10 Easy Ways to Save Money During the School Year

Raising a family isn't cheap! So while you can't put a price tag on the joy and love that kids bring into our lives, Mighty Mommy shares 10 easy ways families can start saving money today.

Cheryl Butler
Episode #293

Tip #6: Stalk Online Sales

Sign-up to receive emails from your favorite online websites. I shop the sales at Old Navy, Target, and Kohl's all year long. There are many stores, such as Kohl's, who offer in store "bucks," which can be used like cash to save you lots on an annual basis.

Another wonderful on-line site that I regularly use is Zulily.com. The great deals you find at Zulily are limited-time offers; new offers launch every day, and most last 72 hours. And when you sign up for free, you receive daily emails with previews of upcoming merchandise. I found this a great way to save money on back-to-school clothing for my kids this year. Ca-ching!

Tip #7: Visit the Library Regularly 

The library isn’t just a place to get books--it’s also a free place to do all sorts of things. You can learn foreign languages, use the internet anonymously, check-out movies and DVDs, get free or discounted museum passes, read the local paper for free, and keep up on community events. And if you don’t have any late fees, it won’t cost you a cent! Ca-ching!

Tip #8: Credit Card Tips

 Call your credit card company and ask for a rate reduction. Take any of your credit cards that are carrying a balance, flip them over, and call the number on the back. Tell them that you want an interest rate reduction, or you’ll take your business elsewhere. If the first person you talk to won’t do it, ask to talk to a supervisor. If you have a $5,000 balance, even a 3 percent rate reduction saves you $150 a year. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts.   It’s easy to spend online when you have your card information stored in an account – just click and buy. The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account. That way, when you’re tempted to spend, you’ll be forced to spend the time to look for your card-- and this will give you time to stop and think about the purchase, before you do anything on impulse. Ca-ching!

 Tip # 9: Car Maintenance Saves Money

With all the driving parents do to shuttle their kids to their many activities, keeping up on some basic car maintenance can definitely be well-worth your while. In addition to regular oil changes, clean your car’s air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 7 percent, saving you more than $100 for every 10,000 miles you drive in an average vehicle. And believe it or not, cleaning your air filter is easier than you might think—just follow the instructions in your automobile’s manual.

Pump up those tires. Did you know that for every two PSI (pounds per square inch) that your tires are below the recommended level, you lose 1 percent on your gas mileage? Most car tires are five to ten PSI below the normal level, so that means that by just airing up your tires, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 5 percent. Ca-ching!

Tip #10: Banking, Cable, and Service Plans

Utilize online bill pay with your bank. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps you in much closer contact with your money, as you can keep a very close eye on your balance, and be in much less danger of over-drafting. Second, it saves you money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to just fill in an online form, click submit, and have your bill paid.

Improve your credit score. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest on everything from a home loan andcar loan to school loans and credit cards. If you’ve never focused on your credit score before, the place to start is to get your FICO score.  Once you know where you stand, you can begin to improve your score and lower your interest payments.

Get a rewards card. There are many reward cards that pay out in cash, or points that can be redeemed for travel or products. Many of these cards don’t have an annual fee.

Cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Many people with cable services are often paying for a premium package, but rarely watch those extra channels. If you aren’t watching HBO, etc. all the time, it might be more feasible to rent a movie--and put the cash back into your own pocket.

Get rid of or pass on extended warranties.  A $125 two-year extension plan on a $300 product just isn’t worth it.  Ca-ching!

For more money savng tips visit my colleague, Money Girl.

Do you have a money saving tip that has been helpful to your family?  Share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Photos of coupons, family with piggy bank, and savings crossword courtesy of Shutterstock.>



About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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