Want to save money? Check out these tips!

We are all looking to save money and stretch our family budget. All You Magazine (October 19, 2012 issue) shared 5 surprising ways to live on less. These ideas are “outside-the-box” strategies. Please let us know if you try any of these!

1. Freeze your funds. Put the brakes on unnecessary spending. The key to success? Have clear rules to keep you on track until you reach your financial goal.
You can make it work with these steps:
a) Track your spending – review your most recent credit card statements and checking account activity. www.mint.com is a great tool. On a sheet of paper, create two columns – Needs and Wants. Needs are essentials such as gas and utilities. Wants – the extras, the new shoes, toys, etc.
b) Schedule an end date. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel makes following a financial diet easier. Start by scrimping for a weekend, then a full week.
c) Enlist support. Pair up with a friend and encourage each other. ask friends to refrain from inviting you to pricey outings.
d) Increase the fun factor. Think like a child – come up with fun, free family activities.
GREAT websites that can SAVE you money!
Food – www.myfridge.com You can prepare meals based on what you already have in your cupboards.
Transportation – www.erideshare.com Sign up for a carpool near you and save money on gas.
Home Repair – www.sharesomesugar.com Sign up to borrow tools from people nearby.
Child Care – www.babysitterexchange.com Trade babysitting with other parents by starting a sharing group.

2. Give your trash a second life. Don’t let your money go down the drain or in the trash can.
You can make it work with these steps:
a) Don’t toss vegetable scraps from cooking. Save them in a covered container in the fridge and use them to make soup stock.
b) Sell old electronics. www.buymytronics.com can help you sell old and even broken electronics.
c) Old kids clothing – recycle it by doing a free clothing swap. www.thredup.com

3. Shop and Cook once a month (to feed the family for the entire month). On average, consumers buy 60% more than they planned every time they shop for groceries.
You can make it work with these steps:
a) Plan your meals. Sit down with store circulars and plan your family’s meal calendar based on what items are on sale.
b) Take inventory. Prevent duplicate purchases by knowing what you have in the cupboards.
c) Schedule a cooking day. Designate a Saturday or Sunday to cook all your meals. Recruit help from your spouse or kids.
d) Store smartly. Make meals easy to identify by putting them in transparent containers or freezer bags. Make sure to label the front side.

4. Rent out your stuff. You could earn bonus cash with the stuff you aren’t using.
You can make it work with these steps:
a) Rent out your extra car at www.relayrides.com
b) You can rent out a parking space at your house www.parkatmyhouse.com
c) Have extra storage space? www.sharemystorage.com
d) Have tools or other small goods? Cameras? Tennis rackets? www.us.zilok.com
e) Have skills that people need? Rent out your talent. www.taskrabbit.com

5. Spend like your grandparents. It is no surprise that credit cards can cost you. The habit of swiping plastic can lead to impulse purchases and mindless spending. Take a tip from an older generation and stick to cash.
You can make it work with these steps:
a) Create a list. Write down all of your expenses. Which ones can you pay with cash? Create a designated envelope for each expense.
b) Dole out the cash. Withdraw the money you need for each expense (in a no cost ATM) and put the cash in each designated envelope. You can only spend that money on the designated expense (and nothing else).
c) Track other bills. There will be expenses that you can’t pay in cash – like your mortgage and credit card bill. Keep a visual reminder of these expenses by your cash envelopes.

Try one of these tips and start saving money today! Good luck!



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