Extreme Coupon Shopping Ideas

Extreme Coupon Shopping Ideas

American families on average spend between up to $1,000 on a combination of items each month, which could include entertainment, groceries, beauty care products, cleaning products and clothes, just to name a few. However, this does not have to be the case. Sacrifices can be made to lower this high monthly expense. In some cases, items can be eliminated or instead, purchase generic brands.

Enjoy Savings

There are ways around shopping and the opportunity to enjoy savings. Couponing could the answer for many Americans. There are four coupon levels, starting from the casual shopper to the extreme. Most people indulge in both level 1 and level 2. However, level 3 and level 4 are trending in many American homes. This is where couponing becomes the extreme strategy to shop. Let’s explore all four levels.

 

Level 1

This level is for the person that uses coupons casually, filling up an entire shopping cart and only using a few coupons (less than ten). Of course, the person will save a few dollars, but not as much as the extreme coupon shopper. This person is probably busy or too lazy to sit and cut out coupons.

 

Level 2

This level consists of a person who prefers to buy generic brands. This is where they think most of the savings are, shopping for generic brands only – without having to clip coupons. In level 2, this person believes that they can enjoy up to $300 savings on generic brand purchases. This could be true in certain situations and for specific products.

 

Level 3

Level 3 consists of the person that looks for the best shopping deal in sales and discounts, capitalizing on the opportunity each time sale items are advertised. In most cases, a person in level 3 will not buy anything that is not on sale and will likely combine sale items with available manufacturer coupons. You have to make an effort to save at this level by being patient and spending up to three hours a week in organizing the manufacturer’s coupons. You could save up to 95% for your efforts at drug stores and grocery stores.

 

Level 4

Level 4 is where it gets extreme and really requires your time and patience. You probably were not aware that you could use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon to buy the same item in a store. If you did not know, now you know. Did you also know that if you were interested in a buy one, get one deal, two coupons can be used on the one sale item? If you did not know, now you know. Extreme coupon deals are usually combined deals where you can get double the savings and access to multiple deals.

 

Conclusion

It is not odd to have an extreme coupon shopper to have more than one Sunday paper delivered to their house. Now you are aware of the different levels of coupon shopping, what level do you fall in? Is it really worth the time? For many coupon shoppers, it is.

 

How To Recover Your Credit After The Holidays

We all know what it’s like to get carried away with holiday shopping, and if getting that January credit card statement is getting you nervous, you’re not alone. The good news is that provided you didn’t buy something truly major, like a sports car or a whole new house, your credit won’t have to suffer under the weight of your statement for long. Here are three easy ways to help you perk up your credit when the holidays have it looking a bit down.

Start Paying

This might seem obvious, but there’s a trick here. If for financial or personal reasons you want to pay everything off right away then go ahead. But if you’re looking for a credit boost, don’t pay everything down all at once. Instead, start making payments, but do it above your monthly minimum required payment. If you’re able, break the balance up into a few manageable blocks and pay those out monthly. The reason for this is a simple not-too-secret secret when it comes to credit cards and how they impact your score.

A lower balance improves your debt to income ratio, and a lower debt to income ratio raises your credit score. For that reason, the sooner you can pay down your debt, the better. Breaking it down into a couple blocks gives you a tiny boost in another area of your credit score, though – payment history. A large portion of your credit score is based on whether you’ve paid bills on time and in full. It won’t be an automatic raise in score on its own, but building a few reliable payments into your budget helps better your score in the long run, too.

Look For Suspicious Information

Check your credit score with a free, reliable resource like CreditKarma.com – and be sure to really research a site before you give it any personal or financial information. Take a look at your credit score and see if things look right. If something doesn’t add up and you’ve got questions, pull your actual credit reports from all three credit bureaus.

Go over them with a close eye and look for anything suspicious – anything questionable. Some fraud is more subtle than trying to drain your accounts or rack up charges on all your cards, so make sure to look carefully. If you see anything suspicious, dispute it right away. Don’t wait for the matter to get worse. Get in contact with both the credit bureau and any other companies involved to get the matter straightened out right away.

The holidays are a time ripe with fraud, and the best way to ensure you’re not subject to it is to look closely for any indicators before real harm can be done.

Start Saving

Once you’ve got this year’s debt all squared away, it’s time to turn attention to warding off a repeat performance next year. Start saving well in advance for next year’s holiday shopping spree, and you’ll be one step ahead and far less likely to reach for your credit card at the register next year, helping to keep that shiny new credit score as immaculate as possible.

How to Save Money on a Tight Budget

Saving money is quite a challenge that most people fail to accomplish in their daily lives. Not because many of them are just blowing excess cash flow on nonsense, but because they simply do not make enough money to pay themselves every paycheck. Before their paycheck is printed up, the money is spent on bills.

There are some habits that need to be exercised by those people who cannot afford to save money. In today’s economical climate, employers are taking advantage of employees by hiring those willing to work for half the pay rate and demand twice the work from them. Let’s take a quick look at how saving little by little can result ultimately in a healthy savings account.

How to cut spending painlessly:

– A tight record of your savings should be evaluated by the end of every month. This activity will give you an idea of how much extra money you just spend on your trips to restaurants over fancy foods. These little saving budgets can make a huge change in the figures of your saving account, if you develop an efficient Budget Worksheet.

– Always look for necessary purchase only. It would be better to take a list of required items, whenever you visit grocery stores. This will help you to not to buy unnecessary items. Spending money on important things such as food and insurance should be your first priority.

– Usually, people carelessly spend lot money on the occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, and holidays etc. for gift exchange purposes. It would be wise to only purchase few well-chosen gifts falling in your budget scheme, rather than going for costly pile gifts without second thoughts.

– Looking for online sales and coupons information in your local newspapers is also an efficient idea. Purchase of low-price products benefits you in every way.

– Always stay strict to the pre-fixed figure, for your savings account on weekly/monthly basis.

Reduce high cost debts:

– Payday loans and high-interest credit cards must be avoided if you want to increase your savings account. A credit card charges you with an interest rate of 25%, whereas payday loans charges 500% of interest rate. Avoiding these two can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars, surprisingly.

Save for Emergence:

– Always ask your credit union or bank to directly transfer money in your account. This little saving of 10 to 15 dollars results in 120 to 180 dollars, yearly.

– Generally, people don’t value loose change. However, adding loose change in your savings account could give you up to $100 over a year.

– Always pre-plan your emergency fund to be occupied in critical situation, rather than going for bigger loans. Although, such funds are being kept in sharing accounts, but on the other hand they pay you enough when in needy situations.

Take free money and save it:

– Participation in Investment Development Account (IDA) programs could be advantageous for you. Attending such financial activity programs and contributing in saving a home, education or business could save you approximately $900 yearly. Just receiving a $2 for every $1 makes your savings account happy.

– There are few employers who tend to match up to 100% of your contributions. If you come across such employers and they perfectly match your retirement savings, then let yourself to endure 100% advantage of such opportunity.

Being on a tight budget sucks big time! But there are new habits that have to be worked into your way of life in order to survive being financially challenged. There is nothing attractive about poverty. Though many hate that they fall into the poverty category, the truth is most of the country now falls in this dismal status. Before Reaganomics, many Americans got over with a $35K salary, purchasing their first home, car, and putting money away for a rainy day.

When President Reagan took office, job security no longer existed and the country has never recovered. Many across the country do not have a savings account. They are working to keep their checking account from overdraft fees. Learning new spending habits and sacrificing can make all the difference.

 

5 Budget-Friendly Tips on How to Throw a Fun Halloween Party

5 Budget-Friendly Tips on How to Throw a Fun Halloween Party

With Halloween fast approaching, the preparations are at full speed. Halloween is a great time to let your imagination run wild and throw a spooky party. Don’t panic if you haven’t figured out all the details yet. There is still time to organize a fun and budget-friendly Halloween party for your kids that will be talked about for a long time. These amusing and multifunctional Halloween stickers will help you out in that venture.

  1. Create an Invitation

After you’ve set the time and place of the party, the next step is sending the invitations. Making an invitation is a piece of cake with these Halloween stickers. Choose the design you think is the most appropriate for an invitation format and include information about where and at what time the party is taking place. It’s plain and simple.

  1. Plan a Spookalicious Menu

Instead of buying expensive Halloween-decorated meals, you can create them at home. Depending on the number of guests, just make a plan which ingredients you need and in what quantities. You can then cook any regular party food you like preparing and give the dishes creepy names. Cut out a few stickers and write down invented food names. Be creative! You can easily make believe chicken wings are bat wings or punch is mummy’s blood. You can also freeze water in a plastic glove and put it in the punch. The icy hand floating in the punch bowl will surely elevate the party mood. Voila! You have the perfect Halloween feast.

  1. Decorate the House

Decorating is pretty much the most important thing for getting into the Halloween spirit. After you already spiced up the Halloween table with some scary party food, next step is to decorate the whole house. You can use the stickers to make banners with scary messages. You will only need a handful of printed stickers and a rope. Attach cut-out stickers to the rope and see how easily the hanged banner can make your house resemble a scary castle. Covering the furniture with sheets and fake spiders can also contribute to creating a creepy atmosphere without spending too much.

  1. Plan Halloween Games

It’s a good idea to plan out games and activities for the kids on time. There are so many interesting games you can prepare for very little money. Mummy wrapping, for example, is one of the many great games for Halloween. You will only need toilet paper or white crepe paper and many happy kids wrapping each other from head to toes. You can even use the stickers to devise a Halloween treasure hunting game. Write down the location of the clues on each label and let the kids look for the treasure. If you need help with activity organization, you can always ask other parents to join you or maybe some of the older children. There is no need to pay someone to additionally entertain your kids.

  1. Make Halloween Treats

Halloween isn’t Halloween without trick-or-treating. Therefore, it’s really important to have great treats waiting for the kids. Making cookies in the shape of spiders, bats or skulls is always a good idea. You can then pack them in bags and apply scary-looking stickers with appropriate messages on them. You may even use them as a reward for the winners of a costume contest that you can organize.

Hopefully, these tips will help you organize an unforgettable Halloween party and not spend too much money. And don’t forget to have fun. Happy Halloween!

Save Your money and make lunches for your kids

Want a logical way to keep your kids’ lunches healthy while saving yourself some money?  It’s simple: make their lunch.  Sure, it takes time and a bit of organization, but if you follow these easy tips, it will become part of your weekly routine (that’s right—weekly) in no time.

Step One- What Does Your Healthy Look Like?

Everyone has a different definition of what healthy is.  For some, only freshly made, organic foods make the cut, while others are okay with giving their kids the occasional prepackaged treat.  You have to figure out what works best for you and your kids—after all, you wouldn’t want to make them a lunch they didn’t even eat, as that would be a waste of money.  You also need to determine how  much your budget will allow you to spend—the bigger the budget, the more you can spend on organic items if that’s something that’s important to you.

Step Two-Gear Up

While simply brown-bagging it is fine, a lot of healthy foods will be fresh and will need better storage to keep them that way until they’re consumed.  Think about spending some money upfront and getting a good insulated lunch bag, some BPA free Tupperware, and a lunch box size ice-pack.  These items will last you a long time and save you from having to buy plastic sandwich bags—a win for the environment as well.

Step Three- Buy and Bag

Now that you have all you need to get started, it’s time to buy your food items.  Buy in bulk dry foods if you can and fresh fruit and vegetables that will last through the week.  Right when you get back from your shopping, separate your lunch provisions into individual servings.  It will take some time, but when you’re finished you’ll have a stock pile to grab from and throw into your lunch box.  Why is this important?  Because it cuts down on the “things getting in the way” factor.  Things like being tired, stressed out, having errands to run, or just simply forgetting.  Putting lunches together will take just a minute of your time because you already got the hard part out of the way.

Step Four-Weekly Preparation

Each week you’ll just need to make sure you have enough items to get through the week and you’ll need to set time aside to get your lunch supplies up.  Don’t forget that you can freeze items that will thaw out before lunch—think about making 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Sunday and freezing them, then just grabbing one or two out of the freezer when you need it for a lunch.  You can freeze all kinds of things—yogurt, applesauce pouches, even fresh fruit.

Step Five-Just Do It

The last part is just remembering to make your children’s lunches each day.  It’s easiest to do right when you get home in the evening—just grab from your pre-made supplies, add in some fresh fruit and veggies, and you’ll have a healthy, balanced lunch for your child in no time—while making sure you’re keeping in budget.

Making your child’s lunch to save money isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but some people don’t do it because they can’t figure out how to get themselves organized enough to make it cost effective.  Well, now you do—so get started today.

Baby Items You Don’t Need

There’s no question about it: Babies are expensive. From nursery furniture to car seats to clothing, the cost of raising an infant can really add up. And let’s not forget the monthly expense of diapers, wipes, and food. While there’s no getting around certain baby-related expenses, you can cut corners and save money by being smart about the things you buy. In fact, there are plenty of popular baby items out there that you can easily do without. If you’re on a budget, here a few you’ll probably want to skip:

Wipe Warmer

It’s natural to want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, but here’s the thing: Wipes were designed to keep babies nice and clean, and they do their job just fine at whatever natural temperature they come in. Unless you’re storing your wipes in the refrigerator (and why would you?), there’s no need to warm them up before applying them to your baby’s bottom. Save your $30, or, if anything, spend it on a nice warm blanket.

Baby Bullet

There’s no need to spend $60 or more on a food processor with cute packaging. Want to know what does a fine job at pureeing baby food? A regular food processor. If you have one already, there’s no need to spend money on the baby version.

Plush Stuffed Animals

Sure, stuffed animals are nice and soft, and they’re perhaps fun to look at, but there’s no need to buy your infant an expensive one. In fact, many stuffed animals are actually unsafe for babies, as they come with removable eyes and other hazardous components for infants. Instead of stuffed animals, invest in some learning and development toys for your little one.

Shopping Cart Covers

Germs are a part of life, and while it’s natural to want to keep your baby in a virtual bubble, one day you’ll realize that you can only do so much to prevent your child from catching whatever’s going around. Until then, do yourself a favor and save your $30 or $40 by taking that shopping cart cover off your list. Not only does it only serve a limited purpose (your child can still reach out and touch other parts of the cart), but it’s also going to add to your already out-of-control laundry pile.

Crib Bumpers

Crib bumpers are cute and all, but these days, doctors actually advise against using them. The logic is that young babies can roll over and get caught in them, thus creating a hazardous sleeping environment. There’s no sense in spending extra money on something that’s not even safe for your baby.

Sheet Savers

Sheet savers are only effective if your infant stays absolutely still during the night. Once your baby starts squirming around in his or her crib, those sheet savers are rendered completely useless. You’re better off spending money on an extra set of sheets.

Remember, the people who market these baby products are very good at what they do. Give them a chance, and they’ll have you convinced that you absolutely need these products to give your baby the best start at life. In reality, there are plenty of so-called baby essentials you can skip, and your infant isn’t going to suffer one bit in the process. Stick to the basics, and use whatever leftover money you have to make your life easier. Or put it toward your baby’s college fund. Just don’t waste it on useless gear you’ll only regret buying.

How to Spend Less on Diapering

Whether you have a single baby in diapers or multiple children in diapers at the same time, the cost of keeping little ones clean and dry can really add up. A single diaper can cost anywhere from $0.20 to over $0.50 depending on the type you buy, and since most babies go through 5 to 8 diapers a day, that’s a lot of money all in. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount you spend each month on diapering supplies.

Get a Diaper and Wipes Subscription

Common baby supplies like diapers, wipes, and ointment are available via monthly online subscription programs. Retailers like Amazon and Diapers.com offer these programs which make diapering supplies not only more affordable, but more convenient. Rather than have to run to the store all the time, you can sign up to have the supplies you expect to need each month delivered to your home automatically. Best of all, you’ll pay considerably less than what you would at most physical stores.

Use the Same Brand and Collect Points

Many diaper companies offer rewards programs to encourage brand loyalty among their customers. Once you find a diaper brand that seems to work for your baby, sign up for its rewards program online. Then, collect the codes that come on your packaging and enter them into your account, and before you know it, you’ll probably have enough to snag some free supplies.

Search for Coupons

There are tons of coupons out there for diapers, wipes, and other such supplies—you just need to be willing to look for them. A simple online search will probably reveal a number of them, but you can also look for coupons in baby magazines, newspapers, and local circulars.

Look for Warehouse Club Deals

Warehouse clubs tend to offer discounted pricing in exchange for buying in bulk, and diapers are no exception. While warehouse clubs don’t always carry a full range of diapering supplies and sizes, it pays to check if your local club has the diapers you need in stock. You may be able to buy them at an even more discounted price than a subscription program offers. As an added bonus, some warehouse clubs offer monthly specials or coupons that allow you to score a discount on top of their already reduced prices. If you’re not already a member of a warehouse club, it may not pay for you to join one just to save on diapers; but if you’re paying that yearly membership fee anyway, you might as well take advantage.

Don’t Always Use a Wipe

It’s natural to want your baby to be clean and comfortable, and if your little one pops a stinker, there’s no question about it: You’ll need to use as many wipes as it takes to get your baby nice and clean. But in the absence of a poop situation, there’s really no need to use a wipe every single time you do a diaper change—especially if your baby’s diaper is only slightly wet. Being a little stingy with wipes can save you a nice chunk of change over the course of a year.

While the cost of diapers may be taking a toll on your finances now, there’s good news: Your child will be potty-trained eventually, and when that happens, you can kiss those diapers goodbye. Until then, be patient and hang in there.

Creative Ways for a SAHM to Make Money

When I became a SAHM, it wasn’t long before I felt the need to contribute in more ways than just changing diapers, washing clothes, and being on-call for 24 hours a day.  (You know, like new moms need more to do!) I realized that in order for me to stay at home, it was important for me to also contribute financially—and that meant even if I couldn’t work in a traditional job.  Pinching pennies in order to stay at home with the kids is nothing new for families scrambling to make it on one income, but there are some ways you can actually bring in some money- or at least recoup money you’ve spent.

Sell All the Things

My husband is a giver.  He wants to give things away to people.  It’s a really nice trait, but I’m not a giver.  I’m a seller.  When our son grows out of clothes, I sell them.  Toys?  For sale. That stroller he outgrew?  Sold.   Any and everything that can be sold will be.  It takes planning and organization to sell items on Facebook sites, Craigslist, or eBay and you’ll need to be prepared.  Or you can look in your area to find a resale shop that takes gently used kid’s items.  You’ll make more money if you sell things on your own, but if you try and no one’s biting, take them to a resale shop for a quick cash pay day in your pocket.

Become a Freelance Writer

The Internet is huge.  Websites are begging for new content all the time so they can stay relevant and competitive.  In order to do so, they need to post original posts several times a week, if not every day—sometimes multiple times a day.

And while they just might seem like words on a screen on a website, those words–that content–was written by a person, most likely a freelance writer.

Freelance writing is a fantastic way to earn extra money as a SAHM.  The vast majority of positions allow you to take on as much or as little as you’d like, while working from home.  There are lots of websites out there that can link you up with companies interested in writers, such as elance.com, creativecircle.com, and problogger.com.

Don’t forget to put aside some money for taxes—most freelance jobs are 1099—meaning they don’t take out taxes for you and the position is considered a contractor.

Offer Services If You Have a Talent

Just because you aren’t working in your career field anymore doesn’t mean your experience and knowledge aren’t valuable.  If you worked in education, you could tutor students in subjects like math, English, social studies, or foreign languages.  Other ideas include:

  • Doing hair/nails/massage out of your home (for former hairstylists/cosmetologists)
  • Data Entry (Some companies offer data entry jobs that can be done from home)
  • Lesson planning
  • Making crafts—Are you talented at making something? Could you open your own Etsy shop and make it worth it?
  • Childcare—Take on a few more kids—it doesn’t have to be all day—but what about moms who want to just get away for a few hours?

Being a SAHM in itself is a full-time job, whether you have one little one at home with you, or several.  If you find yourself in a position where you’re able and willing to take more on, there are opportunities out there for you that are fun, flexible, and make sense financially.  You might have to put in a little more legwork to find ways to make extra money from home, but it is possible!

5 Things You Really Need When Having Your First Baby

Seeing the results of a pregnancy test can leave you feeling shocked, overwhelmed, excited, and anxious. But those feelings pale in comparison to how you’ll feel after taking your first trip down to your nearest “baby” store.

After losing yourself (and possibly your mind) for hours and hours in aisles filled from top to bottom with all things baby related, it’s likely you might leave the store questioning if you’re fit to be a parent. After all, don’t good parents buy things like wipe warmers and ergonomically designed pacifiers for their babies? And if you don’t or can’t, what does that make you?

A complete and utter parental failure. The baby hasn’t even arrived yet and you’re already letting it down. Way to go mom and dad.

The truth is most of the thousands upon thousands of items in those baby stores are not necessary for raising a thriving, healthy baby. Sure, there are lots of products that will help you in your quest to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, but in general, there are just a handful of “must-haves” when it comes to taking your first baby home.

#1-A Good Crib Mattress

You don’t need the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art crib, but the crib mattress?  Well, that’s another thing altogether. Pinching pennies on a crib mattress may very well result in a saggy, unsupportive mattress in just a few months’ time and you’ll find yourself once again spending cash on another mattress. Save yourself the second trip and just get a better quality mattress to start with. You’ll sleep better and hopefully, so will your baby.

#2- A Video Monitor

The first few months of parenthood?  You might find yourself going a little insane.  You’re tired and constantly worried about this tiny little person you’ve just brought in to the world.  You might be so anxious about SIDS that you actually find yourself sleeping on the floor next to your baby’s crib as if you’d be able to fend it off.  Some parents get a monitor that lets them hear their baby’s cries and later, baby’s babbles.  I’d suggest taking it a step further and getting a video monitor so you can actually see what’s going on.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard a few sounds, ran into my son’s room to see what was wrong, only to find out he was  making sounds in his sleep and my running into his room in panic mode only resulted in waking him.  A video monitor lets you see and hear your sleeping angel—giving you much needed reassurance.

#3-A Sling

It’s no secret that babies like to be held.  Some of them will make you hold them forever.  And if you’re lucky enough to get one of those babies, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have dinner/a clean house/a chance to do laundry for a few months.  Get a swaddle, wrap, or sling, bundle your little guy or gal up in it and enjoy hands’-free parenting at its finest.

#4- A Quality Stroller

Your baby will spend quite a bit of time in his or her stroller in the first year or two of life, but make sure it’s one you really like too. There are so many options out there, it really just depends on your lifestyle and what you plan on using the stroller for.  My go-to was the City Mini.  Everything about this bad boy was easy—and it made traveling a snap with its quick release fold handle.  My favorite trick was when we’d be in the security line at the airport.  No one likes to get behind a family with a kid and stroller, right?  Well, they’d be shocked when I’d just yank the handle up on the stroller and the whole thing just collapsed like a house of cards.  Mic drop.

#5-Earplugs

For you, not for baby.  Sure, it’s kind of a joke, but also kind of not.  Shrill baby cries got you down?  Earplugs.  Is it your shift to sleep, but every whimper or sniffle wakes you up?  Earplugs.  Has your spouse’s voice inexplicably become extra annoying (this will return to normal in a  few months.  Maybe.) Earplugs.  Take the edge off and be that super-parent you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

Don’t buy into the hype.  Babies are simple little creatures that don’t need much—it’s us parents that over-complicate the situation by thinking we need it all in order to be a gold star parent.

How to Save Money Dining Out With Kids

 

 

 

No matter where you go or what you order, eating at a restaurant is almost always going to be more expensive than preparing a meal at home. Whether you dine out with your children once a week, once a month, or just several times a year, there are a bunch of steps you can take to keep your costs to a minimum.

Look Out for Specials

It’s common for family restaurants to offer promotions ranging from discounted appetizers to a free child meal for each adult meal purchased. One of the easiest ways to save money on dining out is to take advantage of these specials, even if it means going out a little earlier or on a weeknight instead of a weekend. Similarly, check your local mailers for coupons issued by the
restaurants you tend to frequent.

Share Entrees

Children don’t tend to eat as much as adults, so if your kids are small and not particularly big eaters, consider either having them share entrees or having you and your spouse share your entrées with them. If you’re worried that it won’t be enough food, try ordering one extra side dish as a supplement.

Skip the Kids’ Meals

Kids’ meals aren’t always all that economical. Sometimes a kids’ meal will cost only a few dollars less than an adult-sized meal, but will also consist of a lot less food. If you dine at restaurants where the adult-sized portions tend to be generous, try having your children share a single full-sized entrée.

Drink Water

Going out to dinner is a nice treat by itself; you don’t have to load up on overpriced, unhealthy beverages to enhance the experience. Though some restaurants do offer free soft drink refills, the cost of buying a round of sodas can really add up. Instead, stick to water, and save the sugar for dessert.

Don’t Pay for the Things Your Kids Won’t Eat

Children—especially younger ones—tend to be picky eaters. If your child orders a meal that comes with a side or accompaniment that you know your child won’t eat, ask your waiter to have that item omitted, and politely request a modest discount on the meal price as a result. This is often more economical than asking for a replacement side, as restaurants tend to charge extra for substitutions.

Say Yes to Leftovers

Restaurant portions tend to be large, so if you wind up with untouched food on your children’s plates, ask to have it packed up to go, even if it is a small amount. You can probably serve it as lunch or as part of your kids’ dinner the next day, which means you’ll avoid wasting the leftovers while trimming your food costs.
Dining out with children doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you employ smart strategies and pick restaurants that are reasonably priced. Besides, it’s nice to occasionally treat yourself and your family to a different dining experience, and there’s certainly something to be said for not having to do all the cooking and cleaning up yourself.