Wednesday, March 6, 2013

{Guest Post} Four Tips to Becoming A Money-Saving Parent

Written By Jiro Watanabe


Being a mom is hard enough. You have to take care of your kids, keep the house clean, and manage the family budget. If you are a stay-at-home mom, making ends meet with one income can be especially difficult. Even if you are a two-income family, things can still get rough in today’s economy. Whatever your situation is, there are always ways to cut costs.

Shop Smarter
Where you buy things can make a big difference on how much you spend. Almost every frugalista out there is a strong proponent of thrift-store shopping. Of course, you do not have to buy the items that look old and worn out unless you want to, but a lot of times you can find those barely-used items. Find out what days your local thrift stores re-stock their shelves, and one of the first ones there to get the most options of quality goods.

Look for alternative ways to buy common items. If you need a new car, you could go to a new car lot and pay way too much, or you could go to a used-car lot. When you buy used cars, you avoid the biggest depreciation hit. The 2013 Honda Odyssey, for example, starts at $28,600, but the 2008 Honda Odyssey starts at $13,600.

Time Matters
Yahoo suggests purchasing produce items in the evening since the prices will probably be reduced so the store can get rid of it while it is still good. The time of year can also make a difference. At the end of every season, stores clearance out whatever items are remaining. Life on the Frugal Side points out that you can save hundreds by buying clothing and beauty products when the new-season items are about to arrive.

Consider Bartering
Bartering is making a comeback, and there is no reason you should be left out of the fun. The idea is that you trade something you have for something someone else has. Or better yet, trade one of your talents for a talent of someone else. Are you good at cutting hair? Why not trade your mechanic friend a haircut for a car repair?

Stay Home
Going out with kids can be expensive. Living on a Dime believes that kids don’t care what they are doing as long as they are having fun and are with you. They will have as much fun running around with you in the backyard or park as they will going to the zoo. You can also take advantage of the library for some free entertainment, including books and movies. Do a quick browser search to find what local entertainment is in your town that's either free or low-cost.
  • Check out your town's community calendar
  • Get involved in community sports
  • Play board games or card games
  • Go to a local pool, when weather permits
  • Go to a local playground
  • Build a cardboard castle
  • Go on a hike or a long walk

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