There are many big and small ways to save money. Here are some money saving tips for families for these tough economic times and beyond:
1. If you use credit cards, switch to cards that pay you back – either cash dividends, miles, gas, or goods that you can actually use.
2. Cut your kid’s hair yourself – you can pick up an easy “how to” book at your local library. This money saving tip has the added bonus of flexibility and convenience – you can do it whenever you feel like it.
3. And speaking of the library – you can spend a lot of money on kids books without even realizing it. You see a book your kid really likes and it’s only $5.99 and before you know it you’re out $50. Most likely your kid will read it once or twice and get bored with it. Solution: get a library card and visit your local library on a regular basis. Many libraries also have Story Time and other fun activities for kids of all ages that will have your kids looking forward to the weekly visit.
4. You can save huge money by coloring your own hair or doing your own highlights. You can save about $50 for each color ( x 6 times a year = $300) and about $100 for highlights ( x 4 times a year = $400). It’s really easy to do once you get the hang of it. You can find kits with instructions at your local beauty supply store.
5. Take with you snacks and drinks for the kids on family outings (unless you go to a place that specifically prohibits outside food and beverages). Bring a bottle of water with you and fill it at the water fountain. Not only will you be saving money, but also time standing in long lines and ending up buying junk food and caffeinated sugary drinks you had no intention of buying in the first place.
6. Bake your own muffins, brownies and cakes (from a ready mix) – as a single mom with a full time job I always have to weigh cost savings vs. time savings. To me, If I have to slave over an elaborate cake for a few hours in the kitchen it’s not worth the money savings. But if I buy a ready mix and have a dozen cup cakes ready in minuets and save some money in the process, I’d give it a thumbs up. Better yet – let the kids do the mixing, and you’ve got another fun activity to add to your list.
7. Buy generic: prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, cleaning supplies, groceries, ink cartridges, and anything else you can find.
8. Let your kids wash your car – what kid would say ‘no’ to such a fun activity?
9. Instead of buying 3 extra large Pepperoni Pizzas for $60 for your kid’s birthday party, make little cute sandwiches with Turkey & Cheese and PB & J. Everybody will love them.
10. Cancel your gym membership and ride your bike with your kids.
11. Some people swear by the savings they get by switching from paper napkins to clothe napkins, but I’m not a big fan. You’d still have to spend money, energy and effort on washing, drying, folding and putting them away. Paper towels are just so easy that it’s hard for me to make a case for cloth napkins, but if you like the idea – go for it!
12. Same goes for making your own play doh – some mothers just love making it themselves and love the money savings, but for me it’s just too much work and not enough savings. But again, if you like the idea – go for it!
13. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they are full. Another oldie but goodie.
14. Switch your Premium Cable package to Basic package and get Netflix instead.
15. You can find and print free eCards on the Internet for all holidays and any kind of occasion. You can also have your kids make their own cards for Valentine’s Day, their buddies birthday parties, and holidays. Those Hallmark cards are SO expensive!
To find more tips, birthday clubs, coupons and discounts, please visit the “Cool Parents Resources” section of our “Cool Kids Places” website: http://www.cool-kids-places.com/parents-resources/articles/money-saving-tips-for-families.html.