I just want to thank everyone who has been e-mailing me about how I help them save money. In the presentations that I make to groups I stress how saving money is easy. Just start by trying to do at least five of the following suggestions. For more ideas, go to www.bluegrassmoms.com. There you will see my column. All you have to do is click on the link to find the Web site with the savings offer.
Here are some other tips:
Set up a budget
■ Always balance your checkbook. It is the only way to be aware of mistakes.
■ Microsoft offers custom budget templates.
■ Keep track of how much you’re spending. http://www.mint.com/
Add coupons to savings card
There are several free grocery coupon services that links coupons to your participating grocery store savings card. Once coupons are selected from this site, they are added to your registered grocery store savings card and are redeemed automatically at checkout when you scan your card.
■ Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
■ Sign up for a residential energy audit from KU.
■ Two ways to save with Demand Conservation from KU.
■ Line dry your clothes. Towels which take so long to dry in a machine can be line dried on a simple outside rack. Project Laundry List can help you with suggestions. www.laundrylist.org
■ See how energy savvy you are. Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives gives you tips on how to increase efficiency. http://www.kaec.org/energy/efficiency.htm
Cooking at home or going out
■ Bring lunch to work or school.
■ Get discount gift certificate from Restaurant.com at www.restaurant.com.
■ Sign up for discounts at restaurants Web sites.
■ TGI Fridays is giving away free burgers when you become its fan on Facebook.
■ Williams and Sonama offers cooking classes taught by culinary professionals. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/cust/storeevents/index.cfm?cm_type=lnav
■ Whole Foods offers outside grill specials from 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays and from 2:30 p.m. until dark Fridays through Sundays. Buy something in the store and their grill chef Roger will cook it and season it for you when the grill is open.
Use reward programs at CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens
■ Get a ExtraCare Card from the cashier at CVS.
■ Look for the monthly rebate flyer in front of RiteAid store.
■ Walgreens offer register rewards. When you purchase a reward item you will receive a dollar amount off your next purchase.
■ Redbox offers free promotional codes every first Monday of the month. The movies are $1 a day. www.redbox.com
■ Kid Build to Grow Workshop at Lowes.
■ Free projects for kids at Michaels when you join The Knack.
■ Carnegie Center, 251 West Second St., offers classes from writing to budgeting. I am teaching a class from 10:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 3. Call (859) 254-4175 to register.
■ The public library is a wonderful source of classes. http://www.lexpublib.org/locations/
■ Students don’t need to take Advanced Placement classes at their high school. Learn more about on-line AP classes.
■ Free on-line classes from Hewlett Packard. http://h30187.www3.hp.com/
■ Home Depot Do-It-Herself Workshops. Learn how to create your dream kitchen and save while doing it yourself.
■ Whole Food Value Tours at Lexington Green off Nicholasville Road. Learn how to buy high quality foods without paying too much. Next tour is at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 17. Call (859) 971-8600.
■ Join my discussion group at The Ronald McDonald House, 1300 Sports Center Drive to talk about couponing, budgeting and saving money. The class is at 6 p.m., Sept. 15. Call Debbie Radcliff at (859) 268-0747. Bring something from the Ronald McDonald Wish List http://www.rmhclexington.com/ (click on How to Help).
■ Take free classes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
■ Get a free pharmacy discount card that could save you up to 75 percent on hundreds on prescription drugs. http://www.pharmacydiscountnetwork.com/ivillage/?
■ Kroger offers free Health Screenings. http://www.kroger.com/pharmacy/Pages/heart_healthy.aspx
■ September is Yoga Month. Get one free week of yoga.