Cut Your
Living Costs

Looking to cut corners and save a few coins? You're not alone. After all, it's part of our culture to spend, spend, spend and who can argue against living in the moment? Well, here's the good news about trimming the fat: you can still enjoy the here and now without spending a fortune.

Bulk Shopping Kim Danger, family savings expert for, says cutting living costs isn't only feasible, it can actually enhance your quality of life.  "Too many people think of frugality as deprivation, when there are ways to save without feeling the pinch. You don't need to have a lot of time on your hands. You simply need to be a little resourceful. Exercising money-saving skills such as resourcefulness and creativity can help you in other areas of your life as well. Once honed, these skills will help you survive and even thrive during an economic recession -- and you'll want to continue them when times aren't so tight."


1. Add more time between haircuts. If your kids have haircuts every two weeks, if you spread it out to 3 weeks they'll each go about 17 times each year instead of 26 times each year.


2. Wash your car at home. If you spend $15 to have your car washed once a month, you're saving $185 each year. Plus, think of the family together time for this fun chore!


3. Buy in bulk. Of course only buy what you need but let's face it, you'll always need laundry detergent.


4. Avoid spur of the moment java fixes. Yes, that means driving directly past Starbucks, do not pass go, do not collect $200.


5. Eat breakfast at home. If you grab breaky on your way to the office you'll probably spend at least $5 each day. It's probably healthier as well to eat at home instead of on the road.


6. Bring clothing less frequently to the dry cleaners.  Even if you save $10 each week that equates to $520 each year.


7. Carpool! Now that's certainly one way to save at the gas tank.


8. Combine your family's cell phone plans. If each person has a different plan, why not combine them for reduced savings?


9. Buy generic brands. Do you really need the spiffy label of shampoo? 


10. Go to the library to borrow a DVD instead of using NetFlix.


11. If you go to the local movie theater, catch a matinee at a reduced price instead of the higher cost at prime time.


12. Enjoy nature. Go for a walk, ride a bike or spend time in a park instead of going to the mall where you'll likely spend money.


13. Use online banking to save money on postage stamps. Even they add up!


14. Go to bakeries after specific times of the day, usually 4 pm when their prices of their goodies are slashed.


15. If you live in a city, take mass transportation instead of taking a taxi.


16. If you enjoy going to museums, find out when their pay-as-you wish nights are held.


17. Go green – for instance, instead of constantly buying disposable paper towels, go with cloth instead. You'll be saving coins and the environment.


18. Take yourself off e-mail lists from stores to reduce temptations when they alert you about their blowout sales.


19. Plan meals for the entire week or even two weeks before you go shopping.


20. Go online for coupons at sites like You can sort by coupon type and just print out the coupons you want.


21. Make homemade cards and gifts instead of purchasing them.


22. Avoid over-scheduling your kids and institute a family game night instead.


23. Caulk windows and doors to seal leaks and lower heating/cooling costs.


24    Install a programmable thermostat so temperature settings can be set to your family's schedule. (If everyone is out of the house between 9 am and 4 pm, set the thermostat accordingly).


25. Barter and negotiate. Prices aren't always set in stone so it's important to either negotiate your way to a better price or barter in exchange for goods and services.


Don't miss the rest of the Mom in Charge series:

Mom in charge: Part I, 6 Ways to take control of your family's expenses
Mom in charge: Part II, 5 Things you must know to survive a recession
Mom in charge: Part III, 10 Tips from the experts on spending & saving
Mom in charge: Part V, The 5 rules of saving: When, where & how
Mom in charge: Part VI, 12 Ways to teach your kids how to save

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Comments on "25 Ways to cut living costs: Mom in charge: Part IV"

Sharon January 26, 2014 | 5:27 PM

#10 only works if you don't end up paying overdue fees. Also, if you have to drive to the library, the cost of gas would probably cancel out the cost of renting the video. #17 I prefer to recycle the paper towels. Using them once and disposing of them is far preferable to spreading germs around using cloths. You have to rinse with hot water and wash them out so frequently you've lost your green effect and cost savings in laundry costs. #21 Better yet, shop sales and thrift stores. Homemade is not always cheapest if you have to buy a lot of things to make them. And if it ends us just looking like cheap homemade crap, nobody is going to really want them.

Mike August 03, 2013 | 3:33 PM

Why is coffee on the way to work top of every money saving list? I don't drive to work and have never bought coffee in a shop in my entire life.

Sarah June 03, 2013 | 8:10 PM

Who gets their haircut every 2 weeks anyway? Maybe an old lady with nothing better to do.

Cathi March 16, 2013 | 3:52 PM

Gosh, If I could just cut starbucks out of my diet I would have sooooooo much more money its ridiculous!!

Lauren January 02, 2013 | 5:18 PM

Cut out the morning coffee!! I agree, you usually spend about $5 just on breakfast before work...that's about $1800 per year if you do that every day! Yikes!

Katie January 02, 2013 | 5:17 PM

It's actually pretty easy to cut costs if you really think about it. These tips are great, thanks! We eat at home much more often now and save so much money.

Raechel August 30, 2012 | 9:25 AM

These are all great ideas! Can't wait to put some of these into effect and saving some money!

Mike August 29, 2012 | 11:45 AM

Most of these thing I don't do so not much use to me.

Maria August 22, 2012 | 2:47 PM

These are fantastic ways to save money. The nice thing is that these are all things that will not make you feel like you are depriving yourself.

Jordan May 28, 2012 | 9:03 PM

This is exactly what my family and I have been doing within this last year! Now we all pack our own lunches for school/work instead of paying $5-$10 a day on hot meals. We rarely go to the dry cleaners unless for parties or business attire events. My parents also carpool to work with other coworkers each morning which has saved us on gas money tremendously! We have also cut out gym memberships and now run outside or use indoor exercise equipment we have purchased at a discounted price. I have also tried getting my haircut only twice a month. Since my hair isn't as high maintenance, I am able to splurge a bit if I choose to color my hair on one of the two visits etc. We also almost always use the generic brand of the grocery store we go to. In the end, it really doesn't matter about what brand of shampoo you use or the brand of creamer is in your fridge. We never go out to get coffee on the way to school anymore as we have stocked up on closed mugs to carry our coffee to school or work each morning. I know there's also certain days of the week where there are more discounted sales/prices at the grocery store where you can get everything you need at a much cheaper price! Especially with the economy these days, every penny counts.

sue March 16, 2009 | 5:17 PM

Thanks need all the help we can get. My husband at 62 was caught in a down sizeing and since I had to have 3 major surgeries

Ella November 05, 2008 | 7:09 AM

So many of these are easy things that we can do in our everyday lives -really helpful!

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