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.
Kim Danger, family savings expert for Coupons.com, 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 Coupons.com. 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