This may be a strange request, but here goes. My son attends a very good college and we were fortunate to have most of it funded by scholarships, etc. However, due to an increase in our assets, he has lost his work study program. The financial aid director informed me when I questioned him that any increase in our income or assets would result in a decrease in benefits. In other words, I cannot go back to work as planned, I just cannot make what it would take to make up any lost funding. I have gone through our budget, re-budgeting less for things like food, etc. We will eliminate eating out, our little trips, etc. We agreed that we would leave in cable and internet because it would not be fair to have to give up the only two remaining "extravagances". My daughter is getting a weekend job to be able to buy her own make-up, etc. My youngest boys earn an allowance. My question is, are there any more cuts I can make beyond these? There aren't that many "latte factors" left to consider. We're even cancelling our subscription to the local paper. NancyC from Dalton, GA
Well, You sound as if you are starting off well. I am fairly new to this web site, but if you browse you will find thousands of great tips from the generous people that frequent this site. My suggestions are cancel any cell phones, use a pay as you go one if you have to have one. Cut back on cable,long distance and internet expenses. Use coupons for only things you need. (there is a coupon swap here on this site). Don't buy snacks, make them. Baking cookies and cakes are relative cheap. Decrease the amount of soda. Ice tea, koolaid and water will do. Find a market that sells meat in bulk and get a freezer if you don't have one. Group all your errands on one day and save on gas by not making frequent trips. Your are lucky your son is the one in college they are much cheaper to dress than girls(I had 3). You could make cash money cleaning out closets for people or just mopping peoples floors, baby sitting for cash...you get my drift. Well Good luck!!!
One idea I have is that if your son can't do the school sponsored work study program, he could still possibly get a part-time job nearby off-campus (especially if he has transportation or if it is close enough to walk).
My suggestion would be to look at ways to lower your utilities. I have managed to lower my water bill by 8 dollars a month by just being more careful with water. You can hang your clothes to dry, some if not all, to lower your electricty bill, change the setting on your hot water heater, ac, heat, etc. Also, what about car insurance can you change your policy to save money, raise your deductible? Maybe sell a car and get one that uses less gas and cheaper to insure? Do you have a lot of extras on your phone? Call waiting, caller id, voice mail? I saved $6/month by making a change to services we didn't use on our phone bill. Do you clip coupons? I have found that I can save the most money by shopping as frugally as possible. Think of your staying home as a job and how can you make the MOST money? If your ENTIRE family is involved in saving money, spending less, and living frugally then you will be able to find LOTS of extra money you didn't realize you had! GOOD LUCK!!
Shop www.half.com for textbooks -- just enter the ISBN number of the EXACT textbook needed. Your son can also check the campus bookstore, and ask around among classmates, and can probably buy some of his books used. He can sell his textbooks once he's done with them, either back to the bookstore, to another student, or list them on half.com. One relatively easy place to cut expenses is in the entertainment category. For example, instead of going to the movies, watch a rental video at home. Even cheaper is watching a video you borrowed from the public library for free. Watch the newspaper or check with your local chamber of commerce for free concerts, festivals, etc to attend as a family for a fun day. Reduce gasoline expenses by bundling trips -- stop at the grocery store on the way home from work or another errand, for example. I do all my shopping on Saturday, and carry a cooler of homemade ice (frozen water-filled milk jugs) in the car, so I can take the shortest route without worrying about buying perishable items last. Read this website, or do a google search for "frugality". You don't have to follow ALL of the suggestions, but each one you do follow will save you some money. Make enough small changes and it WILL add up!
By Becki in Indiana
My son contacted the office in his school that dealt with the sports students. They often miss classes due to their sports obligations, and need to be tutored. He helped many with classes that he'd already had and earned at least a "B" in. Often it was no more than sitting with them while they did homework (Algebra), and helping when they had a question. The extra money really helped him with his personal expenses. Also, one of my son's friends never bought books for his classes. He borrowed them from the school library for the entire semester. At the end of each semester, he'd return them and borrow the ones he needed for the next semester. We're in the same place financially as you are. We've cut all fat from our budget. The little things are all that's left, and savings are small, but I try to remember that those small savings add up quickly. I'm sure that you probably do most already: garden, can, freeze, shop sales, use coupons, make everything homemade, make your own laundry detergent, switch to compact flourescent bulbs, etc... One thing that I did was to open a savings account in which I deposited everything. You must be very strict and disciplined with this one. When you are living hand-to-mouth, it's hard to not spend that $.75 on something. All change goes into a jar, along with rebates, refunds, grass cutting money, money saved on coupons, gift money, etc. I deposit it monthly into our account. At first, it's not much, but it really adds up. The nice thing, is that it's separate from other accounts, so you can really see what you almost missed saving. And in an emergency, you'll be really glad it's waiting for you.
Wonderful ideas here. Mine falls in the "finding holes in the budget." This was a real eye-opener, Go through your checkbook (assuming you still use one) list every check by: groceries, newspapers, magazines, what ever. Look the lists with amounts over and you will probably see places you can pare. I had a huge hole and didn't know where it was and found it. One thing I did with a friend, we would buy a 50 pounds of potatoes at a time and split them and would come out way ahead of the per pound cost. Store them in milk boxes and pick over weekly. Can do the same with onions. Now I have an empty nest, so I buy chopped dried onions from Sams like twice a year. Good luck
We saved a lot on our phone bill by just buying an ATT pre-paid card for 4 cents a minute long distance. We programmed the card numbers in memory on the phone. All we have to do on our phone is just push the memory button for their 800 number programmed along with our account number, then you dial the number you're calling. We don't have cell phones anymore because we got to where we hardly used them but where we live everywhere you call is long distance so this method saved us a bundle.
Shop at the thrift store for almost anything- I constantly find great clothes, shoes, linens, and sometimes furniture at great prices. (09/07/2006)
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