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To get Vicky and Mark on track, Sue says they need to bring their monthly budget down to less than $8,000 per month. Sue gives them a basket for storing their daily receipts and a journal to write down their needs and wants. "You're going to take a good look and start to become extremely aware of where this money is going," she says.

First to go are all but one of Vicky and Mark's credit cards—for emergencies only—in exchange for a debit card with a rewards program. "I love the idea of having a debit card and paying as you go," Mark says. "I think that would relieve a lot of stress at the end of the month."

Because Vicky and Mark have two cell phones, Sue suggests dropping their landline and finds a cable company that offers a better deal. They instantly save more than $100 a month!

Sue takes the couple to the grocery store and teaches them how to prepare a meal for under $5. There are even leftovers, which can be used for Mark's lunches. Sue says the family can still enjoy eating out—with the proper research. By searching online, Sue says you can find restaurants that let kids eat for free on certain nights of the week. "Google your town's name plus 'free stuff' or 'kids' free meals,' and things pop up," she says.

Sue also has a tip to save money on the DVDs the kids ask for—go to the library and rent the DVD for free!
FROM: The Thriftiest Family in America
Published on October 08, 2008


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