How can you afford it?
It is getting more and more difficult for families to get by today. Prices seem to be going up on almost everything. Taxes are going up and so on. 

Use the old noggin before reaching for the wallet.
Below are 50+ tips for stretching your dollars a little (or a lot) further. Remember, little changes made here and there can add up to big things down the road. 

Brown bag lunches.
Estimated savings: $9.00 a day x 20 business days/month = $180

Buy in bulk.
You can get better deals and reduce trips to the supermarket. If the bulk purchases are too overwhelming for your family, split them with your friends. One thing we learned on this is to split the bulk items out. We found if we put everything in the pantry at once, it will go too quickly. So, we put some items in the storage closet and the rest in the pantry.

Review the weekly circular and combine coupons with sale items.
Saves you even more money.

Saves money in Gas, Wear & Tear & Tree Huggers dig it!

Find automotive service centers that offer free tire rotations / free flat repair.
Tire rotation can cost up to $40 other places and tire repairs can cost upward of $15.

Keep the car tires inflated to the correct pressure.
This can cost you 1-2 miles per gallon. It doesn't sound like much, but it does add up.

Use postcards for announcements and events.
When sending out Christmas cards, birth announcements or invitations purchase or make your postcards for the event. These are cheaper to mail since you can use a postcard stamp versus a letter stamp and they are cheaper to make or have made for you.

Increase your financial intelligence.
Estimated savings: Even more than potentially huge!
Read articles, books, etc. about money management and investing. Some good ones to start with are: The Millionaire Next Door, Think and Grow Rich, The Richest Man in Babylon. And naturally, continue to check out

Get fit! Go for family walks, play at the park, etc.
Estimated savings: Being unhealthy will cost a lot of money!

Use cloth napkins.
Estimated savings: $7.50 per month and you just toss them in the wash when you need more.

Buy used stuff from a second hand store, Amazon, etc.
We saved 50% on a really nice, used high chair.

Stock up when items are on sale.
You may need to split items between the pantry and another storage area to avoid going through them too quickly.

Shop with a list.
Reduces impulse purchases and helps you to remember the items you may have otherwise forgotten.

Do the numbers on everything!
Driving the amount my husband does, we started looking into Hybrid cars. The premium charged for the car exceeds the gas savings for several years. Also, our front-loading washing machine does use less water but the water savings alone does not cover the price difference from a front-loading machine and a top-loading machine.

I cannot explain this but it does work! The more you give more will come back…weird!

Keep paying on credit cards every chance you get.
Many credit card companies calculate finance charges on your average daily balance. Reduce it, and reduce your finance charges.

Look for credit cards that no annual fees or offer rewards that exceed the annual fees.
We do use a credit card that has an annual fee for their rewards program. However, we did 90% of our Christmas shopping with points last year.

Just say NO to bank fees!
Many banks offer free checking when you have direct deposit, free ATM and will even repay you other banks ATM fees.

Ask for a better price (a.k.a. haggle.)
The worst that will happen is they will say No. No harm in asking.

Pay no more in taxes than you have too!
One of our financial advisors told us 67% of Americans pay too much in taxes. Why??? Find a good source for tax information and keep excellent records.

Use more than one financial advisor.
Consider several different approaches to your money management and select the best one for you. Besides, sometimes the "Experts" are idiots and/or crooks. Validate their logic and integrity.

Be careful of free advice!
Free advice can be the most expensive advice. So, do the numbers!

Consolidate music lessons.
If you have more than one student taking music lessons, see if they will offer a discount for more than one child taking lessons.

Take responsibility for your finances.
Be hands on. Some "Advisors" are just out for commission.

When buying a new bed see your doctor.
Because my husband's back had been previously injured, his Doctor wrote a prescription for our new mattress making the purchase sales tax free.

If you have an FSA use it and use it all up each year!
A Flexible Spending Account is a great way to help reduce your tax burden and reduce unplanned hits to your budget.

Fight the assessed tax value of your house.
In Texas, there is a company that specialized in reducing people's property taxes. Best of all, you do not pay them one cent unless they save you money.

Use Google’s Froogle or other websites to do price shopping for you.
This provides an easy way to find the best price on stuff.

Harness the power of the Internet to find coupon and coupon codes.
…and others…just do a Google search for the store you wish to purchase the item from and add the word coupon to the end of your search criteria. Chances are there is a coupon somewhere and this takes less than 1 minute to do.

Combine birthday parties.
Two of our children have birthdays that are within one month of each other. We usually have their party in the middle of the two special days and have just immediate family dinners with cakes on their real birthdays.

Use a clothesline or clothes rack.
May not be feasible if someone in the family has bad allergies, but, you can save some money there. A clothes rack can be used in the winter months indoors. Be aware, things dried this way will not be as soft as when they are dried in the dryer. So, a combination of the dryer and a clothesline/clothes rack may work better for you.

Water the yard or garden in the early morning or after sundown.
This will make watering more efficient as evaporation is reduced.

Have a vegetable garden.
This can save a lot in groceries and can be fun & relaxing!

Return/Exchange unwanted gifts.
It is like getting something you do want for free.

Share clothes & hand me downs.
We have accumulated a tremendous amount of clothing from family members and friends. This saves us a lot of money on clothing our kids. When our kids no longer fit the clothes we pass them on to another family (if they are still in very good shape.) With 8 kids and we spend about $600 on the kids clothes a year total. The maternity clothes bins also work their way through the circle of friends as well. Clothes that are not in perfect condition are given to a charity (tax write off :)

Shop at least 4 different insurance companies.
Hundreds of dollars can be saved here. However, be sure to only deal with insurance companies with high ratings. You want them to be there when you need them.

When buying a car with a loan, shop several different bank rates before asking the dealer what their rate is.
Once you are aware of the rates you can choose the loan that will cost you the least amount. Do not tell the dealer the other rates you have. Let them know you have other options and they will only get your loan if they have the best deal.

Call from your cell phone on weekends.
If you have free weekends and free long distance on your cell phone plan use the cell phone on the weekends. Why leave money on the table?

Reuse dryer sheets.
Hey, every little bit helps! Note: this may not work too well with all brands of dryer sheets. Some have gotten too thin to do this well.

Put the kitchen sponges in the dishwasher to clean them.
This will remove odor and germs from the sponge making it like new.

See if the stores you shop at will honor competitor's coupons.
No harm in asking. You may come out with better deals.

Buy a local school booster card or Entertainment book.
We bought the local high school's booster card. It has discounts at many of the stores we shop at and is good for an entire year. Of course, such a purchase is only good if you actually use the card or coupons.

Review your credit report & credit score.
Mistakes made by third parties on your credit report can cost you a lot of money! Also, this is a good way to look out for identity theft. Be sure to get a credit report that shows your Fair ISAAC credit score. Most of the free credit report companies do not do this. Review your credit report with all 3 credit bureaus.

Exchange baby sitting with other families.
While the baby sitters union is not crazy about this one, it could save $30 or more on baby sitting on a single outing.

Dont forget for amazing things FREE! 
We got our new dishwasher this way.  It was from a family that was upgrading to all stainless and it was barely used when they made the switch...cost? FREE! gotta love it! - Donna

Give into peer pressure...just this one time.
If you and some of your other friends and family are considering purchasing the same things, try to negotiate a group purchase.

Sometimes it is cheaper to repair something than replace it.
When our washing machine broke, we were very tempted to run out right away and purchase a new one. However, after doing a little research on the internet, purchasing a part for $100 and spending 30 minutes putting the new part in, we were washing clothes again. The kids were so excited to have to fold laundry again. (Not!)

Be careful of quantity over quality.
Sometimes cheap is just that, cheap. We bought a cheap pair of sneakers for one of boys. They were destroyed in less than 3 months. Watch out for companies that put the "K" in "Quality." Using a coupon and shopping at an outlet store we were able to buy him a new pair of shoes for close to the same price of the first set. The new ones are made much better.

Become more energy efficient.
Estimated savings: Potentially Huge!

Bunk the kids together.
Why not lower the number one cost for raising kids?

Clear the clutter out of the house!
Estimated savings: Reduces cooling and heating costs. It also helps reduce the feeling of “We need to move to a bigger house!” For more information about how to de-clutter your house, check out Abby Sasscer's e-Book Simplifying Your Domestic Church.

Go to $1.50 theaters or matinee movie showings.
This can save you over $6/person and enjoy the free A/C & Heat :)

Take your honey to the local coffee shop instead of dinner.
This could save you over $50 per outing.

Do lunch with your Honey instead of dinner.
Many times the dinner items are on the lunch menu at reduced costs.

At restaurants that give free refills, or amusement parks that offer reduced price souvenir cup refills buy a small drink and keep on refilling.
You might make an extra trip to the soda fountain while you are there but it will save you some money and burn some calories too. Also, some parks allow you to bring the cup back on future visits and still get the refill price.

Keep an eye out for "Kids Eat Free" promotions.
Free food, enough said.

When going out for a nice meal with your spouse and kids feed the kids before the nice meal and give them ice cream or desserts while you eat.
This will save you both some money and sanity. Desserts are normally cheaper than entrees and kids usually behave well in front of ice cream!

Order the party pack of chicken nuggets instead of getting individual meals. 
For about $20 you get enough chicken nuggets to feed everyone with extras to spare. Of course, this is ordered with small drinks to take advantage of free refills. - Kyla

Go Camping!
Camping is a great way to unplug from the hustle and bustle, and make some memories with the family. We suggest you borrow gear from friends before you make the investment in tents, sleeping bags, etc. This way, if you do not like it, you will not have spent the money on the gear. For more information about what to expect to pay for camping, click here.

If you have some tips you would like to share, please post them in The Missing Sock Blog or
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Many hands make light work. -John Heywood