How Parents Can Save Some Money
Times are tough right now especially for parents. It can be hard to know how to cover things like constantly increasing energy bills and the high cost of fuel. It can be easy to become discouraged and think there is no way I can save money right now, however there are a few changes you can make in your everyday life that will make a huge difference.
Ways To Save Money
One of the easiest things you can do to save money is to revise your grocery shopping. It has gotten more expensive than ever to buy everyday things so a person must be extra conscious of what things cost. To trim some fat off the grocery budget follow some of the tips below:
1) Make a 7-day menu before you go shopping. This will keep the weeks purchases on task for supplying your needs.
2) Use the competition matching offered by your local Wal-mart, they guarantee the lowest price and will honor any competitor ad within a specified mile range. Check with your local store for details.
3) Only use coupons on things you would by anyway, this may sound like a no brainer but the number of people who will buy a more expensive item than normal just because they have a coupon would surprise you.
4) Consolidate errands so that they can all be done on one or two days instead of three to five. This will save on fuel costs as well as streamline your schedule.
5) Cut back money spent at convenience stores and star bucks. It is much cheaper to make coffee at home and buy Coke and gum at the grocery store. You would be amazed how much money you actually spend on these items.
These are just a few tips that will save you big money on everyday items. The key is to put aside the money you have saved with these changes. Spending the savings on a new outfit is fine if that is what you were saving for, however the better idea would be to put the money into a savings account for emergencies.
Small Inexpensive Things To Do
We all want to spend time with our children doing fun things that make them smile. The problem is most activities geared toward children are not cheap. Even going to the movies can quickly shoot through fifty dollars for a family of four. Instead, take your kids back in time with a visit to a drive-in theater! This blast from the past is much cheaper than conventional theaters and the best part is you can bring your own food and drink! If you do not have a drive-in close by, make it a redbox movie night. Redboxes are cropping up all over the nation and allow you to rent a movie for one night for a $1. Where else can you get that kind of deal? As an added bonus, you can look up and reserve a movie from home then go to the location at your convenience, swipe your bankcard and receive your movie. Now take the other forty dollars you would have spent and you guessed it, put it in savings too.
Children want all the latest gizmos and gadgets and as loving parents, we want to give them. Nevertheless, video games and toys have become so technologically advanced that they can be extremely expensive. So what is a parent to do? A lot depends on the age of your child, younger kids will be much more easily convinced that a trip to the library is just as good as buying the latest kids book, plus they will enjoy your time together. If you live in a rural area where fishing abounds this can be a relatively inexpensive activity you can do with your children. Many states have free days where licenses are not required while fishing with children. When you take the time to look around many activities you can do together are relatively inexpensive. Moreover, if they just have to have video games check out resell shops and eBay, the cost should be a fraction of the new price and have a short-term guarantee, and again put the difference in savings.
Discussing Things With Teens
Be honest with your kids without worrying them; with older children make this a time for teaching them about responsible spending. When they want, cell phones and gadgets show them the cost and perhaps allow them to work part time to pay for them. When my children started working and it was their money they had to spend on frivolous things attitudes changed quickly.
Teenagers will not admit to wanting to spend time with you but they do find activities you both enjoy that do not cost large amounts of money. Do you have a tent stuck in the attic? Break it out and spend some time camping, sites are generally inexpensive and lakes are a great place to have fun and get some exercise at the same time.
Young children are much easier to please with cheaper alternatives. Instead of the latest Spiderman toy grab an inexpensive kite and go to the park. It can be wonderful fun showing a young child how a kite works and watching their eyes light up when theirs is flying high! The park is also a fun cheap activity to do with young children. Most cities and towns have free access parks with play equipment.
We can all find ways to save money even in tough times. It may be more of a struggle now than a few years ago but it is an achievable goal. Use your time wisely and be creative you can throw a super birthday party with items found at the dollar store, it is all going in the garbage anyway so why spend a fortune on Barbie plates? The most important aspect of all this is to approach it in a way that does not scare or worry your children. Make saving money a challenge or game with them, and who knows you could start a lifelong habit in them that will change their entire life.
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Published - January 2009