Money Saving Tips for 2011

money saving tips for families in 2011

I was asked recently on twitter what my top money saving tips for families in 2011would be. I sat down and started to write them out, when I realized all I really had to do was comb through the archives of this blog to come up with a top ten list. You see, my money saving advice doesn’t change much from year to year. I do think it’s important to revisit our goals often though, so I did think a  list of money saving tips for families in 2011 was a list worth writing.

In order to make this list the most comprehensive however, I knew I’d need to go outside the walls of this blog and pull in from other sources. What you see here is a list of  my Top Money Saving Tips for Families, not just from my blog…but from the entire blogosphere!

1. Shop with coupons, a list and a menu in mind

coupons

Smart grocery shopping should start long before you set foot into the grocery store. You must be a strategic shopper to get the most bang for your buck, and that starts at home! My first suggestion would be that you sign up for my free e-book Saving Money In 7 Days. My second is that you take some time and join a few communities filled with frugal minded folk. Here are a few of my favorites:

In addition, immerse yourself into the culture of strategic shoppers and spend some time checking out these awesome money saving blogs:

Remember that coupons aren’t only available in your local paper. You can follow me onfacebook or twitter and get notified anytime I find a hot coupon or deal. You can also print coupons from these awesome coupon printing websites:

Be sure to read my free e-book if you are new to couponing or if you feel the need for a refresher. You can also check out my recent article on Momtastic about How to Eat Healthy on a Budget.

2. Cook at home as often as possible

house

Okay, this is my personal biggest weakness. I love to eat out, and would probably eat out 5 nights a week if it didn’t wreak such havoc on our budget! Truthfully, it’s no good for your waistline either, so cook at home as often as you can.

If you know you’ll be short on time, you can block off a day each weekend and cook ahead of time for the week. Or simplify your dinners and eat things that are quick and easy. No matter what you do, eating home is almost always healthier and cheaper than eating out.

I have resolved that in 2011, I will post many more frugal recipes. Feel free to peak through the ones I have up now and be sure to come back for more. Here are some other great sites with awesome low cost recipes:

Eating at home every day can be tough if you have an active lifestyle. It can also be boring and stressful (especially if you are pretty much the only one doing the cooking and cleaning!), so work eating out nights into your budget. You’ll have more fun cooking if you know you get a break every now and then!

3. Don’t outsource your entertainment!

family fun

That sounds silly doesn’t it? It also kind of sounds (when you put #2 and #3 side by side) like I’m trying to turn you into a hermit. Seriously though, while the occasional movie or game of bowling can be great family fun, it’s also ridiculously expensive. Don’t rely on fun centers and movie theaters to provide entertainment for family time. I give several suggestions on how to have family fun on a budget in this post on Budget Savvy Diva’s blog.

In addition, here are some low cost alternatives to finding entertainment for your family:

  • Netflix-A subscription to Netflix has provided hours and hours of entertainment for our family. The instant streaming alone is worth much more then they charge for it (shh…don’t tell them I said that).
  • Groupon-Sign up for Groupon in your city and watch for deals in your area. They will often have discounts to places our family enjoy. In addition, you can sign up for these Groupon like sites as well…I’m signed up for all of them: EversaveCity DealsSavvy SourceNo More RackPlum District and I’m sure there are a million more that I’m forgetting!
  • Restaurant.com-If you are planning on eating out, check Restaurant.com first and see if you can buy a discounted gift certificate to your favorite restaurant through them. They typically have their gift certificates for $10 for a $25 GC, but at times they release coupons which can make the GC as low as $2 for $25!

There’s no reason to pay full price anywhere you go. Entertain your family for less and put money aside for even bigger experiences (like a big Disney vacation!).

4. Look for creative ways to make money

Craft Inc

Your bottom line doesn’t have to be your bottom line. I am of the firm belief that everyone has a marketable talent. You can read my article about turning your passion into cash and making money from your hobby. Do you sew? Do you write? What makes you…you? Think of all the things that you can do or the things that you know and try to think about where there is a demand.

I sew and I blog/write. I get paid for doing each of these things because I enjoy them and I do them well. Now don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to get rich quick…but you could build up a profitable business that one day could create a full time income for your family. You never know if you don’t try!

Want to start and monetize a blog? Read my series here. For a more in depth look at how to set up a money making blog, you can check out these awesome blogs:

  • Blogging With Amy-a must if you plan to set up your own wordpress blog. Follow the steps on her sidebar and you’ll be up and running in no time. She is such a sweetheart too and responds to all of her comments
  • Blog Tyrant he’s kind of newer to the scene, but I like him better than some of the other so called “gurus” out there. Plus the fact that he is keeping his identity a secret is strangely appealing to me, LOL. Another huge appeal to Blog Tyrant is that he is super active in his comments. You know if you comment on his blog, he will answer.
  • ProBlogger although his advice doesn’t really appeal to me lately. There’s some great stuff if you dig in the archives.

Of course, blogging and writing is not for everyone. You need to figure out what your unique marketable talent is and pursue it. No matter how hard you assume it will be to make money, multiply that by ten and I promise it’s harder. I also promise it is so worth it.

5. Get paid for doing things you already do

money tree

Now this kind of fits into the above tip, but not really. What I’m talking about here isn’t necessarily building a business or getting paid for a hobby or craft. I’m talking about getting paid for the everyday things that we do in life. Shopping, playing games online, gathering up recycling, etc. Now, I absolutely guarentee that you won’t get rich by using Ebates or Shop at Home or using Swagbucks, but pocket money is good too…right?

Many small streams turn into a river…so let’s get those streams a-trickling! (okay that was lame even for me)

  • Swagbucks-while swagbucks has not made me rich…it has made me well over $100 in Amazon gift cards with almost no effort on my part other than searching for stuff I already search for. Easy peasy and worth it.
  • Cash Back for Shopping Sites
  • Survey sites

Get paid for doing things you already do and earn yourself a bit of extra spending money!

So these are my top 5 money saving tips for families in 2011…what are yours? What helps  your family save money and get ahead? Let me know in the comments…maybe I’ll do a part 2 with reader tips!

Family Friendly Frugality-Want to learn about frugal living? 

A Southern Mom Loses Weight-I will lose 100 lbs in 2011. Watch me.

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