100 Ways to Save Money in Tough Economic Times

1. Stop the bad habits. Have a family meeting and agree to stop one financial bad habit this month. Whether it be nicotine, snacks, sodas, DVD rentals, or whatever takes up your family budget that could be cut out. Figure up how much this will save your family and have a reward at the end of the month for the one who saves the most! Competition fosters acceptance and more willingness to participate!

2. Start writing down every out of pocket expense from the candy bar at work to the bottle soda at the convenience store. See exactly where your money is going. Work on changing habits. Instead of stopping at the convenience store for a snack, bring your own while out.

3. Spending money on lunch, snacks, or drinks at work? Bring your own to work instead. By buying in bulk, this will save you lots of cash! Invest in a thermos for hot drinks and soups.

4. When a friend suggests going out to eat, suggest having a potluck dinner or picnic instead. You will find that potluck dinners are much better than greasy pizza and burgers any day!

5. Too tired to cook and want to order pizza or carryout for dinner? Solve this dilemma by making a weekly plan. Have the family involved so everyone is happy with it. Also try crock pot dinners which will be done and ready to eat when you are!

6. Have at least one vegetarian meal a week.

7. Call around and find out which stores in your area will double and triple coupons. Shop there for even more savings with coupons!

8. Do your shopping around the weekly grocery store sales. Stock up once prices dip below a certain point.

9. Don’t be afraid of Goodwill stores. Many of these stores sell clothing at a fraction of the cost that still have tags on them!

10. Sign up for your local freecycle and get new to you stuff regularly.

11. Make a pact with family and friends to have a card swap and home-made gift swap instead of store bought gifts. Encourage children to make cards.

12. Get creative. Need a night stand? Use the extra end table instead!

13. Have little money for redecorating your growing child’s bedroom? Do it yourself! Look online or at the local library for books on painting and decorating bedrooms to get ideas.

14. Instead of paying for home repairs, ask friends about swapping out. Your husband can fix their leaky sink and your friend can patch your roof.

15. Stop paying for long distance! Instead invest in a small monthly cell phone plan where long distance calls are included! This will save you hundreds of dollars!

16. Never leave the house with children without packing snacks and drinks to go.

17. Make up an emergency bag for the car so you never have to purchase anything while outside of your home on short day trips. Include things like sunscreen, umbrellas, rain gear, Tylenol, and more.

18. Find free activities in your neighborhood instead of going to the movies. Most cities have free concerts, plays, and some even have free drive-in movies.

19. Go generic for a month. Bet you won’t see much of a difference in quality or taste! You might even find a new favorite!

20. Shop around for lower insurance rates. Compare prices and then try to negotiate a lower price on your current plan. If they say no, switch.

21. Shop around for lower home phone deals. Many companies now have plans that include internet, cable, and home phone pricing which can save you money.

22. Ask around to see if there is a friend or relative that could teach your child piano instead of paying for piano lessons. Many older family members would be thrilled to do it.

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23. Look into printer ink refills instead of buying new ones each time.

24. Never throw anything out. Ebay your clutter and outgrown clothing, then use the extra cash for new clothing or savings.

25. Combine appointments and errands. Don’t just go to the post office, head to your doctor’s appointment while out.

26. Carpool. It isn’t that bad. You will enjoy the company.

27. Invest in full coverage car insurance, it will save you money in the long run.

28. Learn to cut your children’s hair and cut out barber shop expenses.

29. Use cash instead of cards so you think twice before purchasing unneeded items.

30. Freeze your credit card literally. Taking time to unfreeze your credit card will allow you time to rethink using expensive credit for anything other than emergencies.

31. Use the envelope system and don’t borrow from other envelopes! Have an envelope for each expense such as groceries, rent, electricity bill and put a certain amount in it. Most people are spending more than they realize on entertainment and junk foods! This method will allow you to set a budget on those items.

32. Rethink how much you spend on cable. Go through the channel list and see which channels no one watches. Call the cable company for a better deal on less channels.

33. Start cooking like your mother did when you were little. Not only will you find that you save money but you will also find that you enjoy it!

34. Start swapping out making dinner with the neighbors or friends. Not only will this count towards entertainment (make it a game night!), but also will let you off the hook for cooking one night a week.

35. Never shop online without a coupon code. www.naughtycodes.com is one of the best websites with the most coupon codes. A coupon code gives you free shipping and/or money off.

36. Use your home phone to price items before leaving home. Call around and ask how much the specific item costs at each store before heading out to the one with the cheapest price!

37. Buy in bulk when possible. You know that toilet paper will be used so buy the bulk package to save money!

38. Experiment with baking snacks for your children instead of buying expensive brand name snacks.

39. If your pet has a chronic medical condition, get pet insurance. Costs can be extraordinary for pets’ medical care.

40. Get an oil change, check tire inflation, and tune-up. This will increase your gas mileage.

41. Do you really need a new car when your older car is still running and reliable?

42. Make sure you have wrecker and emergency road service included on your car insurance. The fee is small each month at about $5 or less but the savings are huge with even one tire blowout on the freeway!

43. Fill it up! Filling up your gas tank will save you money more than only putting less than a quarter of a tank.

44. If the sale is 5 items for $10, don’t just buy 2 items as you might not get the savings then.

45. Keep your coupon organizer on you at all times, most will fit into your purse.

46. Keep all dental cleaning appointments for every family member. This will prevent many future problems that can be expensive.

47. Start a garden or herb garden in your windowsill. The fresh vegetables will be nice to have on hand.

48. Go to your local dollar store for wrapping paper, gift bags, holiday decorations, and knick knacks. The dollar store is a treat for small children with small allowances. It can also be a reward for them.

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49. Church activities are normally free and wonderful for community togetherness.

50. To save even more on internet shopping, sign up for www.mypoints.com to get discounts on purchases.

51. Don’t fear rebate forms. They are easy to do, fill them out, purchase the item, then mail it in for a full refund and a free item!

52. Discontinue costly magazine subscriptions and check out the many totally free magazines available. Lego magazine for children is one.

53. Utilize your local library for free activities, reading reward programs, reading materials, music selections for traveling, and movies to watch for free.

54. Check out local community activities for free dance lessons for children. Most are free or based on income and ability to pay.

55. Start a playdate group that meets on a weekly basis. Plan playtime outside with friends.

56. See a commercial for a new product on the market and have to have it? That eye shadow may look glorious on the model but may have the scent of charcoal or aggravate your allergies so ask for a free sample from their toll free number or website before taking the plunge! Free samples are available on most new products from granola bars to mascara!

57. If your doctor suggests an over the counter product or medication, ask for sample tubes first to see if it works for you.

58. Buy a product and it makes you break out? Call the company’s toll free line and tell them about it. Many will send out another product free of charge.

59. Never throw receipts away before checking each item’s price especially on sale items. Some grocery stores will double your money if you find a mistake. Others will give you two of the item if the price was rang up wrong.

60. If possible, give the cashier one coupon at a time to ensure all coupons are scanned in.

61. Watch the cashier ring up your items and alert her to any item scanning twice. This happens more than you think!

62. It is never a good idea to take little ones to the market. If you have to do that as I do, one idea to make things go easier is to talk to your child beforehand. Discuss that they can choose only one item and place it on the grocery list. If they tend to pick out unhealthy options like gummy bears or the newest Disney character cereal, make a game of it. Have them choose a color and a shape, then their job is to find something to eat that is say…purple and circular.

63. Always make a shopping list before you go into the grocery store or you will end up forgetting necessary items and choosing all the wrong foods. Never shop while hungry!

64. Stick to your shopping list. See #63.

65. Keep a variety of stamps on hand. Putting the wrong stamp on a postcard will cost you extra money that is not needed.

66. Stock up your medicine cabinet before you have to run out in the middle of the night to a convenience store for Children’s Motrin that costs $20.

67. Open a bank account. Being able to cash checks without a fee at the grocery store or cash checking place will save you money each week.

68. Try different rice meals to find one your family enjoys best. Rice is a low cost staple and goes further for large families.

69. Have a breakfast for supper one night a week.

70. Start a family tradition to vacation closer to home. Many folks have no idea what is available locally to sight see as they always travel out of state.

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71. Bargain shop on Ebay. Don’t purchase the first thing you see. Look around and find the cheapest item on auction instead. One tip is to look for misspelled titles as less people will see those auctions!

72. Redecorate hand-me-downs so children will find them more palatable. Sequins and embroidery can make those hand-me-downs something totally new!

73. Walk your child to school or carpool.

74. Re-use large envelopes and boxes for mailing out your own correspondence.

75. Use grocery store plastic bags as small trash can liners.

76. Clean with baking soda.

77. Walk around your house and notice how many television sets are on with no one watching them. Have a family meeting about wasting energy and encourage them to turn off lights, televisions, radios when leaving the room.

78. Put a water-filled 2 liter coke bottle in your toilet tank to save water.

79. Turn down your hot water heater. Not only will it save you money but also can prevent scalding young children.

80. Buy a couple of chickens and a rooster for free eggs.

81. Many manufacturer’s websites have coupons available on request and some you can print out instantly.

82. Watch Walgreens for great savings on many items you use every day. They have had some great sales lately!

83. Have a special needs child and would like to try some therapy items before buying? Try your local lending library. Many children’s hospitals have them.

84. Don’t forget to sign up for energy assistance at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/

85. Pay your bills on time as some late fees are extremely high!

86. Use the ATM at your bank only as others will charge you a fee!

87. Combine home activities to save on electricity. Wait to wash dishes while another family member bathes. The water is already heated up.

88. Drink water. It is good for all.

89. Snack on peanuts and popcorn instead of costly brand name snacks. (Small children won’t be able to do this as it is a choking hazard, try cheerios for them.)

90. Combine exercise with running errands and save gas. Walk to the post office to buy stamps.

91. Media mail shipping is always cheaper than any other type. Mail books this way to save money. Sure it takes a little longer to arrive but that is okay.

92. Buy books for gifts especially for children. Books are cheaper than other types of gifts and last longer.

93. Sign up for Enfamil or Similac baby clubs for anyone in the family who is expecting a baby soon. They will send out formula checks and coupons to you.

94. If you have just moved into a new home or are remodeling, sign up for a 10% off coupon on purchases to Home Depot and Lowes. This usually comes in mail forwarding packages but is also available online.

95. Sign up for WIC to receive assistance with buying infant formula and other food.

96. Shop local farmer’s markets for cheaper prices on fresh produce.

97. Learn to cook your favorite restaurant meal. Many recipes are now offered online or versions of popular restaurant items.

98. Instead of Starbucks, buy flavored coffee creamer for an extra boost of flavor.

99. Make tea instead of buying soda. It goes further.

100. Check your local phone book for coupons on everything from mechanic services to a percent off restaurant meals.