Trim the family expenses and save money with these mom-approved tips!
More than 13 percent of annual expenditures goes to food – 7.5 percent for groceries and the rest for dining out.
"Skip the fast food," advises mom Katina Bush. "Cooking at home is healthier and cheaper." Bush plans meals, checks weekly flyers and clips coupons before hitting the grocery store. Don't underestimate the value of coupons – they add up quickly; think of them as cash.
Joanna Dolgoff, M.D., is a child obesity specialist and author of Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right. Dolgoff makes three shopping lists to make sure she stays within her budget: 1) Buy what you need immediately, 2) consider what you'll need soon, but only if it's on sale, and 3) walk away from items on your don't-need list.
Save going out for special occasions. Bush belongs to restaurant clubs that offer a free meal on birthdays. Renea Chiovaro, a blogger for money-saving website Madame Deals, suggests signing up for e-mails from favorite restaurants. "Many send out weekly or monthly coupons."
Average families spend $2,835 on recreation easy to do when a trip to the movies for a family of four costs as much as $80!
Mom Michelle Morton enjoys the movie experience but opts for movie rental sites, like Netflix and Redbox, instead of theaters. She rents a movie for $1, buys movie-style candy and microwave popcorn, and still spends less than the cost of one movie ticket. "We have more fun by hanging out in our pjs in our own living room," says Morton.
It's easy to reduce the $1,800/year an average family spends on clothes.
Kristen Hagopian, author of Brilliant Frugal Living, buys only high-quality clothing for her active children. "They are always on their knees, sliding, dancing and climbing," says Hagopian. "Lesser-made clothing is quickly destroyed and a waste of money."
Hagopian uses Craigslist.com to outfit her fashionistas. "Last year, I spent less than $50 total for one year's worth of clothing for two kids," she boasts. "My kids are dressed like royalty – for 90% off."
Considering the cost of gas, it's no wonder Americans spend $8,604/year to get from here to there.
Instead of jumping in the car to go to the post office or pick up a gallon of milk, "save money by combining errands," advises Sarah Cook, founder of RaisingCEOKids.com. When you pick up your kid at school or lessons, use that trip to run other errands as well.
And share the ride. "We carpool for nearly all the kids' activities," says Cook. Utilize fuel efficiently by taking the shortest route and obeying traffic rules. Aggressive driving guzzles up to 33 percent more gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
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