Friday, December 27, 2013

Saving Money When You've Already Cut Your Spending

Ok, so we've all been here, you've cut your spending, but you still want to save money.  So what do you do next?  Reevaluate.  I do this twice a year (every 6 months).  I sit down, take a look at my last  6 months worth of spending, bills, interest rates, and contracts.  I also take time to scout out free events and classes for my family.  Here are some more tips on what you can do to save your family money:

Have you negotiated your phone and cable bills?  Are you still not please with what you saved?  Try comparing similar packages from different companies.  Maybe you can cut back on features that you don't need.  Sometimes when you bring up to your current providers, they'll reward your loyalty in an attempt to keep you.

Consider refinancing your car or your home.  You could save money just by getting a lower interest rate.  Speaking on interest rates, check your rates for any loans or credit cards you might have, then see if you can renegotiate them to lower rates.

If your credit card offers rewards or cash back, utilize it!  However, make sure the benefits will outweigh any interest rates or fees from your card company.

Double check your services.  You don't want to pay for things you don't use.  You'd be surprised how many features your phone and cable bill could have, that you weren't even aware of.  If possible, cut these features.

For free movies, books, resources, and classes, we head to our library.  At least once a week they have some sort of kid's class or event at the library (including movie nights, story time, crafts, etc.).  We also like to check out Lowe's and Home Depot for their free kid's club Home Depot even offers free classes for adults!).  (Bass Pro has lots of free events around holidays!).  Just because it is free, doesn't mean the fun will be spared.

Food tends to be a huge expense for most families.  We have joined a produce co-op to supply our family with 2 weeks of fresh produce for only $23!  The produce is local, and well worth every penny.  For meat purchases, I but in bulk.  When there is a deal on meat that bis too good to pass up, I stock up for the next few months.  Around Thanksgiving I bought 3 turkeys (which for my family of 4, will give us 9-10 meals).  Same with ham around Christmas and Easter.  We also enjoy meatless dishes 3 days of the week to cut back on spending.  Like most people, I enjoy convenient foods, something that is easy to get on the table.  However, I have found not only is it cheaper to make my own breads, cookies, muffins, and pasta, but it's not really all that hard (just check out Pinterest if you don't believe me!).

Do you have a college savings account for your kids, or do you have student loans yourself?  Sign up for Upromise and link your accounts.  Your online spending will earn you cash back for these accounts.  Pay your loans and save for college while you shop, pretty simple if you ask me!

One weekend a year, Sam's Club has an open house.  That means you can get in for free and take advantage of the great prices!  Pay attention to the unit rices, while most of the time it's cheaper to buy in bulk, sometimes you'll find the deals aren't as great, so skip these items.

Sign up for reward programs.  Almost every store has some sort of reward program now; Walgreens, Kmart, Sears, CVS, Payless, Kohls........theses stores and more reward you for shopping with them.  Most of the time you can turn your points into cash to spend at these stores, getting free product!  Not to mention all of the great coupons they'll send you!  Also, make sure to check out my list of reward sites to earn free gift cards. yourself first!  Before you spend any money, put an extra $10, $20, or $50 into savings.  Adding extra cushion, no matter how small, will help you in case of an emergency.

It might seem like I'm telling you to stop spending, cut everything fun from your life, and live under a rock, but with a few simple moves, and smarter spending plans, you and your family will be able to do more!  Are you up to the challenge?

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