8 Incredible Money Saving Tips for February

8 Incredible Money Saving Tips For The Month Of February

Save money this month with these great money saving ideas that are perfect for the month of February.

You’ll learn where the February deals are so you can:

  • Save money on tax software,
  • Save money on furniture,
  • Save money buying a house,
  • Save money eating out,
  • And a whole lot more!

We think you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy all over when you see the things you can do in February to save money.  If you can find some ways here to save on the February purchases you would need to make anyway or to get more out of your budget or planned expenses, we’ll feel all warm and fuzzy too!  Here we go!   

1.  Be on the lookout for drastic discounts on entertainment and recreational purchases right now.  

The winter is lingering at this point, but it’s not nice enough to do much outside yet.  The mass is getting antsy here, folk, and businesses know that!  

Cable and satellite companies want to give you something to do while you are still stuck indoors, and you’ll see some good introductory deals to grab your attention right now.  Now don’t get cable if it’s not in your budget, but if it is, or you want to find a competitor’s deal that will lower monthly bills, you’ll find some good lock-in prices and incentives right now.

You can also find some good prices and deals on season passes right now if you take the time to go to some websites of amusement theme parks, water parks, sports team sites, and fitness centers with gym memberships.  

Additionally, you’ll find outdoor sports gear like ski and snowboarding supplies and indoor fitness equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills on sale during February. 

Is that cabin fever getting better yet?

Another great recreational deal just got better in February too, and this one will give you savings all year long.  

Entertainment Books from Entertainment.com are now 50% off!  (Until February 13, 2015)

You probably already know that when you use these well-respected coupon books, you save money on eating out; on hotels, airfare, and travel; on movies, events, and attractions; and everyday things you purchase at many of your favorite local stores like Target, Office Depot, Gap, and Michaels.  

With one modest annual purchase of an Entertainment Book, you are saving money throughout the year.   Even at a regular price, this purchase adds up to fantastic savings.  Half off?  That’s even better.

Purchase Entertainment Books here: All 2015 Entertainment Books are 50% OFF with Free Shipping, only at Entertainment.com! (Valid 2/06/15 – 2/13/15)

Money Saving Tips

2.  Purchase hot-weather home purchases now before the warm weather really comes your way and prices begin to rise right alongside the temperatures.  This is true whether you are buying those items new or used.    

 First of all, if you see summer items like grills, lawn mowers, or room air conditioners on the shelves in February, before all the stores begin getting filled with summer items to sell to the masses, chances are you are seeing some left-over models that will have lower list prices on them than the newer models will have.  

Not only may these year-old models be lower priced than the new models will be, the stores may have lowered their list price even more to better guarantee this inventory off moves off the shelves to make room for new products coming in.  

Even if you know you are going to have to purchase these things but plan to do so on Craigslist or some other local buy and sell group, you will have a much better chance getting it cheaper now than when everyone else has realized they need the very same thing.  Supply and demand can really be seen in play when it comes to one person selling one item and lots of people wanting to buy that one item!  

Money Saving Tip_Save Money on Furniture

3.  Keep an eye out for good deals based on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

There will be sales galore on jewelry BEFORE Valentine’s Day as jewelers compete to offer treatment for that romance bug going around this time of year.  

(NOTE:  April usually boasts some pretty major discounts on jewelry as well.  Just tossing that out there so you know!)    

You’ll also see some good sales prices on perfume before Valentine’s Day.  It’s hard to find flowers discounted right now, so if you want something sweet smelling and you don’t have your heart set on giving flowers, maybe perfume would be the way to go instead.  Or maybe this is just the time to stock up on perfume!  

Candy will be there for thrifty shoppers AFTER Valentine’s Day.   You know, some of those cute little boxes of Skittles and stuffed animals might work quite well for Easter baskets.  Some of the chocolates might work quite well in a gift basket for Grandma on Mother’s Day!  

Then we’ve got President’s Day where you can easily find huge discounts on mattresses and furniture at most stores that sell those items.   

For those who want a good deal on used furniture this year, watch for the very first nice weekend after President’s Day to see if some people who just purchased new furniture then will put their older furniture out to sell.  These pieces of furniture may alternatively arrive at Goodwill the Saturday after President’s Day.  You might even find these new furniture buyers have placed ads on Craigslist right on President’s Day since they are home and trying to make room for their newly-purchased furniture collections.  

4.  If you are buying Turbo Tax or other tax preparation software and have not purchased it yet, you will most likely get a better deal on it this month than if you purchase it closer to April 15.  

As with everything else, if you know you are going to purchase it anyway, buy it when it is at its cheapest price instead of holding off and paying even more.   Being prepared and moving forward at the right time is one money saving tip I can not emphasize enough. 

If you have not yet purchased your Turbo Tax software, you can purchase it here to make use of Amazon’s offer to get 10% more money from your federal refund.  Shop Amazon – TurboTax – Get 10% more on Top of Your Federal Refund

5.  While December and January may be great months to purchase a house at a lower price, February may still yield a healthy list of desperate home sellers willing to negotiate a great price on a new home for your family.  

 Save Money on a House

Here’s the deal – Some of the houses that were put on the market during the winter months may still be on the market.  These sellers were motivated enough to put their house up on the market at a bad selling time to begin with.  If after the lean winter months (by lean I mean fewer buyers out and about) a house is still there, those sellers may be getting a little antsy.  

Add to the mix that spring buyers and summer-moving families are not quite moving about yet.  In fact, it may be at least a couple more months, and possibly longer than that, where sellers might expect to see activity substantially pick up.

This might be where the rubber meets the road for some of these sellers.  When you combine a motivated and possibly now slightly-frustrated seller with the thought of having to hold on to their listed house for an even longer period of time, it is possible you could be looking at some of the lowest list prices (and possibly most highly-motivated sellers) you will see before the spring housing market starts up in full force again.  

If you are going to be in the market to buy a house anyway this year, consider your ability to write a contract on a house in February.  If you are ready to fly anyway, jump out of the nest a little early, and take advantage of that worm.  

6.  If you are in college or plan to be in college soon, you should be applying to every college scholarship you can this month.   This may not save you money right now, but it will sure save money in college later!  

I don’t think many realize that many businesses and organizations still offer scholarships for college.  However, while there still are many of these available, you have to apply before the deadline for each one to be considered for them. 

What even fewer people realize is that the scholarship opportunities for this upcoming fall are quickly going to pass you by if you don’t act soon.  Many of the application deadlines have come and gone.  Many are still available, but you may start finding fewer and fewer to apply for after February.

If you are a parent, get that FAFSA done ASAP for your child!  If you are a college student returning to college or a high school senior entering college this fall, get your parents going on that FAFSA if it is not done already.  (Be nice guys, but you can remind mom and dad at least… or make sure they are aware of how important this is.)

Here’s a good place to get started on college scholarship searches:   http://www.fastweb.com/.   

7.  Plan dinner menus and recipes around food that is in season during the month of February or that is on event sales at your local grocery store.

You can save money at the grocery store and still eat healthy if you eat seasonally!  And yes, there are still seasonal fruits and vegetables in the winter!

Here are some of the fruits you can find on sale in February:

Oranges, Tangerines, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemons, and Raspberries

Here are some of the vegetables you can find on sale in February:

Cabbage, Spring Onions, Celery, and Red Potatoes, Russet Potatoes, White Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, and Cauliflower

Money Saving Tips for February

Do a web search for seasonal fruits and vegetables in the United States (or wherever you may live), and find out what seasonal fruits and vegetables are available to you at a lower cost in February.  Also check the grocery store circulars for sales.  If you see something coming up for sale over and over again at different stores in one given week, that’s probably an indication that it’s priced at a low seasonal price.

It’s good to save money now.  It’s even better when you can do something healthy for your family during the dead of winter.   

8.  Take advantage of the numerous national days and national holidays in February since these days spur stores and restaurants to offer coupons, promotions, and sometimes even free samples, free activities, and free food products.  

February is National Cherry Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Heart Month, National Fiber Focus Month, and National Hot Breakfast Month.  There are probably some more national months or days out there as well.  

Now take a look at all the special days in February:

http://nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/february/

You know that these very smart stores and businesses like to have a reason to put something on sale to get people to notice them above the competition, so keep your eye out for sales that may correspond with the above national days, national weeks, and national months.

And for those of you who want to plan ahead to a special national day and to be prepared to move forward when the price is right, keep March 3, 2015 available for FREE PANCAKES AT IHOP 2015!  

Hey, I told you all above to be ready so you could move forward when you saw a good deal, didn’t I?  

See, sometimes I do know what I’m talking about.  🙂  

Hope you find yourself saving money with these great money saving tips for this month. 

If you know of other ways to save money in February or can tell us how to save more money than we have talked about here, let us know!  

10 Ways To Save Money This Year – Part 1

10 Ways to Save Money This Year_Part 1

It’s still early enough in the year that you can stick with your New Year’s resolution to do a better job with your money.  These 10 ways to save money this year will help you save your money as well as help you build a savings even with a tight budget or a tough economy.   

What can you do to save money this year? 

1.  Be determined to save money every day.

If you make a pledge to yourself that you will act wisely with every single decision you have come your way this year, even every small action or choice that comes your way, and you can be faithful to that pledge at least most of the time, you WILL make a dent in your personal finances.

You may not be perfect.  You may make a mistake.  You may already have made a mistake this past month.  That is OK.  God gives grace.  It is OK to accept grace upon yourself then too.  

Just go back to wise decision making the very next time you have something come up in life you need to act on (which I’m guessing will be almost immediately as life is FULL of changes that demand either our money or our discipline).  

Dieting works best if you get right back on the horse if you fall off the bandwagon.  The process of wise financial decision making is the same.  

Just remember:  You’ll always have chances to either spend extra money or make a good choice the next time around.    

2.  Find ways to save on groceries.

This might very well be where you can save the most money on living expenses.  It is where your snap decisions – or your prior planning – can either make or break you too.  

While keeping rule #1 (making the best financial decisions you can make) in mind, learn how to save money on food.  

If you don’t know how yet, learn how to do that!  

There are plenty of websites, blogs, and youtube videos that help you learn how to save money on groceries.  There are some extreme coupon sites that will match store sales WITH coupons and even cash back or gas rewards.  I have already posted some good money saving tips from other sites right here at padoozles.com and have pointed you towards some good sites that teach how to save in this very hands-on area of your budget.

Additionally, cell phone apps now make it even easier to find the lowest sales prices on any given food product and to match it with a manufacturer’s coupons.  I WILL be posting some of the best of those phone apps for you once I have some more time to try mine out a little more.

Just checking grocery store weekly sales ads, finding the lowest cost meats and/or produce that week, and then finding recipes for the week based on those loss leader items will save you money.  Yes, you can save a lot of money on groceries without coupons!  

There are many ways now to save money at the grocery store.  If you don’t know how, take this year to learn and to make some good grocery store shopping habits that can become a part of your life.  

You’ll save money as you are learning and trying things too!  

3.  Take steps to pay off any credit card or debt as you can but only as you can.  How do you eat an elephant?  You know the answer!

If you can pay off a credit card, more power to you!  You have freed up some money as well as done a good thing for your credit score.

However, if you are not to where you can pay off anything yet, pay at least a few dollars more on each one while eyeing one of the smallest ones to pay off the first.

When I have a balance due on a credit card, the minimum I pay is something rounded UP from the minimum listed on my credit card statement.  For instance, if the statement says I owe $46.95, I pay $50.00 or maybe even $55.00 (or maybe a little more if I am trying to actually pay THAT card off first).  But I ALWAYS pay something rounded up from the minimum on EVERYTHING.  

You know why I do that?  It is because I find a sense of satisfaction in knowing I have just outsmarted a computer, especially a computer that is judging my credit worthiness and /or my credit rating.   Boy, does that feel good, and at a time when hard financial times can sometimes overwhelm a person, feeling smarter than a computer can give a person a real sense of accomplishment and general well-being!  

So far as my family dollars go, I have just paid an additional dollar or two… or twenty… or forty… or 15 cents or 45 cents more.  (Yet get the picture.)  Whatever I can do rounded up for each and every one, I will do.  So far as that computer knows, I have not only paid off my minimum, I have paid MORE than my minimum.

Oh, I don’t know if that really makes a difference to that computer or not, but it SURE makes a difference in my positive feelings and emotions!  I feel GOOD paying off something that some computer says is more than my minimum.

You know what too?  It has helped me begin to instill a sense of paying off debt.  Even if I am paying off just a few dollars more of my debt each month, at least I’m doing that much.  …. And that much feels really good and makes me want to keep doing that more and more.  

Try it, and see how it feels!  Such a monthly exercise might just help you eventually find the strength, courage, and fortitude you need to take the first steps to pay down debt as quickly as possible then!   

10 Ways to Save Money This Year_Part 1

4.  Take advantage of a tough economy that affects businesses. 

While you never wish hard times on anyone, hard times happen.  Sometimes any business or transaction at all, even though it might not be optimal for the other side, is still welcome and in fact, sometimes life saving.  

Restaurants need to entice people to eat out instead of eating at home.  If you have any budget amount to eat out and have those recreational funds to use, look for great deals from restaurants.  I remember when I saw my first “kids eat free” sign years and years ago.  That was a bad economic time too.  I looked at the sign and then at my two little daughters (at the time) and said “I guess even recessions have a silver lining”.  

Also, retail stores that go out of business or declare bankruptcy need to empty their inventory.  It’s OK to purchase items from them when this happens because they can’t do anything else but sell their things at this point anyway.  Look for those close out deals, and if you feel badly for them, say a prayer for the employees you see still working there.  They may not know their future.  Their inventory though…  It needs to go, and you are helping them all at that point.

5.  Take steps to save money on monthly bills and utilities.

Your utility bills, your auto insurance payments, your property taxes, etc. are all pretty big chunks of your monthly budget and living expenses.  While there may not be a lot of personal choices there, there are some actions you can take to make sure you are not overpaying… or paying for something you really don’t need to be paying for… or SHOULDN’T be paying for.

Examine your monthly accounts, your monthly statements.  

First, are you getting overcharged for something or being charged for something you did not know you had?  If so, make notes so you will have that info so you can call the company and ask what that is all about.  You may find out there is an error.  You may have accidentally added a service you did not want or realize you had added.  You may discover some hidden charges from a company that is customary but which you did not realize you had to pay with that company.  Such information helps you to see where hidden money is going out the door and also helps you determine if you want to even stay with a particular service provider or not.  

Also when looking at your utility and monthly service bills, also ask yourself if there is some way you can cut down on that monthly expense.  Can you save on electricity use?  Can you use a timer in the shower?  Would you consider air drying one or two loads of clothes every week?  Can you cut the cable and do without cable bills if only for a set amount of time to begin with?  

After you have examined your bills and monthly expenses, then take that one important step to call your utility providers and service contractors to clarify any charges, remove any additional, unneeded features or services you don’t need, and negotiate a lower contract if you so choose to then.  

When changes of provider services are available, be ready with other provider’s offers so you know you COULD go somewhere else if need be.  (Sometimes changing might JUST BE the way to go too!)  If you current provider wants you to stay, and in a bad economy… they usually do…. and if they give you a good enough offer to stay with them, you have just saved yourself a chunk of money every month.  

If you do that with EVERY utility and service provider, you have saved that much more!  Those savings do add up.  

We will continue with “10 Ways to Save Money This Year” in the next post.  

In the meantime, take step #1 above, and go from there!  Begin right now with the attitude that you will consider every decision here on out with wisdom, sensibility, and a  bit of old fashioned horse sense.  When you begin to make wise and sound financial decisions, you will definitely find yourself in better financial shape in the coming days!  

10 Ways To Save Money This Year continues, so keep reading!  

10 Great Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Talking heads may speak of the rising cost of living like it’s something new, but it’s not.  We parents know we have always had to deal with the high cost of gas, rising food costs, and high electric bills.

Moms and dads are pretty used to saving money to make ends meet on an everyday basis, and they are generally pretty good at stepping up to the burdens of a bad economy.

It’s not the everyday challenges that are the hardest usually.  It’s the special purchases that usually take the wind out of families.  It’s generally items such as birthdays, recreation, vacations, and holiday gift giving that pay the real price.

There are ways to make life better and increase your family’s ability to enjoy some of the nicer things.  Learning how to save money in all areas and budgeting income and expenditures will be your best plan of action for your family’s day to day needs.

However, finding ways to save money at Christmas time will help your family during that special time of year.

One way to save a lot of money is to learn how to save money on gifts.

To help you in that respect, here’s a list of 10 great ways to save money on Christmas gifts.

Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

There are easy ways to save money on holiday gift giving, and some of those ways can actually be quite fun! Step up to the challenge of saving money and having a good time too!
_____
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

1.  Make a list of who you’ll be purchasing gifts for; set a budget for each one, and stick with your plan.

This can be one of the best money savers available no matter what your budget is and whether you have tons of people to buy for or just a few.  Writing names on paper well before you even purchase your very first item of the season, considering what you have to spend, and determining what specifically you can spend on each one on your list, is a smart process that will help you see the entire picture more clearly and help you know right up front what you can and can not do.

If money is tight, having a list and an overall plan of action you know you need to stick with also helps you stay on track as you go through the aisles filled with all sorts of products you had never thought of previously and probably shouldn’t spend money on.

Basically, just remember to make a list and check it twice, cause spending money unnecessarily is naughty, not nice.

2.  For large extended family gatherings, suggest and organize a Secret Santa gift exchange or have some fun with a white elephant gift exchange.

Create an event, and make the event fun.  If your family likes games, include some organized games with the exchange, or include a Christmas reading, song singing, simple craft activity, or even organize an outdoor Christmas caroling activity along with the gift exchange.

To get some ideas on what to do for a family gift exchange, here are three good websites to get you thinking:

Elfster

Secret Santa

Santa Lady’s White Elephant Gift Exchange

3.  Shop early for seasonal and monthly deals; then enjoy the Christmas deals.

Great Christmas gifts are available in the months preceding the holidays, and smart moms and dads can reduce the costs of Christmas as well as reduce the amount of holiday stress by taking advantage of monthly and seasonal specials throughout the year.

For instance:

Best buys for September include bedding, towels, iPhone accessories, bicycles, and grills.

Best buys for October include toys, lingerie, gardening items, and blue jeans.

November is the best month to purchase HDTVs, GPS units, and Blue-ray disc movies.

You can get great deals on cookware in late November and in early December.

Of course, you can always wait to see what last minute deals the stores offer in December as well, and there will be some.  However, if you make your shopping season a little longer, you raise your chances of finding the best deals on the regular kinds of items your family and friends would desire and/or enjoy the most.

4.  For unique Christmas gifts, combine old and new.

A pretty vintage mixing bowl found at the local thrift shop, cleaned and shined up of course, filled with specialty bread mixes or bags of homemade brownie mix can be a great Christmas gift for Grandma or for anyone who enjoys and appreciates older home items.   An old fashioned tin box can be filled with a new set of earrings.  An antique canister set can be filled with hot pads, hand towels, or (in thinking about my mom right now), Hershey Kisses.

The lower cost of the thrift shop item can offset the newer item’s cost, making the price of the gift a little less overall.

Make sure you tailor the new item(s) to the interest or need of the receiver so they’ll get use of it, but don’t be surprised if you see your thrift shop find on display in their home after Christmas with an even greater appreciation.

5.  Make your own Christmas gifts.

You can find many nice crafts for Christmas gifts at stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, and many online craft websites offer supplies, DIY projects, and directions.  Even some of the larger magazine publications like Better Homes and Gardens and celebrities like Martha Stewart provide Christmas craft ideas for gifts.

A great site with several craft websites is Frugal and Thriving at:  http://frugalandthriving.com.au/2009/35-of-the-best-craft-websites-across-the-net/.

Plant gifts can be nice homemade gifts as well, especially when planted by a grandchild’s hands.

Some other ideas for saving money on Christmas gifts include:

6.  Order Christmas gift baskets with free delivery, or make your own gift basket and save even more.

7.  Create your own edible food basket or fill a wicker tray with baked goods.

8.  Purchase a family membership to the zoo, a local theme park, or the local children’s museum during the off season when it is the cheapest time of year to do so, and prepare a creative presentation for your family to receive the family Christmas present that they will enjoy for the next entire year.

Such a gift saves on recreation costs during that next year as well then!

9.  Plan a Christmas family break during Christmas and enjoy an inexpensive family getaway during the holidays in lieu of focusing solely on giving presents to each other on Christmas morning.

While you might still want to bring along a few wrapped items for the kids, traveling itself and giving time to each other can end up being an enjoyable life experience that costs far less than a bunch of purchased objects.

10.  Don’t be afraid to purchase used items from Craigslist, Ebay, thrift shops, and pawn shops when you can find the items your kids want at an inexpensive price.

We purchased all of our children’s toys at a thrift shop one year, and while it wasn’t the greatest for us parents (due to other factors going on right then in our lives and knowing how tough times were for us) our kids LOVED what they received that year anyway.

The rest of that story is that the next year we were able to purchase all kinds of fancy smancy toys, and all they played with were the boxes!

Enjoy the preciousness of this moment in time with your children more than any precious things you can buy, and give whatever you can of yourself, knowing that the love alone which you give to your family is worth far more than gold.

And one more thing to remember…

During good times and bad, when it comes to Christmas gifts, we have all already received the best gift of all, Jesus Christ, and nothing, NOTHING you give now could even top that best gift of all.  Cherish it.  Claim it.  Cling to it during times such as these, and pass that gift onto your children too.

Saving money on holiday spending can be a little hard if you aren’t prepared, but if you begin in advance thinking of ways to save on holiday gifts and commit yourself to making this a joyous season no matter what you can or can not afford right now, you’ll go a long way in making this upcoming season a better one for you and all those you care for most of all.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season with the greatest gift of Joy available to mankind!

How to Save Money for Christmas Gifts Even on a Tight Budget

Let’s say you want to save money for Christmas shopping but your family budget is already pretty tight.  Still, you have kids to buy for, gifts for Grandma and Grandpa to purchase, a family or service member you want to help during the holidays, and not much, if anything, in the bank.

Basically, you know you need to find a way to save money for Christmas, and you just don’t know where you can get money to save.

Even if you just have 6 -8 weeks left until the holidays, there are ways to save money that can put a substantial amount in your Christmas savings account for gifts, no matter how tight your finances might be.

 

How to Save Money for Christmas Gifts

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Save Money for Christmas Gifts

1.  Find a special but safe place for your dollars and change.

If your family bank account will work for you, use that, but keep a balance sheet of the money you put into the account for gifts.

Better yet, start a second account you can keep going after the holidays to add funds to for gift giving, holidays, or just extra family expenses as you determine you want to do after the new year.

Perhaps the best way to save money on such a short term basis is to find a large, glass jar (or other such container) where you can place savings into and in which you feel would be secure.  Make it a container with a large opening which permits you to easily put your saved dollars and coins into and which you can easily see progress.

Also, to make full use of this way to save, pull out some cash from your bank account and have cash on hand to go into the savings jar.  Until it is put there, keep it in your wallet for use as routinely needed.  When you know it can be used on a purchase you might not really, really need or saved for Christmas gifts, you’ll be more likely to NOT want to use it and will find ways to not use it if at all possible.

2.  Sit down as a family and list ways you think you might be able to save money quickly and for only a short period of time.

Sometimes family members will give up something that seems important to them for a couple of months whereas they don’t feel they would want to give something up completely.  Even just a few dollars on something each week can add up to quite a bit, and if you can save just a few dollars on 10 different things each week, you’ll see amazing results you never thought possible.

Consider these tips for possible savings, thinking about where YOU  might have some wiggle room to save some bucks for 8 weeks:

Save $1.50 for each load of laundry you dry outside as opposed to drying the items in your clothes dryer.  Is this something you might be able to do even just ONE time a week?  That wouldn’t be so bad, would it, and you might like the fresh smell of your linen!  Remember, we are talking about just doing that for one load per week and for only 8 weeks.  $1.50 x 8 weeks = $12.00 saved.

Save $6.00 each week by cooking a thrifty meatless meal one time per week, saving on the purchase of meat.  $6.00 x 8 = $48.00.

Save $20.00 a month by downgrading to a lesser cable package (or to none at all) for 8 weeks.  That’s just 8 weeks there, guys… 2 months… at a savings of $20.00 per month.  $20.00 x 2 = $40.00.

Save $25.00 a week by substituting a low cost noodle or rice recipe with your weekly trip to McDonalds or Taco Bell.  Remember, it’s only for 8 weeks, and if your kids just can’t tolerate the loss completely, eat the low cost dinner at home and just go to McDonalds for an ice cream cone or a value drink from the value menu.  $25.00 week x 8 = $200.00.

Save $2.00 a week by limiting (if your family drinks a lot of) or eliminating (if your family doesn’t drink a lot of) bottled or canned soda purchases and substituting that amount for drinking water from the tap.  $2.00 x 8 = $16.00.

Have a game night at home in lieu of going to the movies for two times over a two month period.  $30.00 x 2 = $60.00 saved.

Get an extra gallon of gas basically free of charge by filling your tank early in the morning when the gas is denser (the thought is you would get more), or find other ways to save gas.  Estimated savings of $4.00 (per tank) x 8 times (if you fill it up one time per week) = $32.00 saved, (and yes, put that in your big saving jar!)

Save $10.00 a week using coupons, or making an effort to use more coupons than you have been doing.  $10.00 x 8 = $80.00.

Save $10.00 a week by researching local sales, planning meals around the sales, and purchasing loss leaders in the grocery stores.  $10.00 x 8 = $80.00.  (Disclosure, you can save a WHOLE lot more than this amount doing this, but this is assuming you’ve never done this before and will be learning, or that you have already been doing this and will have to learn to do it even better during your 8 week period.)

Save $10.00 a week by setting your thermostat at a higher (or lower) setting than you might otherwise set it at.  $10.00 x 8 = $80.00 saved in 8 weeks.

Total saved in 8 weeks – $648.00

Now there is a list of just 10 things which could be planned for just 8 weeks alone, and that list alone results in a total savings of $648.00 saved for gift giving!   Can you imagine how much more you could save in 8 weeks if you could think of 5 to 10 more areas of thriftiness, discipline, and savings!

You may have a different list of areas where your family could sacrifice or tune up on.

However, the purpose of this exercise here was to show you that even though small things may not seem big, they become big when multiplied by 10 (things) or 8 (weeks), etc.

So sit down with your spouse and children, and have a talk about what things you might be able to do, for even 8 weeks if need be, and start putting that dough into your cash jar!

3.  Agree to put some amount of cash away each week “just because”.

Even $5.00 a week put into savings equals $40.00 in 8 weeks.

Total NOW saved in 8 weeks = $688.00.

Take your active savings one step further by generating some funds one additional way now.

4.  Find one item you don’t need in your home anymore and sell it, (or have a yard sale), and add those proceeds to your Christmas savings account.

Even just a $30.00 sale will put your total savings over $700.00!

Grand total saved in just 2 months for Christmas presents = $718.00!

You may have already fine tuned your expenses so much that you can’t save quite that much.  OK then, sell a few more things, start a short term home business selling pumpkin rolls to your friends for their Thanksgiving dinner, or take on a seasonal job for a few weeks!

Perhaps you have the ability to save even more than this if you just could find and develop the discipline to do so.  Creating a specific period of time with a specific goal helps people develop the strength they need sometimes to begin or carry out a new good habit.

Then, when all is said and done, and you actually have some funds for Christmas, make the best use of your savings by finding great deals on Christmas gifts!

Whatever your situation, abilities or goals, you can save money for those holiday gifts and gift baskets you would like to give to those whom you love so much throughout the entire year.

Save Money on Groceries, But Not With Extreme Couponing

Save Money on Groceries

Is using coupons the best way to save money on groceries, or might there be a better way to do that?

Save Money on Groceries

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have to admit that I have always wanted to be the coupon queen, but I’ve always fallen short of having the skills, knowledge, or ability to purchase hundreds of dollars of grocery items for just about nothing.  (Or so it seemed anyways.)  I just never knew what kept me from being able to be the master, or should I say mistress, of the aisles!

Most of the time I just didn’t » Read more