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My Top 10 List: Helping My Families Bottom Line

While spending time with family this weekend, I realized that I often tell other people about 1 or 2 of the ways I’m saving my family money daily, but I’ve never sat down and actually made a list of ALL the different things I do, so here goes:

1) Plan out my errands to save gas – by driving in a circle instead of back and forth across town I avoid unnecessary gas use AND mileage on my car
2) Use the library instead of book stores – this one is a no brainer, but I would imagine I’m saving my family well over $200 a year by borrowing books instead of buying
3) Coupon Shopping at the Grocery Store – I plan out my trips to the grocery store ahead and use coupons like cash to save my family big money! See my Coupon Basics page for more information.
4) Use coupons & scope out sales for other purchases – I price compare EVERYTHING. Even if I will only save a few cents by buying something at a different store I do. Every penny saved is a penny earned! This includes coupons for pizza, waiting to buy a present when it’s on sale, etc.
5) “Club” Points – Many local stores offer some form of ‘points’ towards free products & merchandise. For example, by using my Speedway card for gas & oil changes I’m able to stop and get a drink or snack for FREE when I’m out on the road.
6) Check into Membership or Employment Discounts – Teachers get discounts at many places you may not think of, such as NY & Company. It doesn’t hurt to check into what businesses in your area offer teacher discounts. I even get $5 off my bill at our favorite local restaurant every time we go because I’m a member of a teaching union. Not a teacher? Think of things like AARP or AAA when looking for discounts!
7) Buy used when possible – Brand new sparkly items feel great when you get them, but the after shock when you see what they do to your budget is not very enjoyable. For that reason I buy used when I can. Websites like EBay & Craigslist in addition to local Goodwill & Consignment shops are a great place to start.
8) Recycle at your local recycling center – Not only is recycling FREE and great for the environment, but it also cuts down on your trash which saves you on trash bags & the cost of a large trash bin.
9) Reduce Energy Use – Remember the lesson on Earth Day from elementary school where the teacher told you it was important to shut off your lights and turn off the water when you aren’t using it, etc? Well it turns out that stuff is actually useful! We make a point to turn things off we’re not using AND unplug unnecessary items when not in use.
10) Turn down the air/heat – Put on a pair of socks if it’s cold or shorts if its hot and keep your house a degree or two warmer/colder to save money!What do you do to save money on a daily basis for your family?

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