I ran across All You's 8 Ways to Spend Less article and thought it was a little generic. Eat out less? Sure! That will save, but it is fun to go out and have a meal that isn't the same old-same old that you have at home. Boosting your income? That is not spending less and I'd hardly call that a great tip.
Here are some ways that we spend less, with a little commentary from me, Pinching Abe.
1. Watch out for Yogi and pack a pic-a-nic basket! For us, "town" is an hour away. That's where the shopping really is, let alone entertainment. We live somewhat local to Fredericksburg, VA and there are four major battlefield sites there. Last weekend, we had a great (and cheap!) time both on the walking tour (free) at the Visitor Center and the driving tour (free), where we could leisurely drive (while avoiding a ton of joggers out for a run on such a beautiful day) and stop to read markers outlining the historical significance of various earthen landmarks (Confederate trenches) and earthworks (those pock marks in the earth where the cannon were installed pointing north).
Hubby did a great job of packing us all a picnic lunch and the only thing we bought in town was a little lunch meat. We found a picnic area at the Battlefield where we ate our cheap lunch. Sure beats $50 at a name brand restaurant, and definitely beat fast food.
2. Cut your entertainment costs by relying on your library. I am blessed with an award winning library. I'm not saying that every book I want is on one of their shelves, but a good many of them are. I do buy books, though rarely, and generally only if the queue at the library is reaching triple digits by the time I attempt to reserve a book. Other than lending books, they lend movies. You can even cut back on your magazines because libraries receive magazines for patron use. A college library would have a very good selection of some off the wall periodicals (I used to catalogue the vast quantity of magazines that the library at the college I attended, so I know that the interests are far and varied) and if you have time to sit down, you can read them there.
Other than movies, magazines, and books, libraries will offer cheap or free entertainment for your kids. Sign them up for the summer reading program, send them to free movie/craft nights, and take advantage of any free program they have. Don't feel like a mooch, either. The fact is that libraries track how many people are taking advantage of their services for funding purposes. They want you to come in and enjoy all they have to offer.
3. Don't be afraid to order food online. Amazon sometimes has some incredible deals on food products, particularly if you opt for the subscribe and save option that saves an automatic 15%. Price out the item and divide it out to determine if it is cheaper to buy it online via subscribing on Amazon. Best yet is that if you order via Amazon's subscribe and save option, there's no shipping on your end! I order gluten free foods this way. You can push the date out six months and they do email to ask you if you need it, so you would have to confirm to have it shipped to you. To make items even cheaper, make sure that you're using sites like Swag Bucks to earn Amazon gift codes, which you can bank in your account and apply toward items you buy there -- including groceries. This is especially helpful to me since I order gluten free items from Amazon.
Those are three tips! I hope they work for you.