Find hidden money savings in your family budget

January 30, 2013 3:14:26 PM PST
If you have a job, by now you probably felt the tax hike. For most families that's about $200 less per month in their paychecks. It's a significant blow. But a thrifty mom can help you find that extra $200 in your budget by tweaking a few spending habits.

With a family of nine, Tiffany Ivanosky noticed the payroll tax increase and needed to find a way to get that money back.

"For most people that's $200 a month and that can add up, especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck," she said. "All of a sudden to lose that money, you are going to figure how you are going to make that up."

Jumping into something without a plan is a sure way for it to backfire and fail quickly, so map things out. Find a plan of attack to find that extra money and stick to it.

First, gather your resources. Tiffany says don't spend any more money trying to save money. Resources like www.mint.com will track your income to help you stick with your budget. There are even free budget forms you can download. Now it's time to start finding the money.

First, start by looking at your recurring monthly bills, like your mobile phone bill. Most of the excess spending comes from overestimating how many voice minutes and text messages you really need.

Tiffany asked, "When was the last time you went to your cell phone provider and asked how many minutes am I using?"

You could save as much as 50 percent. Also, consider a low-priced pre-paid carrier. Consumer Reports says Consumer Cellular came out on top with $10 a month plans.

Price compare your car and home insurance. You could save as much as 30 percent by just making some calls.

"Are there discounts I can get, am I paying too much -- take a little time to shop around and see if you can get a better deal. Some of those things will add up," Tiffany advised.

Next, check on recurring subscriptions.

"So many things are on auto-draft already and get paid and paid and paid," Tiffany said.

So ask yourself some questions? Are you really using that gym membership? If not, cancel it. That's an average savings of $300 a year. Do you really need Netflix, cable television and rent from Redbox?

Tiffany suggests families choose one form of TV entertainment. The potential savings is at least $90 annually, but up to $960 if you got rid of cable. Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus all have plans that are $75 to $100 a year. You can watch movies, and TV shows. The bummer is you can't watch live sporting events or the news. So make sure you have a good antenna.

Once a month put yourself and your family on a spending freeze.

Tiffany explained, "We pick one week a month that we are not spending any money."

That means not going out to restaurants or for entertainment. The average dinner for a family of four is about 40 bucks and movie prices during peak times cost as much as $12 a ticket.

'If you can do that once a month, you will save $200 a week," Tiffany suggested.

Finally, use the buddy system. Tell a friend and use social media to stay on track.

Tiffany says another way to save money throughout the year is to create a gift closet. That way when you need a teacher gift or kid's birthday party gift, you have stocked up on some low-cost options at home.
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