We are officially in the 4th week of 2013, so how are those New Year’s resolutions working out? Have you stuck to your diet, exercise routine, or stopped those habits you said good bye to in 2012? If one of your New Year resolutions was to help your family save a bit more this year, then the good news is that I have 5 simple tips to help you stay on track. Don’t worry, unlike that new fitness equipment, this won’t hurt!
1. Don’t buy something that you can make yourself. Household cleaners, personal care products (body scrubs, lotions, etc), baby food, as well as many other household items are easy to make, and cost a lot less than the packaged items from stores. For example, vinegar is an effective household cleaner because it kills most molds, bacteria, and germs. Plus this non-toxic cleaner only costs a few dollars.
2. Be a savvy spender by using coupons. Each week you can find hundreds of coupons in newspapers, magazines, or online to help you save at the store. Pair those coupons with a sale and you’ll see a 50% savings on your grocery bill immediately. Don’t like to cut coupons? No problem with new eCoupons, which can be loaded directly to your shopper’s card. My personal favorite is the new Just 4 U program from Safeway, which gives you eCoupons and personal deals based on your shopping history.
3. Use Daily Deal sites to pay less on restaurants, spas, salon services, tickets, and much more. The deals vary each day, but once you buy it, you will have anywhere from a few weeks to several months to use it. The discounts can from 50%- 90% and allow you to indulge in some fun “extras”. My personal favorite is Groupon Now, which gives you deals that available at this very minute (for several hours). Plus, it is a great way to find some new businesses around you.
1. Open an automatic savings account. If you already have one, what about your kids? You can set up an account for each of your children and encourage them to put money from chores or birthdays in the account to watch it grow. It is a great learning tool and encourages responsibility.
2. Pack lunches. I know this one sounds so simple, but you’ll find that it not only helps you save, but it can help your family eat healthier, too. This is a good option for the kids, but also for parents because eating out each day can really add up! For example, a foot long sub sandwich and drink can cost approximately $7. When you multiply that by 20 work days, you end up spending $120 a month, or $1440 a year. Just think about having that as extra savings at the end of the year!
3. Sign up for Upromise and start saving money on your every day purchases. This is such a great program for those of us with kids. Upromise can help you save for college by doing things you are already doing: shopping, eating out, buying tickets, or filling your gas tank. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, and link up your grocery cards, CVS card, and/or credit card. Once you do this, you can start getting money into your account when you purchase participating items or at participating locations.
Bottom line – it isn’t hard to spend less and ultimately save more this year. Have fun, make it a family event, and enjoy your savings! (See isn’t that easier than Jillian Micheal’s yelling at you?)