Teaching Money Matters

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Ninety-Six Ways to Save Money

Here is a list of strategies to use to help you spend less and save the extra money. By finding ways to save money yourself, you set an example for your children and grandchildren to model the rest of their lives. Encourage your children and grandchildren to save their own money as well. Look through the list and see which suggestions appeal to you. Start with one or two ideas and increase the number of saving strategies throughout the year.

  1. Understand the difference between needs and wants. When you are thinking of buying something, ask yourself, “Do I need it or do I just want it?” If you decide not to buy it, deposit the money you didn’t spend into your savings account.


  1. Check out the store brand products instead of the name brands. Very often they are much cheaper and just as good.


  1. When buying gas, compare the prices at the local stations. The prices change frequently and it is a good idea to note which station has the lowest price on any one day. To save even more, consider pumping the gas yourself. Pay with cash instead of with a credit card whenever possible.


  1. Comparison shop using the unit price labels on shelves. You can save many dollars a year by comparing unit price labels this way.


  1. Learn to comparison shop for all items. Teach your children to comparison shop for products they are interested in. Compare prices in different stores and online.


  1. If you need to buy snacks and drinks from vending machines on a regular basis, try bringing your own and see how much you save. Remember to deposit this savings into your savings account.


  1. Try buying children’s outdoor gym equipment from garage sales. These items can be very expensive if bought new. You can find some huge savings on these items during the times when garage sales are available in your area.


  1. Consider buying your birthday, anniversary and holiday gifts throughout the year. Excellent savings can be had when you purchase the items ahead of time, on sale, and save them for those special occasions.


  1. Shop at the end of the seasons. There are frequently clearance sales that offer large savings.


  1. Buy holiday items such as wrapping paper, ornaments and cards after the holidays when they are selling for large discounts.


  1. When you go shopping, keep your credit cards at home. PAY CASH ONLY!


  1. Don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. You’ll probably buy more than you would if you were not hungry.


  1. Use coupons, circulars and ads for discounts. Collect the money you saved and deposit it into a savings account. Over the course of a year, this money can add up.


  1. Try to buy extra grocery items for future use when they are on sale. Buying additional paper goods such as towels, paper napkins and toilet paper when they are on sale can save money. Buy meats when they are on sale and freeze them. Almost any nonperishable item that goes on sale can be bought in quantity and used later on, resulting in savings for you and your family.


  1. If your children tend to beg, plead and coax you into buying junk food, sweets or toys you weren’t planning on purchasing, learn to say NO.


  1. Check out available coupon books to use when you eat out. Check your local schools and organizations to see if they are selling them.


  1. Visit yard and garage sales. You can very often find items in excellent condition at reasonable prices.


  1. Instead of buying the newest technological advance as soon as it is available, wait until it becomes cheaper.


  1. Go shopping with a list. Try to avoid impulse buying.


  1. Check out the Dollar Stores. You will be surprised at what you can find there.


  1. See if you can find what you need on e-bay or Craigslist. Many individuals have claimed to have saved a lot of money through these programs.


  1. Try selling materials and items you no longer need on e-bay and Craigslist.
  2. When buying carrots, buy the big ones that you need to peel. The baby pre-peeled carrots are more expensive.


  1. Take advantage of free samples when they are offered. Remember not to be induced to buy what you don’t need.


  1. Before you go shopping, check all your supplies. Ask yourself, “Is my supply almost gone or can I wait before I buy more”? Are you using up what you have?


  1. Check out some thrift shops. Items will be cheaper and it recycles.


  1. When you eat out in a restaurant, order water instead of a drink. Save the money from the drinks.


  1. Grow your own vegetable garden.


  1. Eat at home more and in restaurants less. Involve your children in the meal preparation. It will help them to feel more self confident when it is time for them to live on their own.


  1. If you eat your lunch each day at your local eatery or restaurant, try taking your own lunch to work several days a week. The money you save can be deposited into a savings account. This savings can add up over the course of a year.


  1. If you buy a gourmet coffee each day, brew your own coffee at home. Put it into a thermal container and take it to work. Deposit the money you save each week into your savings account.


  1. Use left over dinner meals for lunches. They can even be frozen for future use.


  1. Try to have three meals a week without meat.


  1. Check out the restaurants you like to frequent. Many times they serve lunch meals at a reduced price. This can become your main meal of the day. They may also have Early Bird Specials, dinner meals reduced if eaten before a designated time.


  1. Pay your credit cards bills “WHEN THEY ARE DUE” and avoid high interest charges. Pay your credit card bills “IN FULL” and save on high interest rates.


  1. Keep track of all the money you spend. Carry a notebook. If needed, use an online program to help you monitor all the specific details of monthly expenses. You may even check out an online calculator. These steps will help you to identify areas where you may be able to cut back on your spending.


  1. Create a budget. Discipline yourself and your family to stick to this budget.


  1. Periodically check out your insurances (health, life, car, etc.) to see if you are paying the best rate.


  1. Check all your credit card and bill statements for errors. You may be able to save yourself some money.


  1. Cut up old pajamas and shirts to use as dusting cloths.


  1. See if you can avoid paying unnecessary fees such as for ATM machines, checking accounts, credit and debit cards. Shop around to see where you can use these services with no or lower charges.


  1. When opening a checking account, look around for one that is free or at least one that has no minimum balance.


  1. Check the Credit Unions in your area. Frequently, they offer higher interest on deposits and free checking. Compare them to your bank.


  1. If you think you can live without them, drop extra features from your phone services like Caller ID and Call Waiting.


  1. If you don’t already have direct deposit, stop by your bank or payroll department and fill out the forms. Your money will be deposited into an account of your choosing. It can make it easier to save some money.


  1. Do you have a talent, hobby or interest that you can use to earn some extra money on the side? Whatever extra money you receive can be deposited into your savings account.


  1. Do you have cable? Do you really need and watch hundreds of channels? Have you checked out your cable company’s basic plan or at least a cheaper option? If you do, remember to deposit the savings into your savings account.


  1. Learn to read and understand your pay stub. It is an explanation of where your money is being spent. Here are just a sample of some of the items you may see on your pay stub: Gross Pay, Net Pay, Federal Tax Deduction, State Deduction, etc. Check out what’s on your pay stub and make sure you investigate and learn what they are for.


  1. Keep your money in a high yield savings account instead of in a checking account.


  1. Buy and use Energy Star appliances which can save you much money in energy costs.
  2. Some electric and gas utilities provide free or low cost home energy audits. This service can help you save quite a bit of money. Check with your own utility to see if they provide such a service.


  1. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.


  1. Let your dishwasher air dry instead of using the heat cycle.


  1. To save on your heating bill, wash and rinse your clothes in cold water.


  1. Turn the lights off when no one is in the room. You’ll save money and energy as well.


  1. Adjust your thermostat 2 degrees when you leave your house and no one else is home. Thermostats with time settings are available.


  1. Instead of using your dryer, hang your clothes on an indoor or outdoor clothesline.


  1. Try recycling gift bags and wrapping paper. It’s good for the environment as well.


  1. Weather strip your doors and windows as well as insulate your hot water heater.


  1. Turn off the television when you are no longer watching the programs. It is costly to let it play for hours on end just for background noise.


  1. Change your light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs (CFL). They cost more initially, but they are more energy and cost efficient in the long run.


  1. Compost. It will provide you with a wonderful, rich material for your garden and save you money on buying soil.


  1. Quit smoking Deposit the money you save on the cigarettes into your savings account. It is better for your health also.


  1. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to see if you can use generic medicines as alternates to the ones you are using now.


  1. Check prices of the same medicines at different pharmacies and at mail order pharmacies. The cost can be more or less expensive at various locations.


  1. Walk and bike whenever possible, instead of driving your car. It is cheaper and also healthier.


  1. If you have a local Farmer’s Market near you, buy your fruits and vegetables there. They will probably be cheaper and fresher. In addition look for stores that sell both perishable and non-perishable items in bulk.


  1. When the flu season comes around, check to see if your local pharmacy or supermarket is providing free or lower priced flu shots.


  1. Instead of renewing your magazine subscriptions, take the magazines out of the library for free.


  1. Watch movies at home, instead of going out to the theatre.


  1. Reuse your plastic bags. You can use them to line small garbage containers.


  1. Make a collection of money you find on the street.


  1. If you have a garden, plant perennials instead of annuals. They will come back year after year.


  1. Use cloth napkins during your meals instead of paper napkins.


  1. If you tend to spend a lot of your time shopping, consider involving yourself in a hobby. It may keep you out of the malls and perhaps open up new and interesting experiences for you.


  1. Drive slower. Use your cruise control if you have one. The faster you drive the more gas you will use. Check out the speed limit.


  1. To lower your car insurance rates, take a defensive driving course.


  1. Keeping your car in good shape can also save you money. Checking the oil, engine and tires can add to the life of your car as well as to your wallet.


  1. When running errands, plan your route and combine your errands. It will save you gas.


  1. Don’t let your car idle unnecessarily.


  1. Check out traveling off - season if you can arrange it. You may find you pay better rates.


  1. When traveling by plane, check to see if there are days and times that are cheaper. For example, sometimes if you stay over on a Saturday evening, travel on certain weekdays or buy your tickets so many days in advance, you can get a lower fare.


  1. When renting a car look around and compare rates, offers and discounts some of the rental companies may be giving.


  1. When you plan on renting a car, check with your automobile insurance company first to see which coverage you already have. This will save you the expense of purchasing coverage you already own.


  1. If you are expecting to do any sightseeing, check out museums, etc. to see if they are offering any free admissions during the day and time you will be visiting.


  1. If you are a senior citizen, take advantage of the senior discounts that are available in your area.


  1. Investigate to see if your company provides on – the – job training for you to take advantage of. It may help you get an advanced position sometime in the future.


  1. Teach your children to save by using three jars or containers. One will be for spending, one for saving and one for sharing.


  1. Let your children see you working on your family budget. Explain to them how your family spends, saves and shares money. See our book Teaching Children Money Matters: A Resource Guide For Parents, Grandparents, Teachers and Students


  1. Teach your children to use credit cards wisely. See our book, What Every Preteen, Teenager and Young Adult Needs to Know to Avoid Credit Card Debt. 21 Statements that may affect your child’s financial future.


  1. Let your children go shopping with you Explain the prices of various items. Help them become aware of the cost of various items and materials. Talk to them about comparison shopping.


  1. Encourage your children to find additional jobs and chores for them to earn extra money. Then discuss how they can spend and save some of the money they have earned.


  1. Open a savings account for each of your children. Let them make deposits regularly.


  1. Encourage your children to save for long - term goals.


  1. Hold frequent family discussions regarding finances. In addition to discussing money management, use the time to correct any misunderstandings your children may have about money matters.


  1. If you need a credit card, use one that will give you points to reduce hotel, car or flight costs.


  • Check your savings account after trying the above suggestions and be amazed at how it has grown