How we do it

“One way that I save money is by a couple of times a week. They have a lot of ideas on ways to save money. They also have links to a lot of Web sites for coupons, free samples, etc. I also use a lot of coupons and print them off the Internet.

“I plan out my meals ahead of time, to cut back on unnecessary trips to the grocery store and to avoid resorting to fast food when I can’t think of something to cook.”

Luann Lytell

“We have found the easiest way to save money is to simply plan our week. We’ve eliminated going to the grocery store(s) every other day (or, sometimes every day) and instead have enjoyed more quality, calm time together. We have saved money not only on gas but by actually making a list and sticking to it. We’ve also combined our other errands (library, church, etc.) to correlate with these planned necessities. Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often we used to run out‘just for the fun of it.’"

Tammy Glynn

“Coupons, coupons and more coupons. I save and file them all. I share them with my friends. I read everything and clip everything. I bring them with me in my purse in a small file organizer. It really makes a difference. My friends and I also take the kids to free outdoor movies, free days at the museum and outdoor music festivals.”

Melody Murphy

“We have several money saving tips. Rent movies at the library, free. Hit any museums on free days and take the free trolley and pack a picnic. Keep an ear out for all the free festivals with fun stuff to do that doesn’t cost for a ride, like free face painting or craft table. Kids have had a great time and fun memories are created all with little money.”

Stacy Maffit

“1. Of course visit for a calendar of events, many are free. 2. Plan your errands. One day north of your home. Day two south of your home. 3. There are many"Freesources” and"Freecycle” chapters in the Chicago area. They offer free stuff to members from others who would normally just dispose of them and fill up our landfills. 4. Participate in"In-the-House Fieldtrips” with your kids. One example for toddlers: set up all their stuffed animals around their room and go on a tour of (NAME)’s Zoo. Another example for older kids: go on a"Green Scavenger Hunt.” Look for items to be reused or recycled and look for ways to save energy resources.”

Penny Pierce

“1. If I buy anything on-line, I click first through, then check out I get a percent back into my kids’ college savings from Upromise and then get coupon codes for up to 25 percent off and/or free shipping from Coupon Mountain. You can also Google"coupon code” plus the name of any store for the codes. 2. Or even better, I will ask on for an item before I buy. This great site helps us reduce what we have here, keep unwanted stuff out of landfills and meet nice neighbors in the process. 3. We host an annual garage sale with my siblings and parents. 4. Low-impact birthday parties, like sleep overs, have been really popular with my daughter’s friends. She’ll often make a CD to add to a small gift, like a book. Homemade cards are great. 5. We try to make presents for each other instead of buying so much. The kids just painted four 8×10 canvases as a gift to my husband.”

Susie Donahoe

“I have started taking the train to work to help curb my gas costs. I also have started running as many errands in one trip as much as possible. I also only shop the sales for groceries and use low-cost stores, such as Wal-Mart and Aldi’s. For entertainment, I have started renting movies more from the Redbox for $1 or go to the library. The tight economy has made us put things in perspective and made us only spend on what we have to versus what we want to.”

Kimberly Williams

“My money saving tip is the AMC MovieWatcher movie program. If you apply online for its MovieWatcher card and use it each time you go to the show you earn various rewards, such as free popcorn or drinks and even free movie tickets. Each time you go to the show you are given coupons for their specials on the concessions. You also get weekly e-mails with coupons and specials for more free stuff.”

Laura Wysocki

“We have lots of money saving tips that our family uses. I always cut coupons and pair them with things on sale. I also belong to a coupon trading Web site, so that I can get more coupons for the things we use. We also belong to Freecycle. It’s a great way to get things that you need for free and to give away stuff that you don’t need.

“We get books and videos at the library and we also go there to play instead of spending money somewhere.

“We walk to places when we can.

“We always turn off the water when we brush our teeth. We only start the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full. This helps save on the water bill. I also collect rain water in jugs outside and use that to water the plants and flowers.”

Heather Holtz

“With gas costs being so high I do a lot of shopping online (plus I get to shop without the kids and that saves me a bundle right there). Never buy anything without doing a Google search for a coupon. I never pay for shipping and sometimes you can stack coupons and get a percentage off as well. Join—you earn an extra percentage off just for clicking through—it is also free and if you get referred by someone you get $5 with your first purchase. It also doesn’t generate any junk mail. The key for me for grocery shopping is to only buy things on sale, use cut coupons and again never shop with the kiddos—they talk me into buying too many things that are expensive and not good for them.”

Lynn Prehm

“To save money, we only drive four days a week and we carefully plan our trips so we can travel in one direction per day.”

Tameika Ranolle

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