Swap and Save
Families need to budget carefully to pay their expenses and save for the future. Planning ahead is very important. But there are also creative ways to keep costs down in your daily life. Try swapping expensive purchases and experiences for these cheaper—sometimes even free—options. Often, you can save funds without losing any of the fun. Which of these savings swaps have you and your family tried? —By Kathryn Tuggle
ON THE MOVE
Do you know how much it costs to own and use a car? Depending on the type of car and how much it is used, gas can cost more than $2,000 per year. And auto insurance costs even more on top of that.
THE SWAP It’s free to walk or ride a bike. You save money and help the environment when you skip a car ride. Plus, walking and biking keep you active. Here’s a bonus tip for people who live in cities with public transportation: Not only are buses and trains far less expensive than taxi rides, they’re more environmentally friendly, too.
IN THE BOOKS
If you read four books a month, and each book costs $10, you’ll spend $480 in a year. And some books cost much more than $10.
THE SWAP Visit your school library to borrow books for free. Most neighborhoods have a public library, too. If you don’t have a public library card, an adult can help you apply for one. And libraries aren’t just for books. They often loan out movies and games, and host free community events.
DINNER AND A MOVIE
According to a recent survey, the average cost of a restaurant meal is more than $20 per person. And the average price for a movie-theater ticket is more than $9. That’s before we get to treats! Snacks and drinks at a theater are expensive. A bag of popcorn plus a soda can cost even more than the ticket.
THE SWAP Keep costs down by having dinner and watching a movie at home. Cooking brings the cost of a meal down to $4 per serving, on average. Many movies are available on TV. It can be fun to cook with your family, pop some popcorn, and enjoy it all in your pajamas on the couch.
SAVING IN STYLE
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent more than $1,800 on clothing in 2017. How can people cut costs without compromising style?
THE SWAP Thrift stores and bargain shops have a mix of new and used items. Most discounts range from 50% to 80% off the retail price. At some stores, you’ll find items for just a couple of dollars. And you’ll help the environment by giving used items new life.
MADE WITH LOVE
People spend a lot of money buying gifts, and not just for the big holidays at the end of the year. Cards and gifts for other occasions, such as birthdays, can also be expensive.
THE SWAP Make your own presents. Your gift will be one of a kind. The love and time you put in are worth more to the recipient than the money you spend.
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