Four Surprising Ways Your Family Can Save Money

Thank you to our friends and partners at Energy Ogre for showing our families how we can save money in 2018!

Since it’s always a good time to save money, my husband and I have recently embarked on some creative budgeting tactics to try and put some money aside for future vacations {ahem…Disney World}. What has worked for us may not be the solution for everyone, but these four tips have allowed us to save several hundred dollars a month, and none of them required coupon clipping or drastic life changes.

Introducing…Energy Ogre

One way we have always wanted to save money, but never could figure out exactly how, was with our electricity bill. As Houstonians, we’ve got to run our air conditioner nearly year-round, but the bills can be so ridiculous. Until now. Energy Ogre is our newest HMB partner, and they are the experts at finding the lowest electricity cost for your family.  In fact, in 2017, they saved their members a total of 67.16 million dollars. Let that sink in.

We are moving, and Energy Ogre will be our first phone call when we purchase our new house. From finding the right plan, enrolling us in it, handling issues that may arise, to renewing the plan, they will manage all of our electricity so it’s one less thing we have to think about. Using cutting edge technology and mathematical algorithms to find the best possible plan to meet our needs, we are letting this trusted company handle it all for us. We are thankful that they will read the fine print and identify hidden charges so that we never overpay  again.

If you already have an electricity provider, Energy Ogre can still help you. By sending them your electricity bill, they will check your usage for the past year, run an in-depth analysis of your options, and forecast your next 12 months of energy usage. Then, they’ll factor in cancellation fees with your current provider and discuss your options with you – if you should stay or switch. I love that there’s no pressure involved, it’s really just allowing them to gather information for you and then you can decide what is best for your family. Their service only costs $10 a month, and there is no contract, so you can cancel anytime. Now, that’s something I can budget for. Find out how much you can save with their interactive savings calculator!

Cash System for Eating Out

A few months ago we realized we were spending way too much money eating out. Whether it was quick stops at Sonic for after school snacks {yes, I have a Coke Zero problem, we’ve established this} or take-out on a weeknight because we failed to menu plan, we needed to cut back.  So, we went to a cash system. At the beginning of the month, I withdraw $400 cash. We each take $100 for lunches, ice cream outings with the kids, etc. and keep the rest for family meals, or to divvy out as the month goes on. This system has really helped us because it forces us to make a plan, which is really the key to a successful budget. We find ourselves prioritizing our outings differently and having a more creative weekly menu plan {featuring leftovers we will actually eat}. For months we know we have more restaurant expenses – like birthday months, for example, we plan accordingly, or allocate more money that month.

Many folks use a cash system for various expenses after bills are paid. We have only been brave enough to use it for restaurants, but our next goal is groceries.  The cash system is really helpful because you physically see where your money is going, instead of swiping and moving on. Other areas for a cash system can include date nights, shopping, and family outings, to name a few.

Cancel Cable and Never Look Back

Getting rid of cable and streaming all of your shows and movies {and even the news} saves hundreds of dollars a month.  Several HMB contributors swear by this piece of advice to save money and say that they do not miss their cable at all. Using Apple TV, Netflix, PlayStation Vue, or a Roku Stick might cost around $45 a month, as opposed to somewhere near the $200 mark for cable.

Most children’s shows can be streamed through Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, but some networks require a paid subscription, so do your homework before cancelling.  

Curbside Grocery Pickup

Ordering our groceries online has saved us from buying so many unnecessary items at the store {especially when the kids are in tow}. Making your plan for groceries and ordering online is so convenient and the $6 fee we pay for Kroger ClickList is minor compared to the riff-raff I come home with if I go in the grocery store absentmindedly. Using the online order and curbside pickup is also nice because the app will show you sales on various items, make menu suggestions, and save your recent orders so you never forget to purchase your staple items. I have also appreciated that they sometimes make substitutions on items {unless you click “no substitutions”} and do not charge me for them, in an effort to persuade me to buy the store brand. The only downside we have found to this service is that the produce items often are not exactly what we would have picked, so sometimes for these items, my husband will make a side trip to the store. Other than that, we are curbside fans for life!

More Quick Tips for Saving Money ::

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts in the store, or coupon codes for online shopping. A little kindness in this area can go a long way for getting savings off of an item, especially at a chain store. For online retailers, start a chat with the help center and just ask the question. The worst they can tell you is no.
  • Buy gifts cards to purchase items you already need. This can be done in big ways at Costco, or on smaller amounts at the grocery store. Buying the gift card can give you fuel points for Kroger, which can add up to a nice amount of savings!
  • Condense your credit cards into ONE card and let all of your points add up in one place. One contributor did this, and the points added up to free round-trip airfare for her family of four to Hawaii! Another contributor does this through the Disney Visa card, and ends up getting about $1,000 in rewards to spend on their annual Disney vacation. {Editor’s note :: in both examples, the contributors are paying off their cards each month and not accruing debt for points}.
  • Always check for corporate discounts. This can be applied for gym memberships, cell phones, concert tickets, and even travel. The perks of working for a large company can really pay off!
  • Shop through neighborhood groups for secondhand items such as kids’ toys, kids’ clothes, small appliances, home decor, and even clothes for you. Facebook marketplace and community groups have made resale so much easier! 

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So, tell us, what are some ways that your family saves money each month? Sound off in the comments below!

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Brittney F
Originally from Louisiana, Brittney has called Houston home for nearly all her life. Brittney graduated from Houston Baptist University where she was a member of Phi Mu and a four-year cheerleader. It didn’t take long after graduation for her to meet her husband Jeremy on the sand volleyball courts at Memorial Park. She jokes that when marrying Jeremy, she also married LSU because she tied the knot with the most passionate Tiger football fan. Many weekends in the fall, they can be found in the shadows of Tiger Stadium at their big family tailgating party. Brittney has a Master's Degree from LSU and works in secondary education as an administrator and a cheerleading coach. Brittney and Jeremy have three boys, Connor {Nov 2012}, Parker {Nov 2014}, and Ryan {May 2018}. Brittney is a big baby-making, food allergy fighting, NICU surviving mom. Though she grew up surrounded by hairbows, pom poms, and lots of pink, Brittney now embraces being a boy mom. She loves raising her three boys and learning all about superheroes, baseball, and the pain of stepping on a lego when barefoot. In her kid-free time she enjoys working on craft projects, getting lost in a good book, and watching Grey's Anatomy.



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