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Adjusting the grocery budget is probably the most common way people try to save a little money.  For many people with families, the meat for the week is easily the biggest part of the grocery bill.  But that doesn’t mean you have to go vegan every night just to save money.  Try these tips to save on meats and stretch your grocery dollars a little further. Know prices and look for the sales – Pay attention to the prices at the store and look at the grocery ads before you go shopping.  Every week there is at least one kind of meat that is featured as the main sale item.  Buy extra when there’s a great sale and freeze it for later. Plan recipes that use cheaper cuts of meat – Instead of steaks, have pot roast. They’re both beef but the pot roast will cost less per pound. Buy reduced meat – Stores often mark down meat that is close to the sell by date. If you are cooking it or freezing it right away, you can take advantage of the reduced price. Substitute different meat in your favorite recipes – Depending on the recipe, you may be able to substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for chicken breast or ground turkey or pork for ground beef.  They are cheaper alternatives that usually work just as well. Use coupons – Coupons for meat aren’t very common, but they do exist so take advantage when you see them.  Store loyalty programs are a good place to look….

Saving money often begins by correcting the things we do every day. With a few small corrections to your daily habits, you can save far more money than you would expect. One thing that many of us do is commute to and from work each day. The following six tips to save money will focus on making your commute a little less expensive:

If you’re a parent, you want to pass on good values to your children. Few things in life are more important than the ability to put money away for a rainy day. So how can you teach kids why saving matters in a way they understand? With money games for kids! It’s a fun, simple way to help them understand what money is worth and why it is important. See our 3 money games for kids to help get them excited about saving. Sort and save Sorting things is an activity many little kids love and so we’ve turned into the perfect money game for kids. Grab your change jar and let your kids sort and pile them up in this simple and fun game. Teach them what each coin is worth, help them add up all the change and then let them keep a portion of it for their savings. Not only have they learned what money is worth, but also how quickly spare change can add up to big savings. The Game of Life This classic American board game offers a lot crucial life lessons on the value of saving. You need to save for college, a family, a house, a car and retirement while learning about the financial ups and downs life can throw your way. So if you think your kids are old enough for board games, this is a great option to teach why long-term savings matter. The Chore Store This is a great way…

Many families wonder how to reduce electricity bills, which can save them big in the long-term. In case you aren’t convinced, check this stat out: 7.3% of the average consumer’s total annual income goes to energy costs. The good news is that reducing your electric bill does not have to be a time consuming or expensive project. There are a lot of little things you can do around the house to start saving money and electricity right away. So read how to reduce electric bills in 4 easy steps and count the savings today. Step 1: Hang dry your laundry Whether you get a drying rack for the living room or clothesline for your backyard, there are a lot of benefits to hang dry your laundry. If your family does 8 loads of laundry a week and you hang dry most of those instead of using the dryer, you’ll save over $70 a year! Step 2: Install a programmable thermostat A programmable thermostat can cost $50-100, but the savings will add up fast. This is because they allow you to turn down the temperature in your home when no one is around or at night when people are sleeping. If you are wondering how to reduce electric bills, this can make a huge impact as most households spend hundreds of dollars on heat, not to mention A/C as well. Step 3: Adjust your hot water heater Turning down your water heater 5-10 degrees can do a lot to help. Many…

If you are spending money as it comes in without tracking how much is going out, then you may be hindering your own financial success. If you don’t know how to organize your finances or can’t be bothered to, you may find yourself in a situation where you are out of cash and cannot keep up with basic needs. Being disorganized with finances also means that you are unlikely to be on track to achieving your goals like owning a home or financial freedom. The good news it is not at all hard to learn how to organize your finances. Spending a few hours to do so can make all the difference in getting on the path to financial security. The following steps are a good place to start: Use online tools Ideally, you should be able to balance your income and expenditures to the last cent. Take a business-style approach to tracking your finances. There are a number of personal finance organizers online that are quick and easy to use. All you have to do is key in figures like your income and expenses and you can see how much cash you have at hand at any one time. Figure out your goals Another advantage of using an online tool is that you can use it to budget before you get your next paycheck. You can make smart choices like paying down debt and putting away a little extra cash into your savings ahead of time so you’ll be more likely to stick to…

For the first time last spring, Americans spent more money eating out than we did buying groceries. With the average meal costing $12.50 per person, that can ruin a budget pretty quickly. Make ahead meals can be just as convenient and that same $12.50 often feeds the entire family. This can free up a surprising amount of money in your budget, even if you eat just a few more meals at home. How make ahead meals help you save­­­ Not only are make ahead meals cheaper, but you can make food the way your family likes it. No spending money on extra cheese for a frozen pizza or wasting money throwing out food because no one likes it. Taking advantage of sales and bulk pricing can save more money and you won’t be tempted to make impulse purchases during those extra trips to the store. With a make ahead meal, you’re shifting the time you spend on meal prep to fit your schedule. You might not have time to make dinner every night, but you may have time on the weekend to make one or two meals ahead of time. If your meal is ready to go, you won’t need to hit the drive thru. Getting started Some people do a huge grocery shopping trip and cook all the next day. But that’s not practical for everyone, so you might want to try one of these methods to start small. Double a recipe – Make an extra one and put…

Summer is here! If you are like most people, you are looking for things to do in summer time. But the desire to go out and do things can throw your budget way out of whack. Restaurants,  amusement parks, ribfests, and even the gas in your car, can all add up fast. While sometimes it’s tough to have fun without spending any money, here are some budget-friendly ideas for things to do in summer that might help reduce those expenses. Have a picnic in the park Pick a beautiful day and head on over to your local park for a picnic rather than spending big money at a restaurant patio. Parks are truly the best way to enjoy the season’s greenery, and best of all, admission is free. Attend a free outdoor movie screening Many cities and towns offer a free outdoor movie screening at a local town square or city center. This can be a fun and family-friendly way for you to get out of the house, enjoy some culture and maybe even chat with some of your neighbors. Go to a street festival Taking in the atmosphere at a local street festival can be a great time. There’s often a lot of free entertainment like musicians and street performers. Take an evening stroll Sometimes just going for a walk through a tree-lined street is a great summer activity when it cools down during the evening. It’s good for your health as well as your mind. Because when you…

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