(Family Features) The average family is always looking for ways to save a little bit of cash. While some efforts to save money may seem small and insignificant, it’s beneficial to look at the big picture. By saving here and there where you can, the amount can really start to add up.
From eating out less often to selling unwanted items in a garage sale, there are many ways to keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket. Here are several ideas for families who wish to be wiser with their dollars:
Cut back on entertainment
Do you have a cable package with all the bells and whistles? Is your entire family on a first-name basis at the local movie theater? Consider reducing your entertainment expenses and opt instead for less expensive, family-friendly activities, such as camping trips, hiking adventures or visiting a free art gallery. These activities are typically more enriching on a physical, intellectual and emotional level and increase family bonding — which is always a great thing.
Reap the rewards
From grocery store chains that offer gasoline discounts to clothing retailers who offer special member incentives, rewards programs provide truly great perks for families trying to save some dough. Even popular search engines are joining in on the fun of rewarding members for their loyalty. For example, when people sign in to their Microsoft Account to search for anything on Bing.com, they can earn Bing Rewards credits. These credits can be redeemed for everything from airline miles, gas points, summer blockbuster entertainment and gift cards to major retailers and restaurants. On average, people can earn credits worth the equivalent of more than one coffee per month with Bing Rewards.
From clothing to cars, you can typically find a gently used version of something you need at a much better price. Look for specialty stores who sell used video games for the little ones. Or, if you’re in the market for furniture or unique gifts, the local antique dealer or flea market is a great place to check out.
Get rid of unused items
Encourage every family member to clean out their drawers, closets and spaces to get rid of things they no longer use. Start a yard sale or take the items to a consignment shop to earn extra cash. You can also donate the items to a local charity for a tax deduction. If you find that sentimental attachment keeps you holding on to too many items, ask yourself if the item has been used within the last six months. If it hasn’t, that usually means it’s time to let it go.
Adjusting to a budget doesn’t mean you have to cut out the many joys of traveling. For a fun weekend getaway, look for camping sites at the local state park. If roughing it isn’t your thing, there are many websites that showcase rooms or homes you can rent for vacation. These options are usually run by the homeowner and offer an affordable and unique alternative to a mundane and often overpriced hotel room.
Give homemade gifts
Family life comes with its many gift-giving opportunities — from birthdays to holidays to special life milestones. Because these occasions happen often, all of the purchases can add up. Put your creative juices to work and visit your local craft or hobby store for homemade gifts your family and friends will treasure. Whether it’s a bauble-adorned picture frame, a dozen fresh-baked cookies or a dip mix in a jar, gifts made by hand show that you put time and thought into creating them. For a finishing touch, include a special hand-written note along with the gift. You can also give the gift of your service or time through acts such as babysitting, housesitting or taking care of a pet while a loved one is out of town.
Purchase hand-me-down items
For growing families, clothing purchases can add up fast, especially with multiple kids. While shopping, choose clothing in colors suitable for boys and girls, such as green, yellow and orange. You can then pass down this wardrobe to the next child in line, limiting the amount of money you spend on clothing they will quickly outgrow.
Be smart with utilities
Encouraging your family members to adopt small, money-saving practices can save you big on monthly expenses. Simply turning off lights when they aren’t in use, reducing shower times and using a clothesline are just a few ways to reduce overall household consumption. These activities also offer an important lesson to children about conservation and sustainable practices.
By adopting a few of these money-saving activities, you can see the savings pour in. To search for more great tips, visit www.Bing.com.
The Internet is a great resource for many things — especially when it comes to searching for good deals. Check out these ideas to put your time online to good use:
- Used Goods
Shop online for auction or list sites to find the best deal for the goods your family needs. Some of the best finds for used goods online include cars, lawnmowers, musical instruments and appliances.
- Save by Searching
Did you know you can earn credits towards free goods just by searching online? Visit www.bing.com/rewards to sign up, and start earning credits to put to use at your favorite retailers.
- Amazing Apps
There are numerous apps that work hard to save you cash. Look for those that locate the cheapest prices on gas, coupons from local grocery chains and even those that help you to easily budget your finances.
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