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S-T-R-E-T-C-H Every Dollar


April 24, 2013

SIMPLE IDEAS TO HELP YOU SAVE ON GROCERIES, GAS, CLOTHES, AND ENTERTAINMENT

By: Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock Publisher
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As any parent will attest, raising kids can be expensive. Some financial professionals estimate that it costs nearly $200,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18, and that doesn't even include college costs!

Macaroni Kid is a great resource for saving you money! Our calendar has a variety of events for families, kids of all ages, even date nights — most are free or under $10. Our Biz Directory is full of special offers just for our Macaroni Moms and Dads. We have exclusive coupons and the inside scoop on special events like Kids Night on Broadway!

Here are a few more tips to help you stretch your daily dollars so you've got a little extra for some pampering or a family vacation:

Grocery Stores
  • Don't underestimate the power of the coupon, and learn your store's policies. Some stores, like Target and Safeway, will allow you to "stack" a store coupon on top of a manufacturer's coupon for extra savings.
  • Use loyalty cards. You'll get special prices on everyday items and may receive coupons for the items you buy most often.
  • Purchase store brands. For most items, you probably can't even tell the difference.
  • Shop seasonally for produce for the best price. Better yet, shop at a local Farmers' Market. The Highlands Ranch Farmers' & Street Market opens on May 5 and the Parker Farmers' Market usually opens Mother's Day weekend.
  • Check the Clearance section in the meat department for extra-low prices on beef, chicken, and pork. Just freeze the meat immediately or cook within a day or so of purchase.

Clothes
  • Consignment sales are a great way to get everything you need for the upcoming season. Several sales take place in Douglas County each spring and fall so you can get everything you need, and we'll always keep you posted on the upcoming sales. Sell your own gently-used items at these sales and you may even come out ahead of the game!
  • End-of-season clearance racks in the stores have items for up to 90% off the original price. Buy classic styles for yourself to wear next winter. Purchase clothes for your children a size or two larger than they are wearing now.
  • Buy in bulk whenever possible. Socks, underwear, gloves, and hats all seem to disappear or get worn out before they get outgrown. Stock up!

Entertainment & Dining Out
  • Our Douglas County Libraries have free and low-cost events for every member of the family. From the Colorado Wineries date night to the May the Fourth Be With You celebration, our library system truly has something for everyone!
  • The Douglas County Educational Foundation (DCEF) offers discounted tickets to special Douglas County Community Days and a portion of what you spend is returned to your child's school. Current offers on the site include discounted tickets to Elitch Gardens and a Colorado Rockies game.
  • Pay attention to Kids Eat Free or Cheap days when dining out. Order water to drink ... sodas or tea for a family of four will usually add up to $10-12, not including tax and tip! (I keep a Mio or a Crystal Light in my purse to flavor my water.) Use coupons whenever possible. If there's an expensive restaurant you'd like to try, visit Restaurant.com to purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10 or less (do a web search of "restaurant.com promo code") or save your visit for Denver Restaurant Week.
  • Loyalty cards are not just for grocery stores. Many restaurants, movie theaters, and retail stores have loyalty cards as well that will save you plenty of dough, especially if you are a frequent customer. For children's destinations (like zoos, museums, or indoor playgrounds), look into a family membership or a multi-visit punch card.

Gasoline
  • Use a website like GasBuddy.com to help you find the cheapest gas prices nearby. This is especially handy when you are outside your neighborhood or on a road trip.
  • Keep your trunk empty, your engine tuned, and your tires properly inflated ... doing so can improve gas mileage from 4-15%.
  • Park facing out by backing in to a space or pulling through. Reversing with a cold engine uses extra gas. Plus you'll have a clearer view when you leave your parking space.
  • Combine your errands and use a website like FindTheBestRoute.com to find the fastest route for up to 25 addresses.

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