10. Don't go to the store. I know, it's hard! But, even with good deals - like the Groupon for $10 buying you a $20 credit to Old Navy...it is probably a select few that could get out of Old Navy without spending past the $20. You'll wander to the clearance, you'll remember your kids have no socks that match (HOW does that happen?!), you'll see an adorable baby outfit and remember you have a shower to attend in a few months. When you're on a really tight budget and just can't spend money on something this month past the necessities...don't. Just don't go.
9. Write a list of things happening in the next month, that will cost you money. Gifts for birthdays, graduations, anniversary parties, teacher gifts, whatever. Being organized saves money because it gives you time to think of how you can give frugally - but thoughtfully. Perhaps instead of money for the graduate, you can find a classic old photo of their family and frame it. Or put together a college-essentials gift basket (that once you're a couponer would cost you pennies on the dollar, taking stuff from your stockpile). You'll love giving a gift that means something, and not having to bust your budget over a giftcard. I was mad at myself this morning that I didn't think of a gift earlier for my daughter's 3 softball coaches. Cookies in the shapes of bats and balls would have been cute and except for my time, very inexpensive! Next year.
8. Try to make do with what you have. Instead of replacing the shower curtain liner, drag the *&%# thing out to the deck and scrub it. I know, that is not fun...but if money's tight, every bit helps.
7. Take notice of your electric, gas and water usage and cut back, just a bit. I'm the first to tell you my AC is crankin. But at night, we turn it up a little, and when we're out, we turn it up quite a bit. All the vents are closed downstairs bc we're not down there as much and it's 1/2 underground (we have a bilevel) so it stays cooler. Use your toaster oven, if you have the kind that fits dishes, to bake. Do a cooking afternoon and prepare items for the week that just need heated up...you'll save not just a bit of energy, but your time. If your kids are little, throw them in the tub together. If you have a pool membership and they have showers, go ahead and bring the toiletries to the pool and have the kids get clean there instead.
6. Use the library!!! What a great place to borrow books, CDs and movies, all for free. Plus, it's a cool place to be for awhile as a family in the hot heat! Libraries also have free events like movie showings, book readings and crafts for kids.
5. Look over your bills for cellphone, car insurance, cable, etc. Make sure you have the coverage you need, and if you are overpaying, cut back. We recently upped our deductible on the van from $500 to $1000, saving us $55 a month!!
4. Cut your kids bangs yourself, shave your husband's neck, whatever...to make the haircut last a few more weeks. Doing this a few times a year could save you a big chunk of change! Can you say date-night money?!
3. Try to swap with a friend. Does she have a hydrangea bush you can hack into to make a bouquet for someone? Can you take her kids for an hour while she runs errands? Swapping goods and babysitting saves major money.
2. Look in your pantry and freezer and make a list of meals you can make, and what ingredients you still need to make them. This saves you going to the store and buying ingredients for full meals, when you already have items you can work with.
1. If you're making a trip to the grocery store this week, look through the circulars after you've made your list. Whatever store has the most sales for your items gets your business - and that could save you at minimum $20 if you were buying typical weekly items like produce, lunchmeat, yogurt, meat, etc. If you have started couponing, don't forget websites like Living Rich with Coupons that do the work for you as far as matching sales to coupons!