Budgeting Money 5 years ago Share Tweet Nowadays keeping money in the bank is more important than ever. You can’t avoid spending money altogether, but you can find ways to be thrifty without making major sacrifices. Try our easy, money-saving tips to keep more dollars in your wallet and more smiles on your family’s faces. Ways to Save Money Bring your lunch to work instead of buying food daily. Pack up last night’s leftovers or make your own specialty sandwich and take it to work. Avoid trips to the vending machine where items are often overpriced and keep a stash of snacks at your desk for when the munchies come. Start every day with a hearty breakfast, which is healthy for you and will also help cut the cost of lunches when you do eat out. A morning meal will decrease your appetite when lunchtime comes around, meaning you’ll spend less on food. Cook at home a few times a week. Making meals at home generally costs less than eating out or ordering in. Cook large quantities of food at a time and freeze it for later to save time and money. Use your mealtimes together as a family bonding opportunity. Minimize impulse buying by making a shopping list and sticking to it. You’re less likely to buy groceries you don’t need when you have a list to guide you through the aisles. Browse grocery store ads and catalogues before you go shopping and plan your meals ahead of time around this week’s sales. Scope out advertisements, invest in a good pair of scissors and cut coupons. Look through newspaper ads for great deals and check online for printable coupons on items your family loves. Check out competitor’s prices when you’re considering big purchases, like appliances or electronics. Some stores have a price match policy that can make purchasing more expensive products easier on your wallet. Sign up for free reward programs at your favourite stores and make your purchases count. Many stores have programs you can sign up for that lets you collect points for the things you buy and rewards you with gift certificates, coupons or discounts. Cut back on your Foxtel bill by dropping some premium channels you don’t watch often. If you’re not home often enough to watch TV regularly, think about cancelling your pay TV package altogether and catch your favourite shows online. Consider consolidating your pay TV, phone and internet to save money with bundle packages. Buy in bulk to get the most bang for your buck and pick up items your family uses regularly that can be stored for long periods of time. Stock up on toilet paper, paper towels and detergent when they’re on sale and buy bigger boxes of cereal and larger bottles of soaps and shampoos. Skip the cinema when you aren’t dying to see a movie and wait for it to come out on rental. That way, you can watch it as many times as you want with as many people you want for a smaller fee. You can also swap movies with friends instead of renting them. When you do take a trip to the cinema, check out shows before 6 p.m., which are often cheaper than movies with later showing times. Go to your local library and check out books instead of buying them. Your library will have a great collection of new releases and classics to choose from for free! Some libraries will also have music and movies available to borrow with a little fee. Carpool with people in your area when you go to work to save gas and help the environment. If possible, see if you can rearrange your work schedule to consolidate your hours into fewer days to save time and eliminate the cost of a commute. Cancel subscriptions or memberships to places or items you aren’t using frequently. Cut back on magazine subscriptions and borrow from a friend after they’re doing reading or read the online editions. If you aren’t making it to the gym on a regular basis, cancel your membership and great creative with your workout. Skip the treadmill for a run in the park or do some yard work for heavy lifting. Plan ahead and look for deals when travelling or going on holiday. Cheaper airline tickets, hotel rentals and other packages can be found if you book them in advance. Consider taking family holidays during the off-season when lower demand mean lower prices. Have a swap party and exchange items instead of going to the store to buy new clothes, household items or toys for your kids. It’ll be a good excuse to clean out your closets and drawers and is an easy, money-saving way to get new-to-you items for your family. Things that you’ve outgrown may become treasures for friends and family and vice versa. Cut back on household bills with simple things such as using natural light and flipping a switch when you leave a room. Unplug computers, mobile phone chargers and other electronics when they aren’t in use to save on electricity costs. Turn your taps off when you don’t need the water and make sure there’s no water dripping before you leave the room. Time your shopping and buy things when they’re out of season. Shop for summer clothes when summer is ending and stores want to clear their shelves for new merchandise. Take advantage of holiday sales and go shopping a few days afterwards to get cards, decorations and wrapping paper for next year at discounted prices. In general, head straight to the sale section and browse around there first. Take advantage of free entertainment available in your area. See if your local community centre or parks and recreations department has any programs you can do with your family for free. If nothing else, stay in and make your family time fun with board games, crafts or a movie night at home. Nowadays, it’s important to make a dollar earned a dollar saved. But a smaller budget doesn’t have to mean a duller lifestyle for your family. Cut back on the frills and find creative ways to save money. After all, the best things in life are free—or cheaper, at least.