Easy Ways To Save Money

Several ways to save money in all areas of life.

1. Look for products your family always uses, and buy them in bulk when they're on sale (think non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, etc. You can even buy perishable food items if you can freeze them. Get large packages of chicken or ground beef and separate them into meal-sized portions and freeze them that way).

2. Limit eating out to special occasions (yes, eating out is fun, but it's a whole lot more expensive than eating in! So make a treat out of it, and you'll save money AND probably have more fun when you go).

3. Allot a small amount each month -- like $50 -- for impulse purchases (that way, you know that if you see something and want it, you can just have it -- up to a certain limit. You don't have to be good ALL the time, but you can't buy everything, either).

4. Buy store brands -- or whatever's cheapest -- whenever possible (most times, these non-name brands are just as good as name brands, and sometimes even better. So buy them instead and save money!).

5. Don't impulse shop at the grocery store; think about what your family will really eat (make out a list and mainly stick to it. Only add items that your family eats a lot of and that are on sale).

6. Seek out sales at the mall, and buy lots of new clothes when you find them cheap (at the end of every season, you can find clothes for $3 - $10 per shirt or pair of pants, which is amazingly cheap! You probably can't do this with growing kids, but try it with teens and adults. You can save a TON of money by finding good sales -- $15 for an outfit instead of $50).

7. Burn CDs from friends or the library (it's pretty much free, and as long as you're not selling them, it's not illegal, either -- technically).

8. Plan vacations off-season and search for the best prices (look online for plane tickets, rental cars, and hotels, and be sure to check several sites. Check different dates, too. Sometimes a few days or a week can cut a price in half, or even more).

9. Save up for things you really want (then, when you get to buy your much-desired item, you're sure it's not an impulse, and you don't have to dip into general savings or your budget to buy it).

10. Buy lots of cheap, basic food and learn to cook (get creative in the kitchen. Buy rice, beans, chicken, pasta, produce, etc., and learn to cook for yourself. You can make dozens of different dishes with all of these ingredients. Invest in some cheap spices -- about $1 for each small can -- and you can really add flavor to your food, cheaply).

11. Have your paycheck direct-deposited (if you see your money in your hand, you'll want to run out and spend it. But if it's in the bank, you have to actually make an effort to go get it before you can spend it. This will prevent you from thinking of your paycheck as disposable money instead of part of your budget).

12. Treat yourself on occasion (no one can be good ALL the time, so on occasion, splurge. Buy a little more than you should, or get that expensive but oh-so-good treat at the grocery store. Then you'll be less likely to want things all the time that you feel deprived of).

13. Only use credit cards for purchases you can pay off in full every month (this bars emergencies. But other than that, don't use your credit card as "free money." Know how you'll cover it and pay it off in full every month. Never buy anything that you know you can't pay off monthly. You'll end up spending less, and you'll have excellent credit).

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