Providing for a family can be challenging at times. All those ballet, guitar and soccer lessons; field trip fees; grocery lists; school supplies; new clothes when your kids grow out of their old ones every few months; doctor’s appointments and mortgage payments really add up.
We’ve compiled a list of ways for you to save some money here and there with very minimal effort – aka no extreme couponing.
Just Say “No”
- This is the easiest adjustment to make in your daily life. If your family is anything like mine, it’s almost impossible to complete a trip to the store without your kids asking you for a dinosaur keychain that they found at the end of the aisle, or the more expensive cereal that has Disney princesses on it. These items will only make your kid happy for an hour or so, and then there will be another thing that they “need,” during the next errand.
- Practice saying “no” more to unnecessary requests that will cost you money.
Buy Eye Glasses Online
- I recently purchased my prescription glasses from the eye doctor’s office, and boy, was that a mistake. I was somehow talked into $780 glasses when I could have spent $40 maximum at EyeBuyDirect.com; no, this is not an advertisement. I’ve purchased two pairs of stylish glasses from there before for under $30 each, and they looked the exact same as my new, insanely expensive pair.
- I highly recommend that you take your family to the eye doctor for an exam only, then take the prescription and order glasses online. EyeBuyDirect has both adult and children glasses, and they will save you a fortune.
Research Before Grocery Shopping
- Before I go shopping for the week, I always check the weekly deals for all of the grocery stores I like. I mainly look at Publix, Trader Joe’s, and Lucky’s Market. Sometimes Lucky’s has cheaper berries and meat than Publix, so I’ll go there for my produce and protein. If I have more frozen food on my grocery list, I’ll go to Trader Joe’s because they always have awesome and affordable frozen foods.
- Keep in mind that some stores, like Lucky’s, have cheaper produce, but more expensive dry foods. Because of this, I prefer to just go to Lucky’s when I’m low on produce but good on snacks and grains.
- If I’m running out of dry foods in my pantry, I’ll just pay the difference for produce at Publix because it has more variety of dry foods, anyway.
- Ever since Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” saving money has been one of the hottest trends (thanks, Mack!). You’d be amazed at what you can find for insanely cheap in your local thrift stores. Believe me, I love to keep up with the new trends and shop at my favorite retail stores, but every time I go to a thrift store, I question every time I ever paid full price for anything.
- Keep in mind: if you’ve been to your local thrift shop and couldn’t find anything worth buying, it probably has all new items to choose from. There is no consistent stock at thrift shops; they’re usually a hit or miss.
- Specifically for any smaller kids, thrifting is the way to go. They are constantly growing out of their clothes, so why pay an arm and a leg for them? At my local GoodWill, there are dozens of kids’ shirts and pants for 25 cents each.
- Once your kids reach an age where they become pickier about what they wear, then you can transition into full-price retail stores, but if they don’t seem to mind, take advantage of the great deals you can find and thrift for as long as you can.
- If you don’t have the time to leave your house, check out ThredUp. It’s an online thrift store that’s organized nicely and carries great brands.
- Not only is it better for the environment, but also for your wallet!
- While we’re hunting for used treasures, check out any garage sales in your area. You can check the “garage sale” page on your local Craigslist if you don’t see any obvious signs around your neighborhood. You never know what you’re going to find – just make sure to avoid buying useless items that you don’t actually need.
- This may be the oldest trick in the book, but for some reason, I still see moms and dads buying the insanely overpriced movie theater snacks, and it drives me nuts.
- Before heading to the theater, pop some popcorn at home, and then make a stop at your local convenience store on the way. Here, you can stock up on all of the candy you’d normally buy at the theater for a fourth of the price.
- You’ll most likely get away with sneaking all of these goodies in with a larger purse or jacket with pockets on the inside.
Eat at Home
- Like movie theaters, restaurants can be insanely overpriced, too, especially when you’re dining out in a family of four or more. Pull out your Pinterest app, and look for a new recipe to try. If you want to go above and beyond, get the kids involved in the cooking. This will save you money and also provide you with an activity to engage your kids with. The best part? You don’t have to tip anyone!
- Another way to challenge yourself is to figure out some meals that you can make for under $10. If you want a hint, check out this article.
Grow Your Own Herbs
- The next time you’re at a Lowe’s or Trader Joe’s, grab some herb plants so that you can have access to fresh basil, mint and rosemary each time you cook. If you take care of them properly, you won’t ever have to buy herbs again!
- Throw some basil in your pasta dishes, rosemary in your veggies and potatoes, and mint in your mojitos.
- If you’re an online shopper like I am, get ready to meet your new best friend, Honey. Honey is a free Chrome extension that automatically searches for and applies the best coupon code when you’re at checkout. The best part is, you don’t have to do anything besides download it once!
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