Some may call it "cheap", but I think that saving money and trying to stretch a dollar is smart and instead of cheap, I like to call it being "frugal", and in my world, being frugal is being fabulous!!!
Here are some of the ways I try and save money and/or stretch a dollar:
- Use coupons on everything you can! I use the coupons from the weekend paper, but I also email our favorite products/brands that we use at home and most of the time, they will send me great coupons - sometimes for free products!!
- Stop at yard sales. What someone else is getting rid of just might be that something you need. You never know what you might find at a yard sale!
- Rent Movies. Going to the movies for a family a four can cost close to $50! We wait to see the movies when they come out to rent. We get in our PJ's and make our own snacks and watch it in the comfort of our home. Movie nights are a great way to spend with your family.
- Eat in!!! It is nice to go out for dinner, but you can make the same meals at home for a fraction of the price! Make it fun for the entire family. Play restaurant! Have your kids make menus. They can be the "servers" at your table. They can help you plan, prepare and cook the meal. And, when you eat at home, you can afford to have a cocktail and dessert and still come out ahead of what you would have paid at a restaurant!
- Buy ahead! After every season, plan ahead and buy your child's clothes/shoes for the following year. This can be hard for some kids, but usually, the rule of thumb is to buy one size bigger than what they are in now.
- Clearance aisles!!!!!!! In every store I go into, I know where they put their clearance merchandise and I check them out every time I am there. Get to know when your favorite stores put things on clearance. After every holiday, I am at the stores buying for the following year. This has saved me tons of money on gifts for family, friends, teachers and birthday parties. After school starts and supplies go on clearance, I go and get the supplies that are the list for the grade my kids will be in the following year.
- Stretch your pizza! We often get pizza from a local pizza chain. They cut their slices so big that as soon as I get the pizza home, I cut the slices thinner which doubles the number of slices in the box!
- Maintain your car! My husband has a 1997 Honda that he always maintains and it is still getting him to and from work (2 hours of driving a day).....knock on wood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Save, Save, Save!!! I think it is important to make it a habit to save. Have your bank take money out every two weeks and put it into an account for you. If you don't see it and don't know it is there, you won't miss it and can't spend it.
- Don't try and keep up with the Jones'. You will always have people in your life that have the newest cars, the bigger home, the latest fashion. Who cares? Who wants those monthly bills anyway? You need to stay focused with where you want to be financially and be content with what you have.
- Financial Goals. I think it is important for couples to have a serious talk about finances. I think couples need to have the same attitude when it comes to financial goals, spending and saving. Figure out where you want to be in five years, ten years, etc. Do you want to build up your savings, pay off your mortgage, pay off the car, travel more? Finding out these answers sets the tone for what you need to do financially.
- Think, think, think! If you want to buy something, think about it for 24 hours. After that, ask yourself if you still want it. Do you really need it? This is a great thing to do with your kids as well. When they are in a store and say they want something, tell them to wait 24 hours and gaurenteed, they will forget about it before night's end.
- Swapping is the new shopping! Host a "Swapping Party" with your friends! Swap anything from children's clothes to your own clothes, from magazines to jewelry, home decor to holiday decor. Who wouldn't love a night out "shopping" with the girls and getting some great stuff without spending a dime!!!
- Have a yard sale! Get rid of things that you aren't using and in the process, make some extra cash! We do this every year and the extra cash has come in handy for our summer vacations!
These are just some of the things that I do. I hope you find some of these tips helpful!