Savings Made Sweet

By Heather Brickell

Can you believe that 2010 is behind us? A new year means new challenges and new resolutions. Are you prepared to save your family even more money than you did last year? I thought it would helpful to share with you all a few money saving tips to start this New Year off right!

Set a goal for yourself. This is one of the most important things when saving money. How much money would you like to start saving on a weekly or monthly basis? Even if it is just a few dollars, setting a goal for yourself not only keeps you accountable to the money that is coming and going from your checking account, but it also keeps you motivated to save even more money. Remember to start small. You are not going to be a pro at saving money overnight. It takes a little bit of time and effort. I think that you will be amazed at how much money you can save in just a little amount of time.

Plan ahead. I find that planning ahead is not only a money-saver, but it also helps me with time management. Whether it’s planning your next trip to the grocery store or planning the schedule around when you pay your bills each month, planning ahead is a very important part of saving money. I find that planning ahead also keeps me from impulse buying!

Keep track of how much money you save. Each time that you go shopping, save your receipts. At the end of the month, add up all the savings. I think that you will be surprised how much money you can actually save! You will really be amazed at the end of the year when you add up your savings.

Use coupons. I have talked about coupon usage in depth before, but I just want to remind you that using coupons is a great way to save some extra money. Using coupons and shopping sales not only helps to cut down on the cost of your grocery budget, but it is also a great way to build up a nice stockpile of items to live off in case of emergency.

Use the envelope method. Set aside money each week for groceries, clothing, fun money, eating out, etc… and place it in an envelope. You can only use the money from that particular envelope for each category. This will really challenge you to stay within your budget!

Cut out unnecessary costs. Are there areas of your life where you could cut out costs? For example, if you are really trying to save money, think about brewing your coffee at home instead of picking up a cup of java at your favorite coffee shop. Or, think about taking your lunch with you to work instead of purchasing it every day. What about the cable on your television? Is it a “nicety” or a necessity? These things alone could really save you quite a bit of money by the end of the year.

Plan date nights at home. You can save some extra money by cooking your spouse their favorite meal and having a date night in. Rent a movie from the local Redbox or Blockbuster kiosk for $1 and you have a super sweet and inexpensive date night!

These are just a few of the many money-saving ideas that are out there. I hope that you will find them helpful and have a great start to 2011!

Gulf Coast Family Publications - Encouraging families along the Gulf Coast in Pinellas County