Money Saving Tips For Families and Households
Whether your brood consists of two or 20, chances are you’ve wanted to find ways to shave the monthly bills. In this day and age, saving money can seem as elusive as finding a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow. Adding a family into the mix only amplifies the challenges. Here, we’ve broken down some common expenses that households incur and made suggestions about ways you can reduce the cost.
Though it isn’t the most revolutionary concept, people are beginning to take note of the environmental and financial benefits of sharing, reusing and making purchases secondhand. While you may be familiar with Craigslist’s marketplace for jobs and housing, notice that it also has a thriving barter system where you can exchange items and services with others, as well as an area devoted to people giving away items for free. Additionally, there are a slew of other sites committed exclusively to giving and swapping materials. Consider Swap.com, BuyNothing.com and FreeCycle.org. You may want to organize a neighborhood exchange or swap between friends as well.
Sure, you may look at the little boxes of dental floss and think of your teeth, yet there are so many ways that it can be used that repurposing it may save you money. Use it to cut cake, sew buttons, remove cookies from a baking sheet and hang pictures on the wall. You can even replace shoelaces with it or fly a kite. The same can be said about many ordinary items. Think of baking soda — household cleaner, teeth whitener, refrigerator freshener.
Make your own personal care products
There are hundreds of recipes online to concoct your own care products. Craft a dry shampoo with cornstarch and your choice of essential oil, or your own moisturizer using Vitamin E oil, lavender oil and coconut oil.
Provide a makeover to the fridge
Much of our food goes to waste simply because it becomes forgotten. Organize your refrigerator to ensure that things like lettuce and yogurt don’t get pushed to the back and forgotten. Perishables should be placed in a clearly visible place up front so they don’t become out of sight, out of mind.
Monitor daily deals from sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com well in advance of your trip. Enter the zip code of where you’ll be staying and be privy to a ton of great deals. The benefits are twofold: You get steep discounts and you learn about the attractions for where you’re going. Similarly, stock up on Restaurant.com certificates, which allow you to dine at many restaurants for 90 percent off.
There are a number of free apps available that help you scope out the best deals. For one-off discounts, try apps like Scoutmob and Foursquare. Many apps provide ongoing discounts as well. For instance, Happy Hour Finder lists all of the happy hours in any given radius, and identifies what day, time and deal is available.
There aren’t any promises of the romance portrayed in the movie “The Holiday” but a home exchange can make for an exciting adventure, nonetheless. Sign up with an online site and offer up your house in exchange for someone else’s. You can browse the offerings available, post an ad for your own house, and then make trades with others who are looking to stay in your hometown. If you’re willing to be particularly spontaneous, you may wind up somewhere that you never even knew existed.
Be in charge
Second only to tuition, room and board are often the biggest expenses for college students. Cover the cost by becoming a Residential Advisor. Most schools give students with this lucrative job free housing or a significantly discounted rate.
Rent or borrow books
After a semester of hard work, it’s hard to imagine trying to resell your textbooks. You’ll notice many tears of frustration when the end of a class rolls around and students discover that their expensive text books are worth nothing. If buying the books outright strikes fear into your heart, consider instead checking the books out from the library. Alternately, rent the materials from a website devoted to the cause, such as College Book Renter, eCampus and Chegg.
Quite a few students spend over $2000 a year on “personal expenses” when many of those costs stem from things that are free on campus. Take part in all the campus freebies. These often include gym membership, movies rentals from the library, dorm dinners, on-campus entertainment, student clubs and on-campus guest lectures.
Consider community college
Sure, you may feel like you’re missing out on something spectacular if you head to a two-year school. However, many times the education is similar and the price remarkably less. For comparison, the average U.S. community college costs $2,713 per year, whereas the average tuition at a public university is $16,140. Likewise, a year at a private university is apt to run about nearly $40 thousand. If you go this route, you can transfer to a four-year institution once you’ve graduated from the community college, with most (if not all) credits easily transferring.
You don’t need to be broke to want to save money, but you sometimes do need to be savvy. Use these tips as a launching point to discover great deals on all that you do, from weddings to walks, from cooking to cleaning.*
*This article provides broad and general guidelines and does not constitute professional or legal advice. You should not use this article as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisers before making any advertising, tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions.