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Mom Exchange: How Our Family Saves Money

"We keep a list of restaurants where kids eat for free on certain nights. This way, celebration meals won't break the bank. My kids now watch for coupons to these restaurants -- they're getting reading practice and learning to be careful with money." --Dawn Albrecht, Milwaukee

"Twenty dollars from each paycheck goes toward making a switch to a greener and cheaper home. So far, we've changed all our bulbs to CFLs and bought light-sensing nightlights for the kids. These small changes cut our electric bill by $75 a month." --Tosha Watters, Newcastle, OK

"Instead of using coupons right away, I check our grocery store's weekly specials and then use them on those sale items. I once had my bill go from $150 to $35. I was so happy, I hung the receipt on my fridge for a month!" --Julie Maloney, Charlotte, NC

"For kid-friendly snacks, I buy blocks of cheese and generic Goldfish and Nilla Wafers in bulk. Then I divide them into small snack bags myself." --Michele Shea, Brimfield, MA

"My husband and I set aside an amount of cash each week to pay for groceries, eating out, and miscellaneous shopping. It makes us more aware of our spending -- when the cash is gone, it's gone" --Heather Beno, Vacaville, CA T

"I stopped buying bottled water and purchased good-quality metal thermoses. I refill them each morning to stick in the kids' lunch boxes to save money and help the environment." --Lisa Kimoto, Plainview, NY

"Before I buy something online, I always check to see if I can find a discount coupon. Just Google the company's name and 'coupon' (for example, 'Target coupon'), and you're sure to find something to help lower your bill." --Deidre Woods, Greenfield, IN

"We bought our car through a credit union. They sent our 'order' to all the dealerships, who then bid to give us the best deal. It saved us a lot of time and money." --Chelle Daly, Chandler AZ

Looking for a good car deal, too? Go to parenting.com/cars, where you can score the best-priced ride in your area!

Talk to us!  Share your thoughts by sending an e-mail to momexchange@parenting.com.

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