25 Practical Ways to Save Money is a partnered post with Genworth Financial.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult or painful. As women and moms there are so many simple and practical ways to save money for our families. I’ve listed some of my favorites below, and look forward to hearing your money saving tips.
1. Sign up for customer rewards programs. Even if you rarely shop at that place, having that card will get you some discounts and coupons. You never know when you will need them.
2. Write a list before you shop, and stick to it. Never walk into a store without knowing exactly what you want.
3. Buy bulk with a friend. Bulk items are only worth buying if you know you can use them before they expire. Consider shopping with a friend for bulk items and split what you purchase. Most wholesale clubs give two cards with membership, so you can also split the cost of membership in many cases.
4. Master the 30 day rule. Whenever you are considering an unnecessary purchase, make yourself wait 30 days to see if you still want it. Often, you’ll find after 30 days that it is something you can live without.
5. Save your loose change. Putting aside just 50 cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund.
6. Practice preventative dental and medical care. Most insurance policies offer preventative care at no or low cost. Taking preemptive action could save you a bundle in medical care down the road.
7. Make homemade gifts instead of buying them. I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate it when someone takes the time and care to make something for me. Sites like Pinterest and CraftGawker are loaded with simple crafts and diy projects you can make as gifts.
8. Use a budget calculator or some other method for keeping track of your finances. Track every penny that comes in and goes out for three months, and you might be surprised by what you learn about your spending habits.
9. Take advantage of discounts and incentive programs through your employer. For example, a large corporation I worked for offered employee discounts on things like computers, legal assistance, fitness memberships, local amusement park passes etc.
10. Don’t use credit cards unless you are prudent in paying the balance in full each month. Many stores offer savings if you make your purchase with your store card, but you will lose that savings in the interest you pay on the credit card.
11. Bring lunch to work. You can conceivably save an average of $2.50 per day when you bring lunch from home.
12. Use coupons. Many people cringe at the thought of using a coupon, but why pay full price for something when you can pay less. I’m not talking about spending hours each week doing extreme couponing. Be smart about it. There are many coupon and frugal living blogs who do the work for you by matching up coupons with store sales.
13. Invite friends over instead of going out. Almost every activity at home cost less than going out. Host your friends for a night of movies or games, or do something different like having a backyard bonfire and roasting marshmallows. Organize a potluck meal.
14. Make your own artwork. Purchasing art can be very costly. Try making your own using family photos or frame your child’s artwork. You might have a budding Picasso in your house.
15. Shop at consignment shops and second hand stores. Buy used whenever possible.
16. Save on costly beverages by flavoring your own water. Infuse filtered tap water with lemon, limes or cucumber and mint.
17. Clean out your closets and get rid of stuff you don’t need. Have a yard sale or take it to a consignment. Make a donation and use it as a tax deduction.
18. Save on energy. Install CFL or LED light bulbs, and turn off lights when you leave a room or leave the house. Buy energy efficient appliances when it’s time to replace the old ones.
19. Make the clothes you have last longer. Taking a few extra minutes to properly launder clothes can greatly extend their life. Close zippers, fasten hooks, and turn items inside out. Wash darks together in cold water, so they don’t bleed onto the lighter clothes. Be sure to follow the tag instructions, if it calls for line drying.
20. Use your cell phone for long distance calls. There’s no point in paying for the ability to make long distance calls on both your house and cell phones. You might even consider giving the house phone up all together.
21. Wrap gifts with no-cost wrapping paper. Beautiful and unique wrapping paper is already around your house – old scarves, scrap fabric, newspaper, and more.
22. Research free or inexpensive entertainment in your community. Some communities offer events like a free orchestra performance in the park, or day festivals. Also, many theaters offer a reduced admission to movies at certain times of the day. There might be free summer bowling available and most zoos offer free admission one or two days out of the year. Do a little research to see what’s available near you.
23. Make your own cleaning products. A one-to-one solution of vinegar and water makes and effective, economical, non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner.
24. Organize a book swap or clothing swap with your friends.
25. Plan your meals according to your grocery store’s flyer. Plan meals according to what meats and other ingredients are on sale that week. Make a double batch of your favorite casserole and freeze half for a busy night during the week, instead of doing expensive take out.
What are some of your favorite practical ways to save money?