7 easy ways you could save your family hundreds

Looking to save money but not sure where to start? Here are some easy ways families with strict budgets can cut costs and grow their savings.

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  • Families often have complicated financial needs and many mouths to feed. You might be surprised how quickly a few simple changes to your spending habits can add up to a nice long-term savings account. You don't have to implement all of these suggestions right away. Begin with the easiest objective, and then continue to increase your efforts until you're finally achieving your financial goals.

  • Try the envelope system

  • Do you ever lose track of your spending? It's easy to do when a lot of what people spend is on debit and credit cards. You have to keep a close eye on your receipts and bank account to know what you've spent and how much you have left.

  • The envelope system makes budgeting easier, and it's the No. 1 budget system financial expert Dave Ramsey endorses. When you get paid, you simply withdraw the amount you intend on spending until the next paycheck in cash and then divvy up the money between envelopes labeled with specific categories such as food, gas, date night, car repairs, clothes, etc. When an envelope runs out of money, you don't spend any more on that category. Shopping feels a lot more personal when you hand over cash instead of a plastic card.

  • Have regular doctor check-ups

  • Nothing can save you more money than by making sure you keep up with your health. If you go too long without addressing minor health concerns; a small problem could develop into an enormous issue that will require many more thousands of dollars to treat. If you have a busy schedule and struggle to fit a trip to the doctor in, signing up for a service like MyHealth Pass allows you to contact a doctor anytime through video on your phone to get advice on your symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and even get prescriptions for most medications. MyHealth Pass will give you peace of mind when it comes to your health and give your wallet a break. It includes handy tools like MyHealth Rx which will help you find the cheapest prescription options, and the MyHealth Pricing Tool, which will let you know what options you have for common medical procedures and equipment.

  • Work from home

  • Do you have the means and expertise to work from home? Telecommuting is a popular work option these days, and it can save you money, in addition to earning it. You'll spend less money on gas and you're less likely to eat out or snag a gas station snack because you're already at home. Not to mention, working from home makes it possible to live anywhere, so you can choose to live somewhere that offers a low cost of living. Bankrate.com lists a number of feasible stay-at-home careers, including web developer or designer, tech support specialist, teacher or travel agent, some of which earn more than $100,000 per year.

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  • Pay off debt

  • This might seem like a no-brainer, but people undervalue the benefit of being debt-free. Imagine how much less stress and more discretionary funds you'll have each month if you didn't have credit card debt or loans looming like a dark cloud in the back of your mind. You also save the money you would have spent on interest, which makes even small expenditures add up over time if you buy them with a credit card and don't pay them off right away.

  • Plan on eating in

  • Avoiding eating out frequently can save you more than money, it will save you calories, too. To make eating at home even more financially smart, plan your meals out a week in advance and make one trip to the store. You'll have all your ingredients on hand so you don't have to worry about extra shopping trips, wasted gas and impulse buys and you'll be less likely to default to eating out because you already know what you're eating for dinner each night.

  • Make energy- and water-saving decisions

  • What can you do in your daily life to decrease your energy and water consumption? An Australian news outlet suggests the following:

    • installing energy-efficient light bulbs
    • taking four-minute showers
    • filling your dishwashers and washing machines to capacity before running them
    • thawing your food in the fridge or microwave before cooking it (ovens take a lot of energy to work)
  • Be knowledgeable about insurance

  • Those television commercials about the difference in rates between insurance companies aren't all gimmicks. It's true that you get better rates from some over others. If you haven't updated your personal information in a while, you might find a quick call to your current insurance company will illuminate certain discounts you aren't currently utilizing.

  • Health insurance is very different from what it was in the past. Most popular insurance plans now have massive deductibles that patients have to meet before the insurance will pay a dime. You can shop around to find rates and health packages that more closely match you and your family's needs. If you don't know where to start, there are services like <a href="tel:844-771-0022">MyHealth Pass</a> that can act as your first option before issuing a doctor's bill for a minor illness through your insurance.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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