Christian Financial Advice and Biblical Stewardship

Save Up To $30,000 in 2009?

  • Ellie Kay Author, Living Rich for Less
  • Published Jan 30, 2009
Save Up To $30,000 in 2009?


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 or; then use a code site to get codes for free P&H or other discounts at or; finally get rebates for purchases by going to

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

4. Real Savings – 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, 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 for the American Camping Association to find a location near you. 

  • The Thompsons saved $1,000 on their annual vacation

7. Half Price Vacations – If you have friends that you like a lot and think your friendship can survive the test of a family vacation, then double up with that family and cut your bills in half. The Greaves family did this with the Morton family and enjoyed it so much, that they made it an “every-other-year” tradition. The normal price of a week-long mountain cabin rental with three bedrooms was $1,900. “We made sure that we knew all the costs ahead of time and that there were no financial surprises,” says Loretta Greaves. Each family paid $800 and their own gas for a destination that might not have been available to them otherwise.  “We couldn’t really swing nearly $2,500 for the week on my pastor’s salary, but we could afford half that amount, go half on the meals and we’ve truly enjoyed our time off,” said Mike Morton. 

  • Save $1,250 for a normal family of four $2,500 trip

8. Family Room Savings - If you still have young children at home, you may want to wait to have your furniture recovered. By purchasing a quality slipcover for $65 instead of buying a new sofa for $850, you save $785. By placing a crocheted doily for $15 on the coffee table to cover scratches made by a speeding Corvette (Hot Wheels size!) you save $115 over buying a new table for $130. 

  • Total Savings $900

9. Store to Store Clearance Clothing – The next time you’re shopping clearance racks at your favorite clothing store in the mall, don’t let the wrong size on the rack become a deterrent to saving. First, ask the sales associate to check the back for your size, many stores do not put all their clearance items out front. Secondly, if they do not have your size, ask them to check another store, give you the sales price, and ship it free. More and more stores are starting to offer this service in order to compete with online retailers.

  • I purchased six pairs of jeans for my kids this way, with original prices at $60 and sales prices at $20 for a total savings of $240

10. Layer the Savings – Don’t settle for just one kind of savings at the grocery store. Instead learn to add layers of savings such as store sales, coupons, double coupons, cash off your next shopping trip, and more. According to the USDA, cost of food at home in 2008 for the average family of four was $7,968/year. By following these tips, a family can spend in the thrifty category of only $4,068/year. 

  • The average food costs of $7,968 - thrifty plan of $4068 = $3,900 savings per year per family

Ellie Kay is the best selling author of twelve books including the just released Living Rich for Less. For more money saving tips go to