As many of us are trying to pay down debt or save some money for the future, we may find that our vacation savings and plans get a little lost in the shuffle.
As summer approaches your hopes for a vacation and your bottom line may not match up, but don’t worry there are still plenty of ways to have a bunch of fun family vacation experience without spending a bunch of money.
Schedule a staycation and explore your city. Here are a few ideas: museums, zoos, parks, festivals, arboretums, beaches, aquariums “theme parks” and points of interest or historic nature. Catch a baseball or local soccer game.
Major and minor league tickets are often discounted during the week because it’s harder to attend and since you are on “vacation” you can even show up early to pick up the free items that they may have to offer.
Been there, done that with your city or town? Then why not try a virtual vacation? Choose a place to “go” virtually. Maybe you would like to visit Hawaii, Mexico or France? Then consider these frugal vacation assignments to go virtual with your vacation.
Each member finds out something about the place you are visiting “virtually” and shares it with the whole family.
During your virtual vacation host a party that includes your friends. For example a beach party, wine and cheese party (France); a Mexican fiesta, or a Hawaiian luau. Not only can you “take” more family and friends on your virtual vacation but everyone can help out with the party decorations, food, and activities.
Search for restaurants, festivals, exhibits or museums in the area that specialize in your vacation destination and be sure to visit them while exploring your virtual vacation.
Take a little trip: Frugal four-day vacations
Can’t quite stretch the budget to a week vacation? Is airfare too expensive? Four days vacations either on the weekend or during the week can save you money on airfare, food, and accommodations. Even airfare can be less expensive during the week than it is on the weekends.
Money-saving tips for your frugal family vacation destination
Look for free entrance days; many are sponsored by foundations, Target or Bank of America.
Use discount cards and coupons like those available in the Entertainment Book, Moxie Moms, and City Pass. The cost of one of these cards actually pays for itself in just one activity.
Visit local grocery stores for discounted tickets to many attractions.
Look for online specials or package deals that save money on your get-away.
These easy to do frugal vacation destinations save money and offer the whole family the opportunity to have fun with creativity and flair. After all, everyone gets involved with planning and participating in a frugal family vacation destination, and isn’t that what your vacation is really all about?
Money-saving tips can be applied to a number of key areas in order to create a stimulus plan in your own home. With the shift in the economy and even with some unplanned employment changes, families can still find extra money by applying simple money-saving strategies every month within their own homes.
Children are a blessing and the expenses associated with raising well-rounded children can often seem like a struggle to accomplish. There are lessons and activities that we as parents must make available to our children so that they can achieve the self-confidence and even special skills that are needed for their future excellence.
Piano lessons, dance lessons, baseball uniforms, ice skates and uniforms for lessons, flutes, and other musical instruments, up to date clothing, and even well nourishing food can often be sacrificed as the family focuses on paying the necessary household bills each month. You can save money each month by applying some of the following tips. The money saved can be applied to these very important parts of a well-balanced childhood.
Save Money on Groceries
You can save a lot of money each month by creating a list of exactly what groceries you are buying that week. Create a list of meals you plan to cook and this will help you purchase enough food for one week.
Money-saving coupons are available each week in the Sunday paper and they can be used to help you save money on the items that are on your list. Cut out the coupons for items that you need to purchase that are on your list and leave the rest of the coupons uncut.
You can use those papers again next week along with the new coupons and if the coupons are for items on your list then cut them out. Do not use the coupons to explore new and unneeded items, as this is why most people determine that they do not see actual savings when they have used coupons.
Shopping in bulk at large wholesale stores, such as BJs and Sams, can also save you money and can keep your house stocked up. Also, check out the weekly deals in the food section of your local Target and Walmart. They are in competition to get you to shop in their store for the best deals and the best deals are exactly what you can focus on buying. Stay out of the areas of the store that you will do not write on your list. Click here to learn more about saving money on groceries.
Save Money on Electric
You can see money savings by simply determining to keep the electric use in your home under control. You can encourage your family to turn off their lights when they leave the room, to shut out the porch light when no one is outside and to be sure that all lights are out when everyone is in bed and before everyone leaves the house each day. You can save substantial amounts on your electric bill each month by applying these simple tips. More in this great video:
Recycle kids clothing
You can exchange your child’s clothing with another family that can offer you larger clothing from one of their children. You can also check out used clothing which is being sold on sites such as craigslist.
You can often find large bags of clothing in the correct season and in your child’s size for $20-$30. The seller of the clothing is often a mom or dad that is just like you.
They usually offer pictures of some of the clothing or some of the names of the manufacturers of the clothing which they are selling. These money-savings really add up and you can add to your children’s wardrobe extras such as pajamas, sweatpants, shirts, sweatshirts, etc all in one large bag for a very low price.
If You Use Payday Loans, Do It Wisely.
If you ever fall short of money, then there are payday loans to save you. If you have an urgent medical bill to pay, or your car needs to be fixed – just Google something like “1 hour payday loans”, choose one of the top results, fill their online loan request form with your information, hit “submit” and you’re all set! Just remember to pay it back on time. Continue reading here if you want more information on 1-hour payday loans.
You can save a lot of money by clearance shopping at large department stores. There may be items that you need for your home that may have cost $50 if priced on sale but you can find it on clearance for $20.
The difference in cost can be used to purchase healthy food, clothing, or even lessons for your children. Some stores that I have found to have extremely great clearance prices on clothing and household items are JC Penny’s, and Kohles. I have found that Gymboree, Old Navy, Gap, and children’s Place offer incredibly low clearance prices on high-quality children’s clothing that will last and last.
You can be known as an excellent gift purchaser and you can have the gift that everyone brags about for less money than you ever thought imaginable. This can be done by clearance shopping for great deals. If you plan to spend $20.00 on a gift, search for a $20.00 item on clearance for just $10.00 or even $7.00 dollars. The savings add up to money that stays in your pocket and that can be applied to the expenses of caring for and raising your children.
You can get name brand items and toys at the stores I mentioned above year-round that make excellent gift items. You can even create a small wardrobe of already purchased clearance gifts for school friend’s parties and for nieces and nephews. You can pull from this closet of items when spontaneous gifts are needed.
Sell your Extra stuff and Unwanted Stuff
You can make extra money each month by selling items on Craigslist or other local classified ads. You can sell broken electronics instead of throwing them away, there are people who will buy them and fix them. For example, if your child breaks their PSP. DS or PlayStation, they can be sold broken, as is on eBay or through local classified ads. You can sell unwanted furniture easily through a classified ad. Selling the items that you do not need or no longer use can add money to your pocket each month that can be used to pay for ice skating lessons, clothing, and healthy food.
Purchase Items through Classified Ads, Online and Yard-Sales
You can save money by purchasing furniture from moving sales. You can also get great deals on excellent looking tables, chairs, beds and dressers. If your child desires a certain expensive toy you can search your local Craigslist or look online through Amazon or eBay to see if you can find excellent savings on the same toy new or used. You can find excellent savings by following this plan whenever you need an item including something that breaks down in the home such as a washing machine or dishwasher.
Before heading out with the credit card, check for yard sales or moving sales that are advertising that item. Check out Craigslist. There are so many people that are selling the very item that you need at great savings.
You’ll be amazed at the amount of extra money that you can generate through these money-saving tips. Money that was basically being spent in excess or being spent needlessly can be eliminated and you can add money to your pocket each month. These money savings can be used to help raise fully rounded children with high self-esteem levels. You can end the struggle for paying your monthly bills by making some adjustments in your home such as suggested above money-saving tips.
As you begin to apply a few of these simple ideas, you will find some money-saving ideas of your own and you will be able to apply those ideas to save even more money each month. Raising children is made easier when you can make money and save money on monthly expenses that were erasing the extra money that was needed for children raising expenses.
1. At the end of the day, put your change into a jar to save. Then hide it from yourself. You will find that this can add up to a substantial amount quickly. Call this your “Savings For a Rainy Day Money Fund.” It’s a great way to save for a vacation, gifts, etc.
2. By far the easier way to save money in any house is to simply turn off the lights that are not being used. When you leave a room, even if you are going back, turn off the lights as you leave out.
3. Are you watching TV? If not, why is it on? Turn it off unless someone is watching it! I have had friends that actually leave their home to go to town and leave their lights and TV running. Every little bit helps!
4. Before making ANY special purchase, no matter how small the cost, think about it first. Do you REALLY need this item? Is it worth the money? Is there any other way I can do the same thing this item will, without spending this amount of money on it? Impulse buying can quickly eat into your savings, so always think before you buy.
5. Disposable diapers are nice, but they run into a lot of expense. Use cloth diapers at home in the day, and save the disposable ones for going places and night time. With the average cost for a package of disposable diapers, you can save a good deal of money in the two year’s baby is in diapers.
6. After Baby has passed the first baby food stages, feed Baby what the rest of the family eats. You can grind or mush foods for Baby. Remember nothing spicy! Babies can eat veggies, fruits, and a lot that you prepare at home for a fraction of the cost.
7. Buy clothes at yard sales or second hand for the baby or small child. As fast as babies and toddlers grow, why buy new clothes they won’t even wear out before they’ve outgrown them? I have found practically brand new clothes for pennies in this way.
8. Don’t spend the money on small trash bags. Save the ones you get from the grocery store. They work well and are free, and hold trash just as well as those store-bought ones. If you shop in different stores, you can even get different colored ones.
9. Save on your power bill in the summer by cooking early in the morning and late at night, having only to heat foods up during the day. The less you can use the oven during the hot part of the summer, the better on your finances.
10. Use a clothesline to dry your clothes. If no clothes line is available, only run your dryer early in the morning or late at night, to keep from heating up the house even more. The heat these two appliances put off will make your air units run more, so using them during the coolest times possible will help a lot.
11. The opposite is true for the winter months. Cooking, using the oven, and drying clothes during the coldest part of the winter can help keep your heating costs lower. Since you have to cook anyway, why not let the heat of the stove help heat the home at the same time?
12. Use your dryer sheets more than once. I use mine three times or more, and they still work just as well. This saves money, and your clothes are just as soft and static free. More so, try dryer balls. For about $10 for a pack of two, this is a great frugal value.
13. Learn to do basic mending. Don’t throw away a piece of clothing just because it has a hem undone, a hole, or lost button. The price of clothing has become so ridiculously high that one wonders how anyone can afford to throw something out just because it needs a tiny bit of mending.
14. Most have heard the old saying, “Waste not, want not.” Save leftovers and have later, rather than throw them out. Pass on outgrown clothing to other children or thrift stores. Don’t just leave the water running if not in use.
15. Turn off the lights when no one needs them. Don’t make unnecessary trips, and save on gas. If something can be used again, use it again.
16. Buy your holiday items on clearance the day after a major holiday and save them until the next year. For example, I often find Christmas wrapping paper and decorations at about 75% off the retail price the two days after Christmas.
17. If you enjoy sewing or are interested in learning how you can save tons of money on blankets. Use those old clothes that have become worn, cut them into patterns, and make a quilt! Besides saving money, these quilts make a wonderful heirloom and bring back fond memories. Save old shirt sleeves and pants legs from alterations for the quilt also.
18. Don’t buy rags from a store just to use them as rags. Cut those worn towels and hand towels into smaller pieces. These are wonderful for dish rags, dusting rags, bathroom cleaning rags, and washing the vehicle.
19. Buttons on old clothing can be reused again and again. They can be sewn onto new clothes, used for counting practice for small children, and used for various craft projects.
20. Do kids have holes in the knees of their pants? What kid doesn’t sooner or later? Don’t throw the pants out, make the pants into shorts or sew colorful patches over both knees. This adds more life to the piece of clothing.
21. You can save at least $10 per head if you cut hair at home. I save $40 a month by cutting hair at home. I paid $25 for a home barber set, which paid for itself the first month. No, the kids don’t have the latest fad haircut, but they are nice looking and look cool too.
22. Are you paying too much for your prescription medicines? Try getting a generic brand next time. Every generic medicine I have ever used is just as good as the nationally known brand but costs much less. For those that need a lot of different medications on a regular basis, the cost can run into a hefty amount.
23. Prepare meals at home. Eating out gobbles up your money! Buy foods that you have to cook, rather than already boxed or made. Save the boxed and frozen meals to make on those sick days or when you absolutely cannot cook a meal. Set yourself up a time to eat out, once a week, once a month, or just when you are gone all day and must eat out. Make eating out a special occasion, not something you do just because you don’t want to cook.
24. Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. You end up buying more than you intended. Make a grocery list before leaving the house. Then stick to it!
25. If you must buy name brand items, search for items you have coupons for or that are on sale. You can save more if your store has double and triple coupon days. Sales and coupons combined with a prepared shopping list add up to great savings.
26. Eat less meat at a meal. Use “stretcher” meats like ground beef, tuna, and chicken. Cook the meal with the meat added into something else, such as you own made at home “Help That Hamburger Out” concoction, soups, or stews.
27. Rent a video rather than go out to the movies. If you’d rather go to the movies, check out the theater’s bargain time and day. Resist the urge to buy expensive popcorn, candy, and drinks. We used to sneak our drinks and snacks in. It saved us tons of money!
28. Going out for the day and need a cooler for drinks or food? Use your own ice, rather than buying a bag or two of it. The day before, start emptying up those ice trays into a container. It’s an easy way to save yourself a couple of bucks.
The term “green living” is heard frequently now that we are becoming more consciously aware of the impact our choices have on the environment and on the future.
Possibly, when considering our current economic situation, the term “elastic living” might be a good way to describe the lifestyle many of us find ourselves needing to adopt.
My definition of elastic living, which is my basic lifestyle, is living on a budget that requires stretching dollars as far as possible. I’m certain that in today’s economy there are many like me who are trying to get the most out of each dollar they earn.
Green living and elastic living can function as complimentary lifestyles. Both lifestyles discourage wastefulness and encourage resourcefulness. Both lifestyles urge us to recycle, reuse, and reinvent the purpose of an item to avoid throwing it away.
The various ways in which you can develop an elastic lifestyle depends somewhat on your individual needs but there are a few general suggestions that can help you stretch your dollar. Apply the following ideas to your way of living and shopping and add ideas of your own.
You can stretch your household expense dollars by shopping at discount and dollar stores. Paper products and personal hygiene products are usually less expensive at these stores than at specialty or grocery stores. Stock up on items when they are on sale. Make your own cleaning supplies from inexpensive products such as vinegar and baking soda.
You can find instructions for making your own products at various websites. Obviously, you will spend less if you use less. Reducing the use of paper towels and using washcloths and towels instead will help you with both green living and elastic living. Washing dishes is a better choice than using paper plates and cups that add to the accumulation of trash you have each week.
You can stretch your utility dollars by turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees, depending on the season. Dress more warmly or add an extra blanket in winter. Use a small fan to circulate air in summer. Ceiling fans are beneficial year round. Take advantage of a sunny day. Raise the blinds to let the sunshine warm a room in winter. Hang your clothes outside to dry rather than using a clothes dryer. It is best to keep the blinds closed on a sunny day in the summer so that the air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard.
You can stretch your grocery dollars by planning your weekly menus according to weekly sale items. Less expensive cuts of meat can be used in slow cooker recipes. Marinating meat is also a way to tenderize it. Use rice or pasta to stretch hamburger or chicken. One of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill is to grow your own vegetables. Fresh herbs in the store are rather pricey. Herbs are easy to grow and require little space to be grown in. A container garden can provide an abundant amount of fresh vegetables in the summer.
You can stretch your leisure activity dollars by seeking at local, free events such as concerts in the park. Find activities to enjoy at home. Family game time is a great leisure activity that doesn’t have to damage your budget. A family picnic or a romantic picnic for tow can be inexpensive but incredibly enjoyable. Take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood or at a dog park.
On a final note, as a work of caution, it is important that you do not neglect certain things even if you find yourself in need of adopting an elastic living lifestyle. If you stop and think about it, elastic will last longer when properly cared for. The same works for the elastic living plan. There are some things you need to properly care for, even if it pinches the budget, in order to ultimately save yourself some money.
Medical costs are high but your health is an area that you should not neglect. Explore all of the possible options for saving yourself money in this area but don’t neglect to care for your health.
Home improvements can be tough on the budget but in some circumstances, a little money spent can save you a significant amount of money over a period of time. Spending money to insulate your home is just one example of money well spent to ensure future savings.
It is also important that you properly maintain your car with regular servicing and good tires. Regular maintenance can be less expensive than major repair that might be the result of neglect.
1. Mulch is an important part of your garden. It helps keeps the weeds out, and it helps keep the plants warm, watered, and safe. In order to make my mulch even more effective, I save old newspapers for a week or 2, and I make use of it before I mulch. I have found that laying layers of newspaper down before mulching is a great way to maximize the potential of your mulch. This means that you will not need as much to be effective. This tip is eco-friendly and good for your garden.
2. Another way to save money and maximize your growing season is by starting seeds indoors in the late winter. Many seeds can be started indoors such as tomatoes, dill, peppers, beans, snapdragons, and daisies. Seeds are much cheaper than buying already grown plants, and they can usually be found sold 5 for a dollar at your local dollar store.
3. I always start my seeds indoors in February, and I find this is fun because by the end of the Christmas season I am in desperate need of some gardening. I use empty soda and water bottles to start my seeds. I simply cut them in half and plant in the part with the cap. I will also put holes in the cap, and rest the plant in the other half of the bottle. This lower empty half can be filled with water so that the plant will water itself.
4. Another way of saving money and time on plants is by growing perennials. Perennials will constantly grow back, and they will come back bigger than the year before. Perennials are amazing, and they can be separated in the fall and planted in other areas to keep your gardens expanding. Many fruit bushes are perennials such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Some great perennial flowers are lilies, hostas, irises, mums, and daisies. Many herbs are perennials as well, and they will grow quite large.
5. Trading plants are a great way of getting plants for cheap. If you see a plant you like approach the owner. A nice garden suggests that the person is proud of their work, and they will be open to talk about their garden. If you are growing perennials or have an abundance of seedlings started in your house you can ask for a trade. I have accumulated many plants this way. There are also many websites where you can trade plants. All you have to do is pay for shipment.
6. Another way of getting free plants is to check your local area. Different areas have different natural flowers. I have procured many daisies and tiger lilies from my area. When you are digging up these plants just remember to leave some in the area so that these perennials can grow back. I also find it useful to bring some plastic bags with wet paper towels already placed in them. This will keep the plants watered while you are transplanting them. The plants can be left in these for some time before being planted.
7. There are many things found in the garbage or around the home that can be used in your garden. I use old pieces of lattice or wood for my beans to grow on. Old chair frames are also good for this purpose and they can be tied and staked to the ground.
Invert it and rest it on the garbage pail. This will allow for maximum rain gathering and storing potential. This water can be transferred into pails, or it can be transferred to the garden by attaching spickets to the bottom of the pail and hoses that run along your garden.
The spicket can then be turned on and the garden will be watered from the pressure of the elevated garbage can.
Gardens are a lot of fun, and they provide beauty and nourishment, but they can be costly and time-consuming.
These tips will help you maintain a lovely and productive garden in a timely and inexpensive manner.
Step 1. Establish a budget. This is for decorations, greetings, snacks, and gifts. Determine that the two of you will not exceed it at any cost. Keep a written ledger, of what you spend and a running total.
Step 2. Think simple. You don’t need the extra lights on your home. Those will come with time. You can still show off your house decorations, by using the lights that are already there. If you have outdoor lights, center some outdoor decorations in front of these lights. Place your tree in the center of the front window of your home for display.
Step 3. Think Natural for decorations. Take your spouse and head for the woods. Make sure that you aren’t trespassing. You can get pine cones, acorns, and fir tree limbs to garnish your home. Pine cones and acorns look fantastic with a coat of lacquer on them. The smell from fresh cut evergreen adds to the home decorations.
Evergreen looks great on bookshelves or on a mantle or countertop.
Step 4. Rearrange the furniture in your home. Balance your furniture with small holiday decorations. Small decorations on a table, shelf or mantle goes along with the simple idea above.
Step 5. Look for coupons and even exchange them with a friend for baking and cooking supplies. Magazines and newspapers are loaded with coupons for the holidays. Clip them out and talk with other couples about making a few trades. However, be careful. Sometimes generic items are still cheaper than popular brand names.
Step 6. Gift exchanges. Take advantage of these. If you make out a list, place tree decorations as an item. This makes it simple shopping for you and it serves a good purpose. Always try to be as specific as possible about what you need.
Step 7. The value of the wrapped candy cane. These can be used on a tree. They are ideal for snacks and other unique decorations, too. They can even be used with a Gingerbread House. The same can be said about using popcorn strings on your tree.
Step 8. Wrapping paper. Instead of buying expensive paper, use the newspaper funnies. Use boxes that are furnished from department stores. Don’t worry about the store’s name or logo. It is probably on your gift anyway.
Step 9. Potluck. If you are having friends over, always ask them to bring something along to share for the meal. This will reduce your grocery bill. You could even do the same with beverages.
Step 10. Christmas Cards. Since postage has gone up, we only mail to those at a distance. The others are hand given. Keep a list of who sends you cards for the next year. that will determine who you give them to. Speaking of cards, they are great for adding to your holiday decorations. I display them in groups of three or four at strategic locations throughout our home.
Step 11. Buying for each other. Keep gifts to a reasonable amount for yourselves. You are in this together. Don’t try to outdo each other. That will only cause a guilty feeling and add to your holiday stress. You don’t need that.
Step 12. Buy an ornament that has the year on it. Try to add one each year. It is a great way to reminisce about holidays past.
Finally, always turn off electrical decorations at a set time each night. Leaving them on all night can run up your electric bill. Young couples want to have a great first-holiday experience. They can do so by sticking to their budget and relying on each other for support.