Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Different Ways I Try To Save Money and Create A College Savings- Part 2
See Different Ways I Try To Save Money and Create A College Savings- Part 1 for the first part of this series.
6) Opentable. If you live in an urban area and even occasionally go out (we like to go out when friends or family are in town or for date nights occasionally). Sign up for opentable to make reservations and get points. My husband and I have gone out on a few dates that the cost was reduced by using our opentable certificates.
7) Upromise and 529 College Savings Plans
Each different state has its own 529 plans set up. What many people don't know is that you can use a state other than your own. It benefits you to get a plan from your own state, as there can be many tax benefits. The account is set up in your child's name with a parent as custodian. Our state's program allows us to transfer funds between children/family members (just in case your child get's a full-ride scholarship or pursues plans other than community college or a university.)
We have funds in both a 529 Investment Plan and also a pre-paid savings Trust. The one plan is is basically building a non-taxable account in which investment can grow and be withdrawn later for college expenses, our account needed a minimum balance of $25. The pre-paid account is a little bit larger chunk of change, you are paying for a semester or a year of college at today's prices for the future (we all know that education costs are going to continue increasing unless we become a socialist government which is a whole other conversation...
Upromise is a program run through Sallie Mae that allows you to get funds toward your 529 account from your regular activities like grocery shopping, buying gas and eating out. To me, it's not giving away any more information than you already let others know with your grocery store and other loyalty cards.
8) Creativity with "Date Night"
a. save money on the activity- date night doesn't necessarily mean going out. When my son was little, and still today, some nights we feed him early and enjoy a dinner together. The crystal candlestick holders that we got for our wedding get used and we enjoy a nice quiet meal together. Sometimes that's the best we can do for a date night and that is fine. We also make it a policy in our family that we do not eat dinner in front of the TV. This leads to more conversation and communication. Always helpful. Also, no cell phones allowed. It's interesting how just these little things make the time more special
b. outdoor activity- my husband and I enjoy hiking together and now that we both got bikes, biking together. This is a free activity which is better for our health and entertainment than going to the movie theater.
c. find a new babysitter or babysitter "co-op". While there are special events where we pay a babysitter a premium rate, we also enjoy having our family members and relatives give us a date night when they visit. We also have family friends whose daughter is rather young for prime babysitting age, but is very responsible and great with kids. We pay her to watch our son (with her parents present in the household) and both our son and her have a great time. She is Red Cross trained and is probably more responsible than the typical 16 year old, but her parents do not want us to pay her the premium rate as she is getting experience and they are also helping. This is a win-win for all involved. We also have done babysitting for our babysitter and thus "decreased" our babysitting bill by the amount that we babysit for her. We have meant to try to this with some of our neighbors too, so mom and dad can get a break without breaking the bank.
9) Save money on Books. I wish I had more time to read (with a toddler it's sometimes hard). Occasionally if he is sleeping on me for a long time, I will read on my iphone with the phone in Airplane mode (I worry about the radiation from the Wi-fi and receiver in close proximity to my son). I also use a site called BookBub and Moneysavingmom e-mails to find out what books have special free offers or discounted to 99 cents. With the previous mentioned Amazon Prime, I will elect to get regular shipping instead of two-day shipping in an exchange for a electronic book credit, thus I have built quite a big library on my e-reader without expending any money.
9) Clean/Organize House. I am no Martha Stewart and anyone who knows me knows that I am on a long-term campaign against clutter. Having a baby, who is now a toddler, makes it difficult to keep the household clean and organized. However, I have found as I am trying to declutter multiple items that I didn't even know I had (I had put on the list for Costco to get more Q-tips until I cleaned under my sink and found a Costco-sized box of Q-tips : ). I have also found different gift cards and other items that didn't have a ton of money on them, but had $1 toward a book or coffee or something to have as a special treat. Not only does organizing and decluttering clear your mind, it can help your wallet!
10) When you are buying online; Call or chat with a representative or leave your cart. I got this tip from another blogger. I was buying some new products from an organic baby product company that tends to be pricey. Prior to checking out my order in my cart, I called the 1-800 number they had and talked with the representative. I told her I wanted to try some bug spray, veggie cleaner and organic deodorant, but wondered if they had sample sizes. I also mentioned that I had the option of buying on Amazon prime, but I would rather buy direct from the company. The representative said if I bought the product through them, it a was money back guarantee (so no risk trial). She also offered to give me 10% off and free shipping. That was a discount that was helpful and I wouldn't have gotten without asking.
I noticed this with the CVS website and some other websites do this as well- if you go and put items in your cart, then go on to do something else and don't buy the item, they will actually e-mail you a reminder you have items in your cart and will potentially give you a discount to return to your cart and purchase.
11) Consignment In a day and age when you can actually purchase designer jeans that look used, I don't think buying used jeans at a discounted price is a big deal. I am not a fashion diva, but I have found especially buying maternity clothes on consignment or using a website called "Thred Up" The following link is a $10 off link: http://www.thredup.com/r/TZ0HPK
Kids clothes and shoes on consignment is mostly what my son wears. Really, when they are growing so fast that they only wear outfits a couple of times, it's great to get them for lower prices. My son even has "Tommy Hilfiger" and "Polo" attire for a fraction of the cost.