Our economy is bad…we all know that. My family has been hit hard by it, but that does not mean that we cannot learn some new ways to save money and work together as a family.
1. Combine trips to save on gas. It is so easy for us to jump in the car and run to the grocery store to get a few things, but with some planning, we can stop by the store on our way home from work, combine it with a grouping of errands in the same area, etc.
2. Shop the Sales. Each week various items go on sale. What item do I have to have now that I cannot wait for it to go on sale? The only items we buy not on sale is certain food items we use every week such as lettuce. Even then we stock up as much as we can when it goes on sale and continue using it until we run out making the sale savings stretch as far as possible.
3. Wisely coordinate schedules. If I am teaching a cake decorating class in our nearby town, I will plan to leave early enough to stop by the library on my way in and then stop by the grocery store on my way home. Now, I have not only saved the time to travel to town and back but all of that gas by combining three possible trips into one. Also, seek to do this with your children’s sports/activities, your work, your spouse’s work, etc.
4. Plan appointments together. If I have a meeting with a client, I will try to plan all my appointments in town that day if at all possible. This helps with time on the road, gas, as well as keeps me gone one day and gives me more productive uninterrupted days in the office.
5. Cut back on un-needed spending. Look at your budget and decide what you really need. According to Scripture we only need food and clothes. Even shelter is an “option.” Do you really “need” that cable television? Do you really “need” to have that outfit dry cleaned or can you hand wash it or use a home dry cleaning kit? Do the children have to participate in all these paid “programs”? Maybe spending some time home together as a family playing a board game or working together would be good.
6. Exchange items or services. Maybe you can sew to match any designer, and you have a friend who loves to decorate cakes. Can you possibly exchange services? Offer to babysit for a friend when she’s needing to go to an appointment and ask her if she’d be willing to do the same for you sometime later in the month.
7. Join a local Freecycle Group. There are groups in most cities and counties. Simply Google “Freecycle” along with your city or county. This group is to help you get rid of unwanted items and gain items that you can use. All for no cost. It is totally e-mail based. My family has gotten canning jars, a community sized coffee pot for our congregation, wood, and more through our local Freecycle group.
8. Learn homemade alternatives to expensive items. Vinegar is a super all purpose cleaner. I fill a bottle about 1/5 full of vinegar, add a drop of dish soap, and fill the bottle with water the rest of the way. This multi-purpose cleaner can be used to clean everything in the bathroom and kitchen. Basically between this and a good window cleaner (still working on a recipe for that!), that is all I use to clean. And in case you are wondering about the quality of the cleaning, I clean professionally part time.
9. Shop thrift stores and yard sales for items you need. You can often find things for a low cost but in good condition there.
10. Be creative and ask the Lord for wisdom. He is the Creator of all things and has given each of us our own skills and strengths…so add some things of your own to this list!
What are some ways you can save money during a bad economy?