My favourite word is “clearance!”

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Transportation is expensive, so make your trips to the store count. Planning your route will save you a lot of gas money. Check out websites that will advertise the lowest fuel costs, and plan that into your route. Typically, gas goes up on the weekend, so buy early in the week.

Organize or take part in car pools for school and after-school programs such as scouts, band or soccer. If you save only three gallons of gas a week, that’s 10 to 12 dollars, or 500 dollars a year!

Shop for gifts and seasonal items at the end of a season for your best deals! Barbecues, lawnmowers, snowblowers, Christmas decorations—they all will be cheaper if you buy them late because you’re thinking ahead to next year. Some Valentine’s Day decorations and gifts could work great for Christmas. Keep an open mind when finding bargains and think about how they can be used for other times of the year. I mean, you can’t have Halloween the day after, but if you have little nieces and nephews you won’t see until a few days later, then why not take advantage of the 80-percent-off candy and make up your gift bags then?

There are many fun and free places to go with kids. For instance, many zoos, museums or art institutes have one day a week where admission is free. Many are free all year round and offer classes or one-day workshops that cost very little money. Check out these places in your local area online.

A day of apple or berry picking is a fun way to spend time with your kids and is often a cheaper way to buy fresh fruits. Pack a picnic lunch and maybe go with another family to save gas and have more fun.

If you’re a house cleaner then clean a friend’s home once a month and your friend, who is a hairdresser, can give your children free haircuts once a month. Trade babysitting for piano lessons, or swap veggies from your garden for an oil change—whatever you have to offer there are others who have something to swap for.

Think outside the box. Always be on the lookout for ways to reuse or recycle what you already have. If your old sofa is looking shabby, buy or make a slipcover. Make curtains or other decorative items from sheets that you find on clearance. Saving money may be more fun and easier than you ever imagined, once you start thinking about creative ways to do it!

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