Category: Frugal Living Tips

7 Tips for Saving Money at Outlet Mall Stores and Factory Stores

Americans buy so much clothing that we’re starting to fill up landfills with it.

Because you don’t know what you could end up wearing next year, you might not be the type to spend high prices on trendy clothing. If you want great fashion at a low price, outlet mall stores can give you the bargain you’re looking for.

Here are 7 things to remember when you’re shopping at outlet mall stores.

1. Look for Quality

When you’re walking through an outlet mall, you could be tempted by all the brands on display. Don’t get starry-eyed about all the luxury brand offerings. You need to find quality materials that will last you for years rather than brands that seem trendy now.

Lots of great brands make products that are also high-quality. They’ll also produce a lot of one product that they will sell but isn’t up to their usual quality standards. When you see a high quantity of one product, make sure it’s good quality before you buy it.

You’ll know quality materials, even from lighter fabrics, when you see them. Trust your gut when you’re shopping. Check out Ramco Textiles for some examples of high-quality fabrics.

2. Follow Trends to Come

While you should always be skeptical of trends, if you want to remain stylish, you’ll need to know what’s happening in the world of fashion. When a new style takes hold, every brand will try to jump on the bandwagon. When rompers were a big hit, just about every brand on the planet had overstock the next season.

Keeping an eye on trends means that you can be on the lookout for a brand that tried to be a trendsetter and failed. If a great brand made a version of a type of garment that won’t become a hit for 2 more seasons, there could be a lot of product in outlet stores for cheap.

Combine your love for trends with an appreciation for quality and you’ll be sure to end up with a great deal.

3. Always Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the first snow storm to buy your winter jacket. If you’re not married to trends, look for great winter deals as soon as winter ends.

If you weren’t happy with what you had for summer or felt unprepared for the weather, look for new items as soon as fall hits. Outlet prices will cause off-season garment prices to plummet.

If you’re shopping for a family, shopping off-season is massively important to make sure that everyone has what they need and is happy with their wardrobe.

4. Avoid the Rush

Everyone wants to get a deal and some people will even call ahead to stores to see when they receive their next shipments. You can go that route if you’ve got to get the latest items, but you could find yourself in a mad dash to get things that there’s no shortage of.

Instead, save yourself the stress of waiting in long lines or dealing with picked-over shelves by going during off-peak hours. Try shopping early in the day on Tuesday-Thursday rather than going on the weekend. If you miss the morning shopping hours, go around dinnertime instead.

You’ll save yourself the stress and might find that the shelves are nicely stocked for your visit.

5. Check Return Policies

Depending on the brand or the store, you could be dealing with a rigid return policy that might leave you suspicious. In fact, if an outlet doesn’t believe in their products or their customers enough to offer a good return policy, they might not be worth working with.

Some stores might have no return policy at all. You might end up buying discounted goods as gifts, and if they don’t fit, your friends or loved ones won’t be able to return them. If they can’t be returned, it’s like you just walked into the store and donated money to them for no reason.

Rather than waste your time and money, make sure that the shop you’re buying from has a strong return policy. If the products are good enough, they’ll know that very few people will be returning but for legitimate reasons.

6. Talk to the Staff

You never know how the quality of one item compares to the items offered last year or even last season. Manufacturing could have changed or the way something is made might be different than it was before.

The people who will know the most are going to be the staff at the outlet mall. Talk to them and see what they recommend. Ask what is selling and what might be getting returned a lot.

If they’ve had problems with one garment, perhaps they can recommend another. Asking the people who work with the items day in and day out will give you the best idea of what to expect when you’re shopping.

7. Sometimes You Have to Come Back

Don’t ever feel guilty if you don’t find anything that you fall in love with at an outlet mall. The great thing about outlets is that the stock turns over so often that you can come back in a few weeks and find a completely new set of items for sale.

While it might take you a few trips to find what you’re looking for, with the savings that you’ll get in the end, it’s always worth being patient. If you pick up an item you don’t think you can love forever, just put it down and come back another time.

Outlet Mall Stores Are More Than Discount Malls

Outlet mall stores are a great place to find a deal, but also a great way to know what trends are going to be out of fashion in a year and which are here to stay. If you love fashion, it’s not all about following what’s in during a given season. It’s also about getting high-quality garments at a good price.

Before you go shopping, check out our guide to make sure you start decluttering before you bring more into your house.

7 Energetic Benefits of Wearing Red Coral Jewelry

Red coral is a naturally gorgeous stone that makes a statement no matter how you wear it. It provides a pop of color to any ensemble and it’s a unique stone that will set you apart from the rest.

And, if the look and feel of the stone weren’t enough, some new age practitioners believe that the stone provides other properties as well. From giving you a little extra confidence to warding off negative energies, red coral is said to be one of the best stones to wear.

Whether you believe in the energetic properties of red coral or you just think the stone is neat, keep reading. We’re breaking down our favorite energetic properties of red coral so you can come to any occasion prepared.

1. It Gives You a Confidence Boost

Our personal favorite energetic property of red coral is that it will give you a confidence boost. Red coral is a gemstone that symbolizes Mars, the god of war. That symbolism brings a lot of confidence and courage to the table any time you wear it.

When you wear red coral, you enhance your ability to bring confidence to anything you do. It’s even a stone that some new age practitioners tell people in difficult marriages to wear in order to increase their desire and sexual energy.

2. You’ll Overcome Anything

When you bring confidence to any situation, you allow yourself to make greater strides to completing your challenges.

Do you have a difficult meeting coming up at work? Are you really gunning to lose those last five pounds? Are you coming up on a deadline and put off a big project till the last minute?

If so, you should put on some real red coral. All that extra confidence and courage will give you a boost to leap over obstacles and dodge enemies like they’re nothing.

3. Your Mental and Physical Health Will Improve

Many new age practitioners believe that wearing red coral also provides a level of healing properties. Some people believe that when you wear red coral, you increase your body’s ability to heal many different ailments.

Some think that red coral helps to regulate blood pressure, as it’s color and promotion of confidence is good for the heart.

Along with those connotations comes the idea that it helps improve circulation and repairs “weak blood.”

On top of the possible physical health benefits, there are many mental health benefits that go hand in hand with red coral.

It all links back to that confidence we talked about earlier. When you greet the world with confidence and bravery, there’s no room for extreme anxiety, which helps clear up many mental health issues.

Some cultures also believe that wearing red coral helps a person become more in tune with their bodies, allowing them to trust their intuition better.

4. Kickstart Your Energy Levels

If you’re a person who tends to put everything off to the last minute, or you’re afraid to ask the cute person at your office out, wearing red coral might be for you.

Many people believe that Mars, the god of war, was a pragmatic god. He believed in getting the job done with logical methodology. And when you wear his stone, you come prepared with those same beliefs.

You’ll greet a difficult task with energy and enthusiasm. Red coral acts as a catalyst for getting difficult things done!

5. You’ll Be a Better Partner

Some cultures believe that red coral represents marriage compatibility. It’s supposed to help a marriage reach maximum potential and increase longevity. It’s said to even help ward off the death of the husband, saving the wife from being a widow.

If you think that your marriage needs a little extra help, why not add red coral into your daily wardrobe?

6. It Provides Protection

There are plenty of people who have new age beliefs that think that there are evil forces out in the world that mean to do you harm. Whether or not you agree with those superstitions, it’s interesting to learn about these various beliefs.

Many people believe that red coral wards off black magic or bad influences that mean you harm. Coral is made from a once-living organism that thrives in the ocean, and the energy from these creatures is said to provide you with protection, peace, and vitality.

So if things haven’t been going your way lately, if all your houseplants are dying and you seem to be running into one bad luck scenario after another, put on some red coral. It may be just the thing you need to ward away that bad energy.

7. Chill Out Your Less Stellar Character Traits

There are certain character traits that are associated with the planet Mars, which is then associated with the god of war Mars as well. Impatience, short-temperedness, and low tolerance are all things that are associated with Mars.

If your birth chart shows that your moment of birth is in a bad relationship with Mars, astrologers believe that those negative traits are prominent in you. But when you wear red coral, you could help relieve yourself of some of those traits during a time when Mars is in retrograde.

Gemstones for Protection, Prosperity, and Practicality

While there are many people out there who believe that different gemstone properties are just superstitious hogwash, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give red coral a try for yourself. You might find that you gain some of these wonderful energetic benefits from the gemstone, whether you believe in it or not!

If you liked this post make sure you check back for more about how to improve your life with the power of gemstones!

How Long Will It Take for a Home Renovation?

Planning a home renovation is both fun and exciting, right? New finishes, new design, and a brand-new look make it all worthwhile.

But one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not planning out the timeline and thinking everything will go according to plan.

To avoid the hassle and extra expense a time-consuming project may bring, let’s look at how long your home renovation will take.

Timeline Depends on Your Project

When it comes to home renovation, no two projects are alike. What goes into your bathroom remodel may be a completely different set of circumstances than your neighbor’s bathroom remodel. Because of this, renovation times will vary.

So what is it about home renovation that determines the timeline? There are several factors that you need to consider.

Contractor or DIY

Will you be doing the work yourself or will you be hiring a professional? Taking on a DIY project may seem rewarding and could save you money, but it all depends on your level of expertise.

If remodeling projects aren’t something you’re used to doing, your DIY renovation will likely take longer. It will also open you up to making mistakes, which only adds to the timeline… and budget.

Space

The larger the room you’re renovating, the more time you’ll need to plan into your timeline. And if that remodel involves more than one room, the timeline only gets longer.

That’s because the more space you have to remodel, the more materials and time it will take to install everything properly.

Planning

Many people think a home renovation timeline begins at demolition, but that’s not true. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan the remodel before the first sledgehammer ever swings.

Planning a project in stages will help cut down on errors that could drag out the length of a remodel. It also cuts a big project up into manageable pieces that won’t feel so overwhelming.

The bigger the project is, the more time you will need to plan it all out.

Will You Be Living Through the Renovation?

To save money, many homeowners choose to live in the house while renovations are underway. While that can help the budget, it can also hurt the timeline.

That’s because a work crew will have to take those living in the house under consideration. They may not be able to get into the house as early as they like or stay as late as they like.

Getting someplace else to stay during a remodel will ensure your project is always working at full capacity.

Materials

The materials used on a project is a big factor in the overall timeline.

For example, laying tile in a bathroom doesn’t take that long. But if you’re adding radiant heat under that tile along with an intricate design, it’s only going to add to the timeline.

Simple changes call for a simple timeline. It’s when the materials start getting more involved, complex, and increase in quantity is when the timeline stretches.

Money

Not planning well enough or running into unexpected surprises may drive up costs, causing your project to come to a screeching halt.

Don’t let that happen to you. To help keep your budget under control, learn some tips to save money on your renovation.

Room by Room Estimate

Now that you know what factors can affect your home renovation timeline, let’s look at what an average time frame is by room.

Kitchen and Bathroom

The kitchen and bathrooms are two of the most popular, and lucrative, rooms in a home to remodel. If it’s done well, it will increase the value of the house.

Most kitchen and bathroom remodels will take about 3 to 10 weeks to complete.

If the project involves moving plumbing, changing the layout, or any other major changes, it will take longer to finish the work.

Basement and Attic

Finishing out the basement and attic of your home will add valuable square footage, without having to add an addition.

Most basement and attic remodels last about 3 to 10 weeks.

The time frame all depends on how finished your project is before you get started. Some basements already have framed walls and roughed in bathrooms, which cut down on the process.

Room Addition

Adding an addition to your home will add value. Yet, it’s typically the longest project to complete because you have to start from scratch.

Building an addition usually takes between 6 to 16 weeks, depending on the size and location of the project.

Mother Nature plays a big part in delays, which is not something you have to worry about with most renovations.

Roof, Siding, and Decks

Renovating your roof, siding, or a deck is one of the least time-consuming projects you may have. It will usually take a couple of days for simple work and up to 2 weeks if any damage needs to be fixed, such as rot.

How to Reduce Your Timeline

To put time back on your side, there are several things you can do to help your home renovation move along smoothly.

First, do your research. Find out as much as you can about the type of project you want to do and how much it will cost you. If the work seems like it will outweigh your budget, it’s time to rethink your plan.

Once you have a good idea about what you’re getting into, it’s time to start planning the renovation process. If you find you’re getting in over your head, now is the time to get help from a professional contractor.

And with any renovation project, it’s not a bad idea to plan for more time and more money than originally thought. That way if delays or surprises pop up, you’re prepared and not caught off guard.

Give Your Home Renovation the Time It Needs

Underestimating the timeline of your home renovation could cost you both in money and frustration. But now that you know what to expect, you can make a plan that will result in a renovation success!

Weight Loss Surgery: Is It Worth the Trouble? What the Results Say

Nearly 72% of American adults over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese not only affects your self-esteem, but it also puts you at a higher risk for serious diseases and health conditions. Although exercise and a healthy diet may help, many people struggle to lose significant amounts of weight using this method alone.

If you struggle with weight that’s resistant to diet and exercise, weight loss surgery may be an option for you. But deciding between your weight loss surgery options takes some research.

Keep reading to learn about your options and the results they achieve.

What is Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery is also known as bariatric surgery. These surgical procedures help you lose weight when even the most extreme weight loss tips don’t work. They help you lose weight in two ways.

First, they restrict the amount of food you can eat. By making your digestive system smaller in different ways, you’re not able to hold as much food. That results in a significantly reduced caloric intake.

The other ways in which they help you lose weight is through malabsorption. Some of these surgeries will shorten or bypass the small intestine. The result is that fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed by the body.

Weight Loss Surgery Options

There are four types of weight loss surgery. We describe each in more detail below and discuss the potential pros and cons. 

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

In a gastric bypass procedure, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach. The small intestine is cut just below the main stomach and connected to the pouch.

After surgery, the new pouch is where your food goes. Because it’s much smaller than your stomach, the pouch puts a limit on how much you can eat and drink. The changes to the small intestine also result in fewer nutrients and calories being absorbed. 

Pros

This surgery results in more substantial weight loss than a gastric band, which we’ll discuss in more detail next. You also don’t have any foreign objects placed in your body in order to help you lose weight.

Cons

On the negative side of this surgery is the fact that it’s difficult to reverse. There’s also a higher risk of surgery-related problems than if you had a gastric band. 

Because fewer nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine, this type of surgery may lead to a vitamin deficiency. It’s also linked to an increased risk for alcohol use disorder.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

Gastric banding involves placing a band with an inflatable balloon around the stomach. Fixed in place around the upper section of the stomach, this creates a narrow opening to the stomach.

Because the opening is much smaller than your regular stomach, you feel full sooner and you’re not able to hold as much food. Without changes to the intestine, this type of weight loss surgery doesn’t restrict the nutrients and calories being absorbed.

Pros

Gastric banding doesn’t involve any incisions or changes to your stomach or intestinal system. As such, the surgery is relatively low-risk and only requires a short hospital stay.

Gastric banding can also be reversed or adjusted if needed. It also carries very little risk of a vitamin or nutrients shortage.

Cons

A gastric band needs constant adjustment, which requires frequent follow-up visits to the doctor. It’s also possible that you don’t adapt to the band. In those cases, you may have to undergo a second surgery to remove or replace the band system.

In comparison, gastric banding also results in less weight loss than the other types of weight loss surgery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

In this form of weight loss surgery, a part of the stomach is removed. What remains is formed into a tubelike shape that doesn’t hold as much food.

In addition, a sleeve gastrectomy causes the body to produce less ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for your appetite. Meaning, you won’t feel as hungry, as often.

Pros

A sleeve gastrectomy involves a short stay in the hospital, no changes to the intestine, and no foreign objects placed inside your body. It also produces greater weight loss than a gastric band.

Cons

In comparison to a gastric band surgery, sleeve gastrectomy has a higher chance of surgery-related problems. It can result in a vitamin shortage as well as the development of acid reflux. This type of surgery also can’t be reversed.

Duodenal Switch With Biliopancreatic Diversion

This type of weight loss surgery actually involves two surgeries. The first surgery is like a gastric sleeve surgery and the second surgery shortens the small intestine.

The result is a smaller stomach and food bypassing most of the small intestine. This means you won’t be able to eat as much food and your body will absorpt fewer calories and nutrients. 

Pros

Of all the weight loss surgeries, this leads to the most weight loss.

Cons

While it leads to the most significant weight loss, it also carries a higher risk for surgery-related problems. Many surgeons won’t perform this type of surgery due to the risk of complications.

Which Is the Best Weight Loss Surgery?

In one comprehensive study, researchers sought to find out which type of weight loss surgery was best. They looked at 46,000 patients that had either gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or adjustable gastric banding. The results were as follows:

  • Gastric bypass. After one year, patients lost an average of 31% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 25% of total body weight.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy. After one year, patients lost an average of 25% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 19% of total body weight.
  • Adjustable gastric banding. After one year, patients lost an average of 14% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 12% of total body weight.

The results demonstrate that gastric bypass surgery was the best weight loss surgery in term of total body weight lost.

However, this procedure also has the highest rates of post-surgery complications. In fact, the rate of serious complication 30 days following surgery was almost double what it was for a sleeve gastrectomy. These complications include reoperation/repair, blood clots, and even death.

Deciding between the types of weight loss surgery involves a careful balancing of the pros and cons. As a first-hand account of pre and post-surgery, reading patient testimonials may also help you in making this important decision.

More On Your Health

There are four types of weight loss surgery, each with their own pros and cons.

While gastric bypass has been shown to be the most effective for weight loss, it also carries the highest rate of complication. This is why choosing the weight loss surgery that’s right for you means consulting with a medical professional who can offer you the best option for your lifestyle.

And for more information on your health, diet, and lifestyle, check out our blog.

Marriage and How Your Spouse Affects Your Health

It turns out married men live longer than single men, but married women do not live longer than single women. The commitment of marriage plays a significant role in your mental and physical health. 

After all, you spend the majority of your time around another person. Their way of thinking and habits will influence your life. 

The hope is to experience positive effects from your marriage. Keep reading to find a few different ways your spouse may be influencing your health for better or worse. 

They Are an Optimist 

We are going to start with a positive influence your spouse may have on your health. If your significant other is an optimist, you benefit by having more mobility and fewer chronic illnesses. 

This effect happens regardless of your level of optimism. The theory is that the positive thinking partner influences the other to eat better, exercise, and have a better outlook on life overall

They Work Long Hours 

This is a tricky one to define because men that work more than 40 hours tend to have wives who are in better health than men who work 9 to 5. The trend seemed to work in the opposite direction for women who worked a lot though. 

Men whose wives worked 40 hours a week tended to be in worse health than those whose wives worked less. 

They Help out 

If your spouse doesn’t help out around the house, it could cause you to have increased levels of calcium buildup in your arteries. This is a predictor of heart disease. 

Some researchers think that the perceived lack of support leads to increased feelings of stress. So while it isn’t necessarily the lack of help, but their lack of emotional support that is detrimental to your health. 

If your spouse isn’t supportive, then you and your spouse could benefit from marriage counseling. By improving the communication between the two of you, you can also enhance the level of support you feel from your significant other. 

They Diet with You 

It may seem like a great idea to diet together. After all, you can make a New Years resolution together and motivate each other, right? Wrong. 

Studies have shown that when romantic partners decide to diet and lost weight together, one partner loses weight, and the other doesn’t. There is always one person who loses weight and gets in shape faster. 

The problem with this is that the other lagging partner becomes less confident in their efforts. The ability to portion food correctly become an issue which ultimately leads to weight gain for the one partner. 

They Avoid Touch and Intimacy 

Usually, your partner’s touch will decrease your pain. There is a connection between the positive connection you have with your partner and the decrease in pain experienced. 

However, it doesn’t work this way for everyone. When your partner tends to avoid intimacy and closeness, their touch can increase the pain you experience. 

Is Your Marriage Bad for Your Health?

Did you read through this list and realize your spouse has a negative influence on your health? Then it is time to make some changes in your marriage.

Even if you and your partner only have positive effects on each other’s health, some influences can start healthy and turn toxic if taken too far. Codependency is a perfect example of this. 

Improve your codependency issues with these 5 practical tips

Locked Out of Your Car? How to Get In and On Your Way

Picture it: it’s really hot (or cold), so you start your car while you load the groceries in the trunk. As you finish up and close the trunk, you realize the minute it closes and the doors automatically lock that you’ve locked your keys in there and you’re locked out of your car. 

We’ve all been there. The good news is that it’s fixable if you know what to do. Keep reading to learn what to do so you can get in your car and get on your way. 

1. Stay Calm and Review Your Options

It’s easy to freak out when you lock yourself out, but try to avoid that. Remain calm and think about the options that you have. Do you have a spare key somewhere? Is there someone who can bring it to you? Do you have any services that can come and unlock the door for you? 

If you don’t have a spare car key, companies like Car Key Replacement LLC can make you a replacement key to have on hand. 

2. Try to Unlock the Door Yourself

This is probably easier with older cars. We’ve all probably seen the old wire hanger trick but did you know that you can unlock your car with a shoestring? Or a tennis ball? A screwdriver? A slim jim (no, not the convenient store snack!).

There are plenty of tools and methods out there that might work to get you back in your vehicle, but of course, use these at your own risk. There’s always the risk of damaging your vehicle if you try to unlock it on your own. 

3. Call Roadside Assistance

Many car companies offer roadside assistance for their vehicles. There’s often a sticker on your window with the contact information if you have it. Your car insurance might also offer this and even some credit cards provide roadside assistance.

Figure out whether you have any of this assistance before you start making calls because roadside assistance is typically free of charge. 

4. Call a Tow Company or AAA

If you don’t have free roadside assistance, calling a tow company or locksmith on your own is an option. Be prepared to pay a premium price for this and wait awhile, especially if it’s a particularly busy time. AAA is another option. Your AAA membership typically offers a certain number of calls per year with no charge other than your yearly membership fee. 

5. Break the Window 

This should be used as a last resort and only in an emergency situation, such as a baby or a pet being locked in a hot car. Not only is it dangerous, but it can also be expensive to repair. 

It’s not advisable to do it yourself either. If there is time, call 911 and emergency responders can safely break the window for you while keeping the occupants of the car safe.

If you do need to do it yourself, a hammer, screwdriver, or golf club could get the job done. The center of the glass is the strongest, so aim for the outer edges. You should also choose the window furthest away from the child or pet to minimize any glass getting on them. 

Final Thoughts on Getting Locked Out of Your Car 

A lot of times you can look back on getting locked out of your car and laugh, but it’s not so funny when you’re running late or it’s raining or cold out.  Hopefully, you remember these tips and can stay calm and collected while you figure out how to get back in. 

If you liked this post, check out some of our other posts on family life, business, and how to save and earn money! 

8 Smart Ways to Save on Private School Tuition for Your Child

Private school for an elementary student averages $7,770 per year. For high school, that number climbs to $13,030 each year. How do those numbers fit into your budget?

You want the best education for your child. But you also need to pay your mortgage on time and keep food on the table.

How do you balance your regular budget demands with the extra cost of private school tuition? 

Luckily, you don’t have to give up all your comforts. But you may need to cut back in some areas.

Keep reading to explore eight ways to make private school more affordable.

1. Check into Financial Aid

Don’t let the sticker shock of private school cost scare you away from applying. Private schools offer financial aid to offset the costs.

Parents often think they make too much money to qualify for financial aid. That’s not always true. 

Your child may qualify for private school scholarships or grants to cover part of the tuition cost. That makes the remaining portion much more affordable.

It’s always a good idea to apply for financial aid even if you don’t think you’ll qualify. 

Some states offer scholarships and other programs to cover the costs of private school. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is just one example. It covers private school costs for kids from low-income families.

You can learn more about financial aid options by visiting the websites of any private schools you’re considering. Check with your state’s department of education for state financial aid options.

2. Ask about Payment Plans

Worried you’ll have to cut a check for the full tuition cost when you enroll? Paying upfront often saves you a little on tuition. If you have the money, that may be the best option.

Most private schools offer payment plans if you can’t pay it all. This option lets you spread out the cost throughout the year. If you’re on a tight budget, the payment plan can make it more feasible to cover private school tuition.

Payment plans vary by school. Some offer a semi-annual plan to break the tuition into two payments. Others let you pay monthly for even smaller payments.

3. Cut Back on Spending

If the cost of private school doesn’t fit into your budget, can you cut back in other areas? You can’t eliminate your mortgage or other fixed expenses. But you can ease up on extra spending.

Here are areas where most families can cut back:

  • Dining at restaurants less
  • Skipping the movie theater in favor of a movie at home
  • Replacing cable with low-cost streaming services
  • Planning cheaper meals to cut grocery costs
  • Waiting to replace furniture, vehicles, and other major expenses
  • Taking cheaper vacations or skip a year or two
  • Refinancing or consolidating debt to reduce payments

Not sure where your money’s going? An expense tracker can help you spot areas where you can cut back.  

4. Save on Uniforms

Tuition is only part of the private school cost. You’ll likely need uniforms and other equipment for your kids.

Ask if the private school offers a uniform swap program. These programs let you get free uniforms from other families whose kids have outgrown theirs.

If you know other families who go to the private school, you may be able to get old uniforms from them that no longer fit. Check local children’s thrift stores or garage sales for uniforms. 

Some schools have a specific uniform and retailer you have to use. Look for discount codes through those retailers. You might get a bulk discount for ordering multiples or a free shipping code for a large order.

Other schools have a general dress code, such as dress pants and a polo. Look for clothes that fit the requirements on clearance racks to save money.

5. Look for Discounts

We already talked about getting discounts for paying tuition in full. You may find a few other discounts if you ask.

One common private school discount is for families with multiple children. Many private schools offer a sibling discount for enrolling more than one student.

Even if you only have one child, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount. The school may offer discounts for other reasons. Some provide a tuition discount for school employees.   

6. Get Tax Breaks on Savings Plans

Educational savings plans help you grow your money for tuition. These investment accounts let you earn interest on your savings. They come with tax perks that can help you save money.

A Coverdell Education Savings Account works for elementary, secondary, and college expenses. Each child can have up to $2,000 in contributions every year. It won’t cover all the tuition, but it helps.

You can’t deduct your contributions on your income taxes. But the money grows tax-free in the account. 

Distributions are also tax-free in most cases. The distribution has to be less than the qualified education expenses to be tax-free. If it’s more than the expenses, a part of the earnings may be taxed.

A 529 plan is a way to save for private school tuition. You can choose your investment portfolio to help grow your money.

Each state runs its own 529 plan. The specifics and investment options vary. You can open a 529 plan in another state to take advantage of better terms.

Tax advantages happen a few ways. Some states offer tax benefits on your contributions. You might be able to deduct the amount from your state taxes.

If you withdraw the money for qualifying educational expenses, you don’t have to pay federal income tax on the earnings.  

7. Ask for Family Donations

Do your kids get way too many toys as gifts? Maybe the grandparents always ask for gift suggestions, but you don’t know what to say.

Why not ask them to donate toward your child’s education? It’s a practical option that helps you and your child. 

Some relatives like to give a physical gift other than cash. One option is to ask them to buy a uniform or two. 

8. Look for Other Money Sources

Still trying to figure out how to cover the costs of private school? We have a few more potential sources of money that may work.

If you don’t mind taking on some debt, you can take out a loan to cover the tuition cost. Check the terms of the loan, including the interest rate and penalties for paying off the loan early. Make sure you can afford the loan payments in your budget.

Another option is making extra money to cover the costs. Selling items you no longer need is one idea when you need money now to cover tuition. 

You can also take on a small part-time job. Ideas include babysitting, lawn care, rideshare driving, and running errands for people. Put any money you earn through these side gigs toward tuition.

Save for Private School Tuition Now

How are you saving for private school tuition? It can take a little creativity, but it is possible to work it into your budget.

Leave a comment to let us know how you afford the costs of private education!