Saving money in 2015: Part 2

More ways to save at home.

Start your New Year’s saving resolution right away! In the previous article Saving money in 2015: Part 1, a variety of suggestions were offered on how to save money on groceries/food, heating/housing and clothing costs. This article will provide additional money saving tips for recreation, communication and family gatherings.

Be creative to keep entertainment and recreation costs down:

  • Having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot! Many communities offer free or low-cost events and some are even posted on community calendars. These events could include: parks, museums, sporting events, etc. Review local newspapers or websites to see what is offered in your community. Also, consider high school sporting events versus pro events. The entry fees and concession fees will be substantially lower.
    (Tip: When allowed by the venue, plan to bring your own snacks or to avoid high concession fees. Also, to avoid unwanted parking tickets, do not forget to bring loose change if you need to park at a meter.)
  • If you have cable, consider reducing your plan or eliminating the service altogether. points out that it is a lot cheaper to rent one movie a week versus watching it on premium cable, which can cost you more than $500 a year.
  • Be a thrifty consumer. Instead of buying books, movies and magazines brand new: consider borrowing them from your local library, swapping with family members or friends or purchasing them second-hand from thrift stores or specialty shops.
  • Plan a staycation, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a vacation spent at home or nearby.” Be sure to seek input and ideas from all family members. Kids can have the best ideas!

Review and reduce communication costs:

  • Review your communication plan, your current communication needs and actual usage on a regular basis. Are you paying for more services than you need? Could you bundle services and save? Will you pay a penalty if you decrease your current package? If you are receiving a promotional rate, when will this rate end?
  • Consider communicating by email instead of by phone. Many phone plans (landline or cellular) have per-minute charges. In addition, be sure you understand your cell phone plan. Many plans have the following fees: peak calling periods, roaming charges, termination fees, texting fees, etc. Does your current phone plan meet your calling needs and if not, what are your options?
    (Tip: If you have multiple communication carriers in your service area, compare their prices and review consumer feedback at the Better Business Bureau.)

Time with family and friends can be special without being costly:

  • Consider attending free or low-cost community events together and bring a picnic lunch.
  • Organize family potlucks versus meeting at restaurants to celebrate milestones such as holidays, birthdays, retirements, engagements, etc.
  • Assess family gift giving and discuss limits. Many families draw names, set monetary limits, exchange homemade gifts only or choose fun games that use inexpensive or silly gifts.
    (Tip: For DIY gift giving there are numerous books, magazines and websites that offer a variety of ideas. Visit your local library to learn more.)

When you make small changes, they can really add up. Finding extra money in your budget will help you meet your financial goals and help you create an emergency fund. For a variety of financial resources, including how to develop a monthly budget and set financial goals, visit MI Money Health. In addition, Michigan State University Extension offers money management and homeownership classes. For more information about classes offered in your area visit MI Money Health.

The next article in this series will provide money saving tips related to prescriptions, banking and insurance.

Other articles in this series:

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