piggy banks for kids

Please note: Articles and other information included on this website are intended for the general interest of our readers, and are not intended to provide, and do not constitute, legal, financial, health or other advice. Gerber Life makes no claims, representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or appropriateness of this general interest information for your particular circumstances. If you need legal, financial, health or other services, you should contact a duly licensed professional.

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