10 Easy Ways for Families to Save Money
Mighty Mommy is always on the look out for ways to save money. Here are ten tips that have put more cash back into her family's bank account.
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As the mom of eight kids, several who are in college, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have my eyes open to finding a new or better way to save some cash. With 11 more months to go in 2016, now is a great time to focus on money saving tips that will put a few (or hopefully more!) bucks in your family’s pocket this year.
Tip #1: Save Without Using Coupons
I’ll openly admit that my history with using coupons, even with a large family like mine, is not consistent. When I get inspired and am having an extremely organized phase, I’m all over coupons like flies to a dumpster. When life is moving along at my usual hectic pace, however, coupons are not usually on my radar. That’s why I love taking advantage of two other amazing sources of saving on everything from groceries to electronics and vacations—Ibotta and Groupon.
Ibotta is a new Android and iPhone app that allows you to earn money by purchasing participating items. You can earn this money in addition to using manufacturer and store coupons. And the best part: You don't even need your phone while you are shopping! All the work is done once you get home. Visit their website to learn more. You can either submit receipts or link to a loyalty account. I’ve been using Ibotta for a few months now and I literally feel like I’m getting paid to go shopping. It’s a no brainer for busy families.
Groupon is a deal-of-the-day recommendation service for consumers. Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service. My family has saved more than half off of weekend getaways and some of our larger electronic purchases. If you sign up you can get daily e-mails daily about great local deals.
Tip #2: Turn it Off
Growing up as the oldest of five siblings, both parents being school teachers, we were fortunate to have teachers at our disposal all throughout our school years for help with homework, extracurricular projects, and everything else in between. One lesson that all of us learned, however, wasn’t about our ABC’s or how to multiply fractions it was to never leave a room without turning off the lights! To this day I am fastidious about not walking out of the room without flipping that switch from on to off. I’ve tried to pass this along to my kids as well because believe it or not, when we get into the habit of simply turning off the lights when we exit a room, we can potentially save hundreds of dollars a year. See Also: How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill
Tip #3: Order Water When Dining Out and Forget the Dessert
You can imagine what a meal out costs for a family of 10—let’s just say it ain't cheap. We knew when we had a big family that we were going to have to cut corners to make it all work financially, so we learned early on where we could save but still get out and enjoy life. Eating out at a decent restaurant (we’re not talking pizza and burgers!) a couple times a month is something we have done regularly for the past 20 years and two ways we have cut the bill significantly is by not ordering drinks except for water (we have cocktails when we get home!) and we forget the dessert. This makes it affordable and it’s still a great night out. Another tip is to order an assortment of appetizers instead of entrees, especially if you have fussy eaters—gives a variety and no one is stuck with a meal they really aren’t crazy about.
Tip #4: Purchasing Clothing and Shoes for Family
There’s no question that clothing can eat up a large chunk of a family’s budget, especially when you consider the cost of a single pair of kid’s sneakers these days. If you are savvy, however, and invest a little bit of time in strategizing your family’s clothing needs, you can save hundreds of dollars every year. There’s the obvious choices such as thrift and second hand stores but there are other tricks to saving money on apparel and gear such as when you shop. The best clothing sales are typically in February and August so if you can estimate your child’s size six months ahead, you can score some great deals. ShopItToMe.com is a San Francisco company that analyzes more than 750,000 sales items a year from more than 200 online retailers. By running averages, the company found the following interesting patterns:
■ Mondays: Shoppers can save nearly 50% on men’s and women’s dress pants, and about 55% on sunglasses
■ Tuesdays: Expect to save more than 40% on men’s apparel
■ Wednesdays: Shoppers save about 40% on shoes and children’s clothes
ShopItToMe.com is free, and has daily deals on some from some of my favorite stores like Nordstrom and J.Crew.