12 Ways to Shave $100’s off Your Budget Every Month

July 9, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Budgeting · Comments Off on 12 Ways to Shave $100’s off Your Budget Every Month 

1. Eliminate junk food such as cookies, snack cakes, etc. Your family will not only eat better and be healthier, but you’ll consume less calories and spend less on your food bill.

Minimum Savings: $15 week x 4 weeks = $60 per month

2. Make your own coffee and take it with you every day rather than stopping at your local coffee shop. You can pick up an insulated to-go mug with a sipper cup lid at a yard sale for 25¢ if you don’t have one and save a small fortune every month with this strategy alone.

Minimum Savings: $15 week x 4 weeks = $60 per month

3. Eat breakfast at home rather than stopping for a donut or sausage biscuit. Even a cheap breakfast out costs more, and contains more calories, than a bowl of cereal, a banana, and a glass of juice.

Minimum Savings: $15 week x 4 weeks = $60 per month

4. Pay your bills on time. Eliminating even one late fee every month can add up to savings. And often, paying bills late becomes a routine so the savings in this area can be much more than listed here.

Minimum Savings: $15 per month

5. Balance your checkbook and don’t let your account become overdrawn. This will eliminate insufficient funds charges from your bank which are outrageously high, as well as helping to eliminate late fees as mentioned above.

Minimum Savings: $30 per month

6. Eat out no more than once a week. When you do eat out, choose a less expensive restaurant, share a meal with your spouse and drink water rather than soda or tea. Also, if you take the kids, choose only restaurants where they can eat free.

Minimum Savings: $40 per month

7. Stop buying paper and plastic products whenever possible. Eliminate paper cups, paper plates, plastic flatware, paper towels, paper napkins, etc.

Minimum Savings: $25 per month

8. Cancel your gym membership and look for alternative exercise options that don’t cost anything. Ride a bike, go for a swim, jog, walk the dog, play volleyball with the kids, etc.

Minimum Savings: $35 per month

9. Borrow a movie from your local library instead of renting one each week. Once you’ve seen everything the library has to offer, swap movies with friends or start a neighborhood movie swap group.

Minimum Savings: $20 per month

10. Use your debit card instead of withdrawing funds from a bank where you don’t have an account. While banks promote access to their huge ATM network as a great benefit, “foreign” ATMs charge for every transaction made on their equipment by a non-member. And your own bank will charge you, too! Use your own bank or your debit card to save these fees when you don’t have cash.

Minimum Savings: $15 per month

11. Eliminate convenience products such as fabric softener sheets, disposable dust cloths, facial cleansing cloths, etc. and use wash cloths or cleaning rags instead.

Minimum Savings: $10 per month

12. Learn a craft such as knitting or scrapbooking and make your own gifts. Purchase supplies on sale or at yard sales and thrift stores for even greater savings. You can even sell what you make or swap with others for what you want or need.

Minimum Savings: $25 per month

Surviving and Saving When You’re Sick

October 22, 2008 · Filed Under Being Frugal · Comments Off on Surviving and Saving When You’re Sick 

by Tawra Kellam

My husband and I paid off $20,000 in debt and medical bills in five years on $22,000 per year averaged income, and I am disabled with Fibromyalgia and ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Here are some of the ways we lived frugally and made it work:

#1 Keep meals simple.

Try any of these simple meals:

-Chicken, with a bottle of hot and sour sauce dumped over the top and served with rice.
-Taco salad made with bagged lettuce, hamburger browned with taco seasoning, sour cream, salsa and olives.
-Baked chicken with freezer rolls and sliced cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and ranch dressing.

Most of our meals take under 20 minutes to prepare. Write down 10 quick meals that are family favorites. Keep the “quick favorites” list in a specific spot and always keep the ingredients for these favorite meals on hand. Then, when you are sick and can’t spend a lot of time cooking, you can make something quick and easy.

Also, make as much of dinner as you can when you are feeling your best. Then if you aren’t feeling well come dinner time it will be almost all done and you won’t be tempted to send for take out.

#2 Get the kids to help with daily cleanup.

Kids can help pick up most of the house with proper direction. Mine are 10, 9, and 5 and have been helping since they were 3. I ask each of them to pick up toys. Then I ask each of them to pick up four more things. Later, I might ask them to empty all the trash cans and the dishwasher. Let the kids help as much as possible. Mine spend about 10 minutes a day helping and it makes a world of difference!

#3 Use paper plates.

They are cheap, come from a renewable resource and can be composted – use them! They cost about one cent each, so spending five cents for our family of five is way cheaper than the $40 take out!

#4 Give each person his own color of drinking glass.

This way, you can prevent family members from getting confused about whose glass is whose and constantly getting out new glasses.

#5 Try to do at least one load of laundry a day.

That way you won’t get overwhelmed or behind.

#6 Let non-critical things go!

Ignore the dust, the dirty windows, and other things like that. If you are lying sick on the couch where you look right out a dirty window, then ask your kids or hubby to clean it, but otherwise forget it until later!

By doing just these few things, you can keep yourself from going insane and save some money, even when your sick.

Frugal Family Fun: Making Memories on a Budget

October 13, 2008 · Filed Under Frugal Parenting · Comments Off on Frugal Family Fun: Making Memories on a Budget 

Written by: Nicole Dean
Web Site:  www.ShowMomTheMoney.com

What childhood memories do you hold dear? For me, it was all the times “life happened”.  The little things like playing outside, riding my bike with the wind in my hair, playing at the park, swimming in the lakes, giggling with friends. None of those moments cost a cent, yet they are some of my most treasured memories.

Frugal Family Fun  is very easy to do. Choose any of the 31 ideas below and you’ll have a fun-filled time without breaking the bank!

* Garden – Plant flowers, fruit trees, herbs, or vegetables. Your child will learn science, responsibility    and have fun!
* Snip-it – Give your child old toy catalogs or magazines and safe scissors. Watch them cut all day.
* Diggin’ It – Send your child outside with a bucket and small shovel. Shoveling snow, sand, dirt or rocks — it’s all good fun.
* Sing – Turn up the radio and sing! Teach your child the music of the 70s, 80s, or 90s.
* Play Catch – Throw different items (balloons, tennis balls) to your child. Roll balls to young children.
* Sidewalk Chalk – Lay on the sidewalk and take turns outlining each other. Decorate your flat selves.
* Cardboard Boxes – Make towers, build cities, design play houses, airplanes, trains, forts and more!
* Bubbles – Blow Bubbles. Take turns chasing and popping them.
* Masks – Create Masks from Paper bags, paper plates, foam, or anything on hand.
* Cards – Introduce your child to all the classic games — UNO, Crazy 8, Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory Match.
* Scavenger Hunt – Give your child a list of clues and send him out to find them. Clues can be simple (find a rock) or very advanced (find a piece of granite).
* Throw Rocks – Go to a pond, creek, or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets.
* Bath Time – Bring kitchen utensils into the bath tub. Bubbles and water can become an imaginary gourmet dinner.
* Office – Give your child Junk Mail, stickers, a calculator and pen — they’ll have their own office!
* Photography – Let your child use a disposable camera or a digital camera and witness their creativity. They may surprise you!
* Picnic – Make some sandwiches and eat them outside.
* Cooking – Find age-appropriate recipes and let your child help in the kitchen.
* Tag – How many versions of tag do you remember from your childhood? Teach the oldies to your children (freeze tag, TV tag, etc.)
* Write a Story – Younger children can write wiggle-worm sentences (much scribbling and
pictures). Encourage older children to write chapter books — your child could pen the next Harry Potter or Magic Tree house.
* Charades – Toddlers can act out and guess their favorite animals (usually with many sound effects). Older children will enjoy acting out movie titles.
* Flashlight – Turn off the lights & make shadow puppets. Or get two flashlights and chase the light beams.
* Wildlife – Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, turtles or fish near you.
* Abundance – Every day, have your children tell you what they are thankful for.
* Dress Up – Give your children your clothes and watch them imitate you.
* Treats – Make cookies and decorate them.
* Dance – Turn up the music and Dance!
* Play Games – Teach your child all your favorite board games.
* Journal – Present a notebook or diary to your child and encourage them to express their feelings with pictures and words.
* Tea Party – Grab the stuffed animals and treat them to a delicious cup of imaginary tea.
* Keep in Touch – Write a letter to Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles. Teach the importance of family.
* I Spy – Come up with age-appropriate clues and let you child guess what you are thinking.

Be sure to print out this list and keep it handy for the next time your children say “MOMMMMMM — we’re bored!”

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