A few ways to save money

I like to think of Steve and I as fairly savvy shoppers and consumers. We go into great research on every item that we buy making sure that it is going to do exactly what we need and that we get the best deal we possibly can. But there are also lots of little ways to save a few dollars and that adds up as well. Here is a list of some of things we do.

1. Utilize your local library for all your entertainment needs. Instead of purchasing books for your child, why not give them the experience of rotating books out each week or so from the library. That way you don't have a ton of books piling up in your home and there is always something new and exciting to choose from. Instead of Redbox, we head to our local library on a Friday night to find something that interests us.

2. Share an appetizer for date night instead of ordering separate entrees. Since my husband and I are trying to eat healthier and watch our portions, this works great not only for the waistline but the wallet, too. You can even take advantage of discounted prices by dining late afternoon/early evening. Many times on an early Friday evening last summer, Steve and I could be found dining al fresco at Chuy's which overlooks this gorgeous view of our city for a bill total of $12. They offered a full cheese dip buffet (honestly, I do have a love for cheese dip) and by sharing a salad or appetizer it was the perfect amount of food for us.

3. Utilize blow money. When each adult in your household has a specified amount of blow money then it is up to him/her to use it at their discretion. But when it's gone, it's gone. So if someone opts to pick up Wendy's on the way home instead of eating the food in the fridge, then that's $5 less blow money they will have to spend elsewhere. By carrying this in cash, it will actually keep you from spending it. I hold onto my blow money for as long as I can because I never know what might come up. I don't want to blow it all in one day because what if someone invites me to meet them for lunch later in the month. This principle works in our favor because we become even tighter on the purse strings and it forces us to get creative. One friend of mine started doing a picnic in the park for lunch with friends instead of restaurant dining. I thought that was a genius idea.

4. Use the envelope system. When we pay with cash we have routinely found over and over again that we are spending way less than we used to. Also, we don't borrow from the different envelopes and many months end up with some extra money in them to give us a little extra cushion. Who doesn't love finding a $20 bill in the pocket of their jeans? This time, it's already in the way you do your accounting. :)

What are your tips for saving money?