Living isn't cheap, but with these tips you can easily save money on most expenses.
The average family shells out nearly $7,798 a year on housing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Whether you own your home or rent, it pays to negotiate.
You're more likely to make an impulse buy if you visit every aisle in a store. Organize your grocery list by category―group all the dairy products you need, all canned goods, etc.―and go only to those aisles. Or split shopping lists with older kids and take a few aisles each. Allow them one small treat each.
Shop clockwise and save big dollars at the grocery store. Most shopper traffic in grocery stores naturally flows counterclockwise. But when customers move clockwise, according to research by Sorensen Associates, they spend less time in the aisles and, therefore, less money.
In 2004, 40 percent of the clothes women bought were impulse buys, says the marketing company Cotton. Before you buy anything, ask yourself the questions, such as "Do I own pieces to wear with it?" or "Is it too trendy to last another season?" to keep from making purchases you'll regret once you're home.
The Web sites of outlet chains are loaded with coupons. Visit www.premiumoutlets.com for e-mail alerts about sales.
Get them for less than face value at sites like www.swapagift.com.
The average American family spends nearly $3,000 a year on heat, water and electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Reduce hot water costs by wrapping your heater in a blanket specially made for the purpose. You can get one at Lowes.com.
About 90 percent of the energy that washing machines use is for heating the water. Use the cold-water setting and a detergent such as Tide Coldwater.
About half of the $2,574 spent by the average family on health care each year is health insurance premiums, says the BLS. Save big and still protect your family's health.
If you're in a low- or moderate-income bracket ($30,000 or less for a single person, $60,000 for a family of four), check out Together RX Access, a discount card to use at pharmacies (www.togetherrxaccess.com or 800-444-4106).
If someone in your family has a chronic condition―such as a child who needs physical therapy―choose the plan that offers the best benefits for that situation, even if it costs more. You'll save in the long run.
Type in your zip code at www.gasbuddy.com and find out the current prices at stations in your area. Then try an online calculator to see whether it's worth it to drive to a cheaper station.
Check out www.erideshare.com for carpooling opportunities near your home, or ask your neighbors. You can also call the transportation authority in your area to find out where the nearest park-and-ride lot is.