Money-Saving Tips for Family Caregivers
Given the current economic times, all of us are rethinking the way we spend money. Sometimes finding additional ways to cut back on spending is difficult. Here are some simple money saving ideas that anyone can use to save money each and every day.
Save on Food Bills
* Clip coupons. Some grocery stores even offer double or triple off on coupons.
* Buy generic. Store brands often cost much less than brand names, and often, the products are almost identical.
* Apply for and use a store’s free savings card, sometimes called “club cards”. Stores offer many items on sale if you use your card.
* Check out what’s on sale. Additionally, some stores mark down items if they are approaching their “use by” date.
* Make a list of items on sale and plan your shopping before going to the store.
* Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Your empty stomach won’t care how much something costs, it wants to eat now!
* Eat fewer meals out. When you do go out, take advantage of early-bird specials or split a meal with someone you love. Pack a lunch for work.
* Pay attention at the register. Sometimes items will ring up at the wrong price. If you notice a price difference, bring it to the cashier’s attention.
* Stick to a budget. Instead of spending whatever you want, try to set a monthly limit on food expenditures. Keep receipts and tally them up during the month. You might be surprised how quickly small things add up.
Save on Electricity Bills
* Check to make sure your house is properly insulated.
* Make sure you heating and cooling systems are working properly, and change or clean the air filters monthly.
* Use energy efficient light bulbs
* Turn off all electronics when they aren’t in use, including computers, televisions, monitors, cell phone chargers, and extra refrigerators.
* Turn the lights off in rooms you aren’t in.
* If you use some type of life-saving device that runs on electricity, (such as an oxygen machine) contact your utility company for a special reduction in your bill.
* If you qualify as a low income household, check with your utility company for programs that can assist you.
Save on Household Expenses
* Are there any services you pay for that you don’t really use or need such as: premium television services, newspapers or magazines, lawn services, Internet, or phone?
* Use public resources for entertainment, such as the library. Libraries have movie and television show collections, in addition to wonderful books that you can borrow. Remember to return the items on time!
* Do an Internet search for “free things to do in (your city).” You might be surprised at how much fun you can have for free!
* Use cash. People tend to spend less when they use cash instead of a credit card.
* Buy in bulk, if it will save you money and if you have room to store the items.
Save on Medication Costs
* Research medication assistance programs to see if you qualify for reduced cost or free medications. Try websites such as Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org.
* Ask the doctor for prescription samples, especially on new drugs.
* Research the best prices. Some mail order or online pharmacies offer better prices than local chain stores. Sometimes buying a 90-day supply costs less than a 30-day supply.
* Ask your pharmacist if there are lower-cost alternatives, or more cost effective doses for the medications you take. Check with your doctor about any changes.
Save on Medical Costs
* Prevention will save you money in the long run. Maintain your health by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and getting all age-appropriate annual exams.
* Negotiate. If you don’t have insurance, often doctors or hospitals will offer you a “cash” price.
* Check your medical bills carefully. Bring all discrepancies to the billing party right away.
Save on Automobile Expenses
* You or your insurance agent can review your insurance policy to look for possible savings. Sometimes it makes sense to raise a deductible, sign up for the safe driver program or get multiple car discounts.
* Maintain your car. Get oil changes every 5,000 miles and check air pressure in your tires. Watch for coupons for oil changes or other services.
* Keep your eyes open for the best gas prices in town. Beware of hidden charges, such as paying extra to use a debit card.
* If you don’t use a vehicle, you can save on registration if you file a “non-use” form with the DMV.
If you have other money saving tips, please let us know so we can share them with others!