Pinching Pennies Part II

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Last month I wrote about financial stress and the toll it can take on a family. Read Part I here. This month I would like to share some specific money saving tips I have employed this week. For the sake of time and convenience, I am simply listing these suggestions.

* Pack your own food. Whether is is going to the mall, zoo, or park, packing your own food saves money. If you aren’t a fan of packing your lunch/dinner, it still would be a good idea to pack food for your kids. The two of my 14 month olds, eat as much together as one adult. The more kids you have, the more expensive it is to eat out. Simple as that. I can buy a lot of groceries for $30-$40, which is a rough estimate of how much it would cost the 4 of us to go some place other than the Pita Pit or Bob Evans!

* Choose outdoor activities. Parks, picnic areas, walking paths, pools, farms, outdoor concerts and festivals are all great activities that cost very little money. Search your counties website for weekend activities or festivals. We are planning on trying out a Greekfood festival this month, and a movie-in-the-park night.

* Invite people over to your house. As a SAHM, the fastest way to crazy-town is to be isolated with few social contacts. Make friends with your neighbors, invite them over, blow up the kiddie pool, pass out iced tea and enjoy another adults company while the kids run and play.  Being social doesn’t have to mean fancy dinner parties or expensive restaurant meals.

* REDBOX. Have you heard of this wonderful gem? Perhaps not if you live in a more rural area, but I bet it will be coming your way soon! Redbox is just that, a red box in various locations (ie grocery store). You use your email address and debit card to rent a new release movie…for $1! If you don’t return it by 9pm the next night, they charge you another $1, but still, it is a great deal. Reserve your selection online and you can be confident that the movie you want is in the box.

* Shop around for car insurance. When our rates went up (again), I started shopping around. Would you believe I found a reputable company that will cost us 50% less!? Many car insurance companies factor in your credit rating, so if you have less than perfect credit, shopping around could be especially helpful for you. Bundling your homeowners insurance can increase your savings.

* Save your leftover coffee. Making your coffee at home has been splashed all over the news as a great way to cut costs. So much so, that the coffee giant, Starbucks, is now offering incentive programs! I love my morning cups of coffee, but if I only have time to drink one, I pour the leftover coffee into a pitcher in the refrigerator. Voila! Instant iced coffee for MoM in the afternoon when I am hot, tired and am in need of a treat!

Okay, I know those were random tips, but I employed all of them in the past week. Which means I am not going to feel too guilty when I go get a pedicure tonight with my new mom friend/neighbor!

Feel free to post your best money saving tips in the comments section! We love hearing what you have to say!

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