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20 Money-Saving Hacks for Parents

20 Money-Saving Hacks for Parents

Regardless of your marital status, income, number of children or the amount of debt you carry, you want to save money. There are countless ways to save, but it helps to take a general, broad look at the ways parents can save throughout the year, in different areas of their lives. The following 20 hacks will help you save money across the board, from groceries to travel to gift giving.

Groceries

American families spend an average of $146 to $289 per week on groceries. Begin saving today with the following hacks:

1. Plan Meals Around Deals

If you want to save at the grocery store, everyone knows that planning is essential. Do your research and find out what will be on sale for the upcoming week. Plan meals around those sale items and use a recipe website if you’re lacking creativity.

2. Use Couponing Websites

Couponing is a time-consuming art form, but one way to ease into it is to use couponing websites. These sites remove the need to sort through pages of circulars and cut out what you need. Instead, you can search the databases for what you need. Try The Krazy Koupon Lady or Passion for Savings.

3. Create a Cooking Group

If you’re close with your neighbors, consider creating a cooking group. Each family in the group cooks dinner one night per week for the other families in the group. This way, you can enjoy a few nights off from cooking, as well as added savings from buying cooking items in bulk.

4. Order Online

Be honest with yourself and admit if you’re an impulse shopper. If you are, it might be wise to get your groceries delivered. Or, you can order ahead and pick up your groceries to avoid going into the store altogether. While these services come at a cost, it might be worth it if you’re prone to impulse buys.

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Gift Giving

Does it seem like your budget is shot every month because of birthday parties? Your kids won’t have to miss the parties if you consider the these hacks:

5. Stock up on Gifts for Birthday Parties

Toys go on sale every January, so use this time of year to stock up on a variety of inexpensive gifts. Keep a stockpile and add to it whenever you spot a good deal. Set a limit for yourself, such as no more than $5 or $10. When the inevitable party invitation arrives, visit your stockpile instead of the store.

6. Have Your Kids Hand Write Cards

Instead of paying $3 or $4 for a birthday card, have your kids create one. Kids love to get craft and people love handmade cards. Plus, your wallet will appreciate the added savings, come the end of the year.

7. Opt for Christmas Wrapping Paper in Solid Colors

Purchase Christmas wrapping paper after the holiday season at a discounted rate. Choose papers in solid colors like green, blue and red, and then use it throughout the year for birthdays and other holidays.

Kids’ Clothing and Toys

Clothing is a necessity and toys are important, too. Save money by purchasing clothes at the right time and finding toys in the right places. Consider the following tips:

8. Shop During the Off Season

Clothing is expensive. Smart shoppers gauge their children’s sizes and shop in August for the next warm season and at the end of February for the next winter season. Get into the habit of doing this every year, and the savings will be significant.

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9. Join a Toy Library

Toy libraries rent or lend toys to families. It’s a great way for your kids to receive something new to aid their development — and it also teaches them responsibility. As they care for the toys, they learn the concept of borrowing. Plus, they get to experience a variety of toys at very little cost to you.

10. Embrace Consignment

There are many different ways to consign today. Clothing exchanges, consignment stores and online mom swaps make it easy for anyone. But online consignment stores likely provide the most options.

Vacationing

Planning a vacation usually comes with some anxiety as you consider the costs involved. If you want to save money on your next vacation or make your vacation dollars stretch as far as they can, consider these hacks:

11. Join a Home Swap

Instead of paying hefty hotel fees, opt for a home swap. You can explore other countries and live like a local. The experience will be rich, and your dollars will stretch much further. Websites like Home Exchange match you with an appropriate swap family.

12. Avoid Busy Travel Days

This is a simple hack, but it’s an easy way to save. Flying Monday through Thursday is cheaper than flying over the weekend, but Wednesdays are the cheapest. Plan your trip from Wednesday to Wednesday to get the lowest fare.

13. Plan Early or Late

Planning early comes with many perks, such as being the first to book at the lowest costs. As soon as you get your child’s schedule for the upcoming year, plan vacations around days off. Opt for non-holiday days off from school, such as teacher in-service days, to avoid spiked rates. On the flipside though, spontaneity is sometimes rewarded through last-minute deals.

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Social

Children become involved in more activities as they age, and parents immediately notice how expensive it is to stay involved with social activities such as sports and clubs. Consider the following tips:

14. Make Playdates

Instead of opting for “Mommy and Me” classes that cost money, socialize with other moms and babies by creating your own group. Use social media to connect with area parents or try Playgroup Meetup.

15Implement a One-and-One Rule

There are many free activities to participate in if you look in the right places. When your children become interested in joining clubs and sports groups, implement a “one-and-one” rule. This means they can join one paid activity and one free activity every season. Examples of free activities include reading groups or story time at the library.

16. Create a Babysitting Co-op

Check out local churches and community centers for babysitting co-ops, or groups of parents that agree to help one another babysit at no cost. If there isn’t one available in your area, create one. Also, there are sites to help connect families such as Babysitter Exchange.

Bills

You don’t have to like them but you can budget for them. Get your monthly budget in the green with these simple strategies:

17. Check Your Family Plan

Cell phone bills are a big expense, and they typically grow every year, especially as your children become responsible enough for a phone. Check out the site My Rate Plan to see if you’re overpaying. And be sure to shop around for better rates every year.

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18. Cut the Cable

There are many ways to enjoy television without paying a hefty bill. Streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu offer more economical options for TV than cable.

19. Minimize the Water Bill

Reduce your water bill by replacing leaky faucets and adding aerators to them. Aerators reduce water flow by up to 60%, which can equal a huge potential saving. Fill a plastic milk container with stones and place it in the back of the toilet tank if you don’t have a low-flow toilet. This technique will minimize the amount of water needed to fill the tank.

20. Only List Teen Drivers Under One Car

To save money on your car insurance, only list teen drivers under one vehicle. List them as occasional drivers on the least expensive car to pay the lowest rate.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to cut costs throughout the year with minimal effort. What are some of the hacks your family uses to save money throughout the year? Share in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Steven Depolo via flickr.com

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Published on October 28, 2020

13 Books on Money to Transform Your Finance Management

13 Books on Money to Transform Your Finance Management

One of the most obvious measures of our success is our wealth. That said, that statement alone can be taken in various directions. Some people think it’s a matter of how much wealth you have. We, on the other hand, believe that it’s more of how much you’re able to retain and manage from month to month and year to year.

Below is a list of books on money that we believe will transform your way of thinking about money management in several ways. From sparking interesting conversations about it to making plans for your financial future, this list covers many aspects of finance management.

How to Choose a Good Book on Money

To help you find the best books on money to reach your personal finance goals, we’ve done the research for you and have formed this list of criteria.

  • Relevant – Even though money has been around for a long time, the economy has changed a lot over the years. We want to ensure you the books recommended are offering relevant advice that would be ideal in any financial environment.
  • Offers a system – Financial advice is great, but it doesn’t always stick. Each book should overall provide tips and habits that will allow you to build a system to help you manage your money.
  • Sparks conversations – Reading about money is one thing, but these books should also encourage you to talk more about money with those around you to some extent. Even though we all have our own ways of managing money, discussing money can have merits in some circumstances.
  • Practical – While these books provide general financial advice, they should remain practical in that the advice should be obtainable for people to achieve. Most people don’t have the funds necessary to start a real estate business, but they can put away a few hundred dollars into a savings or investment account every month. Practical books will help you achieve your goals.

1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich

    As the title of the book suggests, this book delivers on a plan to be rich. The author, Ramit Sethi, has a background in personal finance and provides a detailed six-week plan for living out a “rich life.”

    This book on money covers a wide variety of aspects like using credit cards and maximizing rewards from them, opening a high-yield savings account, and automating accounts where you can save money with no effort from you at all. This book is filled with nothing but pure actions that are outlined and sectioned off in a good way.

    Buy “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” here.

    2. The Automatic Millionaire

      Another one of the great books on money that will help you build a system is The Automatic Millionaire. Written by David Bach, a financial writer, this book focuses on our ability to automate our finances and builds a system based on that.

      The idea with this book is to give you the knowledge and information to put together a system in an afternoon that will make a large impact on your financial future for the better.

      Buy “The Automatic Millionaire” here.

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      3. The Simple Path to Wealth

        The principles from this book on money were first presented by the author to his daughter through a series of letters. As such, you’d expect there to be plenty of actionable advice when it comes to investing and overall saving. Considering the direction of the book further, this book is light and has a casual tone to it. That said, it won’t shy away from complicated explanations. It’s one of the highest-rated personal finance books around and it’s clear why it is.

        Buy “The Simple Path to Wealth” here.

        4. Retire Before Mom and Dad

          This is a book for those who are looking to be involved in the FIRE movement. FIRE stands for Financially Independent, Retire Early, and it’s clear why many people are striving for this or considering it.

          This book delves into the principles and acts as a primer for this movement and going down this path. That said, it also considers other principles that make FIRE more attainable or easier to achieve, even if you’re not planning on retirement in the next few years.

          Buy “Retire Before Mom and Dad” here.

          5. When She Makes More

            Money is a topic that most people shy away from, and it makes sense. Money is a status thing and seeing someone making more can cause unease or resentment. Money can also strain relationships and overall cause harm. People fear talking about money and it’s those emotions that cause problems in the first place.

            This book on money is powerful as it provides opportunities for women to be talking to their partner about money. After all, stereotypically speaking, men are meant to be making more money than women and it’s a sore spot when it’s the reverse. This book is fantastic because the author, Farnoosh Torabi, lives a life where she is the one making more than her partner.

            Getting into details, this book looks at the realities and the various rules she’s set up with her partner. She also discusses ways to maximize earnings while minimizing conflict.

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            Buy “When She Makes More” here.

            6. Women & Money

              Suze Orman is a financial advisor who most notably ran a show called The Suze Orman Show from 2002 to 2015. In the show, she received calls from viewers who asked for financial advice and whether or not it’s a good idea to buy various items.

              Orman has years of experience working in this field and pools a lot of her knowledge into the various books she’s published. Women & Money is one of the more recent ones. This book in particular talks about how women earn, invest, and save while also giving practical advice on retirement, marriage, and other topics.

              Whether you are 20 years old or 60, this is a good choice if you’re looking to learn more.

              Buy “Women & Money” here.

              7. Think and Grow Rich

                This famous book has been around for almost 90 years and still holds some relevant information. While this book on money won’t tell you about 401Ks and building a portfolio, it takes a turn to the mindset of building wealth.

                Through this book, you’ll learn more about desire and persistence as opposed to strategy or money management. While this is an odd book on our list, we believe it’s still important as the stories and the lessons are still relevant to your money attitude today.

                Buy “Think and Grow Rich” here.

                8. You Are a Badass at Making Money

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                  As you can guess from this title, this book takes a lighthearted angle to personal finance. Similar to “Think and Grow Rich,” this book also focuses on the mindset of earning and keeping money.

                  While this book lacks any sort of actionable financial advice, it’s compensated by the fact it’s inspiring. It’s an ideal book if you’re looking for a new perspective to making money and could spark conversation with friends, family, or your partner. On top of that, it’s a nice motivational booster.

                  Buy “You Are a Badass at Making Money” here.

                  9. The Millionaire Next Door

                    Another inspirational focused book that you’ll want to pick up is “The Millionaire Next Door.” Many years ago, Thomas J Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. did extensive research into the millionaires of America. From the various interviews they’ve conducted, they created a profile of America’s wealthiest citizens and discovered common connections amongst them all.

                    Stanley wrote it all in this book that has garnered over 1,700 five-star reviews and provides tremendous insight into what it’s like to be a millionaire. This is all explained through seven habits that all of these individuals have in common.

                    Again, there’s not so much practical advice here, but it prompts you to take a closer look at their overall lives and what you can do to change yours to be like theirs. Even if you’re not planning to be a millionaire, the lessons in there are all practical such as living below your means and rejecting traditional consumerism.

                    Buy “The Millionaire Next Door” here.

                    10. Spend Well, Live Rich

                      For those looking for a good book for budgeting and personal finance for beginners, this is a good pick. Author Michelle Singletary reflects on her life with her grandmother who raised five children on a modest salary.

                      By watching her grandmother, Singletary devised principles that her grandmother used to support that kind of lifestyle with what money she had. Through those principles, you can find inspiration in her story while learning about how to stretch the money that you already have.

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                      Buy “Spend Well, Live Rich” here.

                      11. Your Money or Your Life

                        The core of this book is financial independence and lays out a plan to reach that goal. While this book is the longest in this list, it does provide advice on pretty much every aspect of financial independence you can think of. It covers things like mindset requirements as well as investment moves that you should be making. Even if your plan isn’t to retire early, there is plenty of advice in this book you can use.

                        Buy “Your Money or Your Life” here.

                        12. Broke Millennial

                          Amongst millennials, this book on money is a favorite for its simple and relatable language. It touches on a lot of the struggles and issues that millennials are faced off with today—things like living with your parents in your 20s, dealing with student debt, and even dealing with friendships and your finances.

                          Between all of this, the book does offer plenty of practical advice and things to consider for those within this age group. It covers a broad overview of checking your credit score to even buying your first home. Even if you’re not there, chances are likely that the information mentioned in this book will be relevant for quite some time.

                          Buy “Broke Millennial” here.

                          13. Get a Financial Life

                            Another millennial-focused book is “Get a Financial Life,” which covers a lot of the basics for personal finance. This book is more direct with its advice since it covers things like doing your own taxes and paying off debt. The goal of this book is to provide a foundation for you to establish a financial life and it does so in a good and clear manner.

                            Buy “Get a Financial Life” here.

                            Final Thoughts

                            What a lot of these books teach us about money is that success doesn’t come overnight. It’s something that takes a while to build up. But it also shows just how changing your way of thinking or taking a few small steps can mean changing your financial path for the better. There are many great books on money, and these are only the start.

                            More Books on Money and Finance

                            Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

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