5 Great Ways to Save

In this economy, we all need to watch every dime.  So without a lot of introduction, or effort on your part, here are iMOM’s top ways to save. But you shouldn’t be the only one in your family learning how to stretch your dollars. Share your best saving secrets with other moms in the comment section – we can all learn from each other!

1. Couponing: It rarely requires scissors anymore! These days, coupons can be downloaded, printed, and/or linked to your cell phone! No worries though, we’ve linked our favorite sites to get you started.

How to/Blog Sites

Savings/Coupon Sites

Gift Card Bargains

2. Purge and Consign, Step by Step:

  • Put a give-away basket in a kid-friendly location.
  • Have your kiddos toss their old clothes in the basket.
  • Sort into two piles: charity and consigning.
  • Pile your goods in the car.
  • Take your salable items to a “pay now” consignment shop. They’ll either give you cash for your goods, or a credit for the store (Tip: the credit is usually more).
  • Drop off the remaining rejects and previously sorted charity pile at Goodwill.

3. Barter: Don’t be afraid! Virtually every price on every product (especially if it has a flaw!) is negotiable, just ask!

Here are some tips for bartering on goods and services:

Retailers: Talk to the decision maker, name your price (make it fair), offer with confidence, and be willing to walk away.

Private Vendors or Friends: Offer to trade equally valuable services (ex: voice lessons for babysitting or lawn mowing), ask them to name their price on an item (so as not to offend), clearly define the terms, and agree in writing or by handshake before moving forward.

4. Sell it!

  • If you’ve never sold anything on Craigslist or EBay, give it a try!
  • Start by listing just one item every week.
  • See what you have around the house that might sell (popular toys, used furniture, household items like cabinets, sinks, etc.).
  • Check out similar items and come up with a price.
  •  List your item in all caps.
  • Give the condition and use words in your description like. “awesome, gorgeous, adorable, etc.”
  • A photo is worth a thousand words.  Include at least one.
  • List your price, on Craigslist, a bit higher than your bottom line to leave room for negotiating.
  • Start with the simple listing on EBay.
  • Try  www.gazelle.com to sell your old electronics.

5. Use cash only in Areas Where you Tend to Overspend:

  • Stop hyperventilating! Take a few deep breaths. This system works best for certain discretionary spending categories like entertainment, fashion and home improvements.
  • Now, cut up unnecessary credit cards (department stores, specialty shops, etc.).
  • Decide how much discretionary income you do want to spend by month or by quarter.
  • Label several envelopes, one for each category: Clothing, Living Room Decorating, Date Nights, Movies.
  • Take out the amount of cash equal to what your budget indicates and put it in the envelopes. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
  • Every time you spend money, put the receipt back in the envelope so you can track your expenses.
  • At the end of the month or the end of the quarter, take a look at what you spent and where you spent it.  It might make you reconsider what you buy next.
  • See if you have any forgotten cash at www.unclaimed.org.