Shopping on a Budget: 5 Ways to Save Money Now

saving-moneySaving money is something we all strive to do better. Whether it is buying groceries,  extracurricular activities for our children or just the occasional special dinner our money seems to go out faster than it comes in. According to the Statistic Brain, the average American family savings account balance is $3,800 and 25 percent of American families do not have saving at all. No matter what the status of your savings are, saving money can be possible. Check out some of our tips to help get you on the right track.

Track all your Finances
Before you can find areas you can save, you need to know where your money is going.  Mint.com is a great site that tracks your expenses for you—for free.  It doesn’t get much better than that! If you have Excel on your home computer, that is another cost effective way to track your spending. Other sites like Intuit have more robust tracking features, but you do have to pay for those.

It may seem like a lot of work, but after 30 days of tracking all your expenses you will be amazed at where your money is going

Set a Budget
Once you know how much you are spending, it’s time to set a budget. Can you really spend only $200 a month on your grocery bill? This blog post outlines how this mother  of three cut her grocery budget to $250 for her family of five. When budgeting, make sure to plan for fun as well—going to the movies or out to dinner is something you can do. Just make sure you budget it accordingly.

Become a Crazy Coupon Lady
Who says coupons are only for the crazy ladies? Saving money is saving money. Sites like couponmom.com and coupons.com are great places to start. These types of sites usually are a great resource for not only coupons, but great money saving tips. A win, win! So grab your favorite coupon organizer, and hit the pavement ready to save.

Become the Family Planner
We have all heard making a grocery list helps save money, but how many of us actually put pen to paper every week? , make it a family activity to plan the following week’s meals. Not only will you have a better idea of what needs to be purchased, you get much needed family time as well. You can even make a game out of it. Who can plan the best meal for the week–nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.  Don’t have time to plan every week? TheKichn recommends creating a default grocery list for those weeks you just can’t round everyone up.

DIY
Labor costs add up—no matter the product. If a business has to pay someone, you are seeing that in the price of the product/service. Instead of paying for name brand cleaning supplies, opt for the off-brand or better yet make it yourself. You can be surprised what you can do with some vinegar and baking soda.

Have you found some great money saving tips for your family? Share them in the comments below.

Image Credit: Technorati

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