Ways to save: Tips for stress-free saving
Amy Suardi uses cost-saving and stress-saving strategies to maintain her familyís lifestyle. Below, she shares some advice.
For the home
Recipes make life complicated. Steer toward basic cooking techniques, such as oven-roasting vegetables or sauteing meat, that can be applied to any food you find.
Dine in. Instead of going out to dinner, invite someone over. Donít worry about your house or the meal; people are just happy to be invited.
Join a neighborhood group. Smaller groups are best for trading hand-me-downs, baby gear, lawn equipment and cups of sugar. Bigger ones are great for canvassing for handymen, doctors or mechanics.
Hiring a decorator or a landscape designer will pay off. You get good design and quality workmanship, and you avoid painful and costly mistakes.
For the children
Getting ready for school and bed can be tough. Give children a list of what is required as well as a timer or clock. Set up a rewards and consequences system where kids earn points for getting ready in time.
Teach money management with an allowance. Try giving an allowance on the condition that 50 percent of it is saved and 10 percent is given away to a good cause. The remaining 40 percent can be used as the child likes.
For the finances
Plan ahead. Itís the single most important way to save money.
When shopping, use the delay tactic. You may realize you can make do with something you already have.
Write down everything you spend. Post a daily spending chart so you can determine where all your money is going.
Define your hopes and dreams. Saving money is easier when you have a reason. Once you decide your short-, mid- and long-term goals, write them down and figure out how much you need to achieve each one.
Make it easy. For essential goals such as paying off debt or amassing an emergency fund, set up automatic transfers to a less accessible bank account. Use charts to track your progress.