With the uncertain economy, American families are looking for more ways to save money, without compromising their lifestyles. As a mother of seven and family finance expert who climbed out of crippling debt ($40K in credit card debt) several years ago, I know first hand what some families are going through in these tough economic times. Here are some simple money-saving tips that I use to help the average American family who earns between $40,000 and $100,000 save up to $30,000 in a single year.

1. Home Insurance – Most homes have changed in value in the last year. Homeowners need to make sure they are not over insuring their home by insuring land values--you should only cover the dwelling. Additionally, raise deductibles to at least 3% of the total value of the home and make sure to only insure the replacement value of the dwelling (usually 80% of the selling price of the home) because you are insuring the home, not the dirt.

  • All of this could save $550 per year.

2. Auto Insurance – Make a phone call to ask for all the discounts that your company may offer including combining homeowners and auto policy with the same carrier, non-smoker discounts, good student rates, car alarm systems, storing the vehicle in a garage versus car port or street, rating the most expensive car with a stay-at-home (or for pleasure only) rating, between the ages of 30 and 60, and discount for drivers safety course certificate (taken to keep a ticket from appearing on the driving record.). 

  • This could save the average two car family with a youthful driver $900 per year.

3. Online Savings – Layer the savings in three steps: find the lowest price on your item with a shopping robot at www.mysimon.com or www.fatwallet.com; then use a code site to get codes for free P&H or other discounts at www.dealhunting.com or www.couponcabin.com; finally get rebates for purchases by going to www.ebates.com.

  • For average purchases of online buyers, this could save $1,200 per year.

4. Real Savings – Entertainment.com offers a coupon book that is available for 150 metro markets and costs between $25 and $45. Preview the coupon booklet for your area (or an area where you will vacation) to see if the coupons are ones you will use.  Added benefit:  You’ll not only save on eating out, but you can also save on movie theaters, theme parks, dry cleaning and at local shops.

  • Average advertised total book savings - $17,000. To only redeem 25% is annual savings of $4,250 or even a mere 10% redemption savings is $1,700 per year

5. Restaurant Savings - Want to try out a new restaurant, but you don’t want to pay full price? Go to Restaurant.com, a site that issues coupons and gift certificates for over 6,000 eateries around the country. Our family picks a spot and pays $10 for a $25 gift certificate -- we save over 50% in the process! 

  • Average restaurant bill for a family of four is $86, family saves $43 x 52 weeks = $2,236

6. Vacation Savings - Instead of paying $1,000 for a week at a family camp, The Thompsons had a working vacation for free. Not all campgrounds offer this kind of a trade-off, but if your family enjoys this kind of environment, it would be worth your time to contact a local retreat center or campground. Go to www.acacamps.org for the American Camping Association to find a location near you.