Who doesn't think about saving more money? Not only are there many clever ways of saving that odd cent here and there, but there are ways of actually 'making' money from what you buy. Read on for one of our Papa's tips.
1. Affiliate Cards
There are many affiliate cards out there which give you discounts on things you purchase. The Village Card is a great example for parents, thanks to the list of impressive family-friendly businesses it hosts. The card usually pays for itself within the first few uses. Always remember when shopping to ask the retailer if they are affiliated with any discount cards. You will be surprised where and how you can save money! A colleague of mine got her first physiotherapy session for free last month via the Village Card, a value of €35.
2. Shop Online, Get Cash Back
There are many websites that offer you 'cashback' if you go through them for your final shopping destination. That's right, cold cash goes back into your bank account, just because of an extra click on that browser. Buy children toys, reserve hotels or flights, order a book-- the choices are limitless. Don't worry, it's safe and legal! A few examples: ShopBuddie, Lyoness and CashbackDeals. Recently, I received €28 cash back on hotels.
3. Discount Codes
Look out for korting/discount codes and special offers on your shopping items. Whether it's tickets to an amusement park, buying pampers online or ordering a new bed for your little one. A quick search can save you money. Try these websites: Kortingscode, Acties, and ActiePagina Last month I saved €3.50 on tickets for an amusement park.
4. Points for Purchases
Many websites have point programs, where you accumulate points on purchases. An example is ippies.nl. You simply register with them, and each time you shop online, you go to the online store via ippies. Each purchase you make earns you points, which translate to direct cash, or credit to spend on ippies. You would be surprised how quickly these points accumulate for things you buy on a regular basis. You can even earn points while ordering a pizza! Also don't forget to sign up to each store's savings or spaarkart! Another tip: you can switch to a credit card which gives you points each time you use it. CreditCard-Vergelijk gives you a good overview of what is available. Last month's pizza order accumulated €0.68 cents worth of points!
5. Comparison Websites
Before you buy anything, whether it's for the kids of yourself, make use of comparison websites. These websites do the virtual 'running around' to find you the cheapest option. Whatever you are looking for, HAS a lowest price; It's just a matter of finding it. There are a number of comparison apps and websites. Some apps have a built in code scanner, so you simply scan the barcode of the item you see, and voila!, the app gives you a list of stores nearby who are selling the same item for less. Try Vergelijk and Kelcoo. Last month, on purchasing an Air cooler, I saved €19 via a comparison website at the last minute.
6. Samples and Coupons
By signing up with websites such as Testmama, Gratisvoorvrouwen, and Proefmonsters, you can receive free sample products and coupons, everything from skin care products to Formula milk. Tip: create a separate email address specifically for this. It helps keep your personal email...well...personal. Also, keep an eye out for coupons in baby magazines you can sign up for. Last month we received 3 samples worth €18.50.
7. Children's Savings Accounts
Open up a savings account for your child! A lot of parents don't think about doing this early enough, but it is a great way to save, and earn, money for your child. The four major banks in the Netherlands (ABN/ING/SNS/RABO) all provide different types of saving accounts for children. Let it sit for a few years with regular, small deposits and see how much you save without even realising. Try Consumentenbond for a comparison between different spaarrekening/bank accounts for children. On average I put in €10-15 in my kids Spaarrekkening account. He is 2.5 yrs old now. You do the math!
8. Toy Libraries
Recently, we bought a toy for our little one. He absolutely loved it; he was laughing, jumping, making cute baby faces and noises. He and the €20 caterpillar xylophone were inseparable... for a whole 3 minutes till he moved on to the next toy. Save money by borrowing toys and books at Speelotheeks! You can check out your local toy library or use their website to search for a speelotheek near you.
9. Buy, Sell, Share and Repeat
If you have your financial belt tightened, you can save a bundle by shopping second hand. Guess what? Kids don't really care about the packaging, as long as it's new to them. Try Marktplaats and Tweedehands. You can also swap amongst your community, friends and colleagues who have children. Last month, our friend donated their child's hardly worn shoes to us. Retailing at €35, it was a no brainer.
10. Read the fine print
When doing your grocery shopping, don't just look at the overall price of the item. Supermarkets are obliged to print the price per unit at the bottom of each price. This information tells you the actual cost of what you are going to buy. Also, almost all products come with a refund policy, so if you don't like something you just bought, get a refund instead of throwing it in the bin. A refund may only cost you the price of a stamp! Put your bank account on a diet, and like most diets, the process will leave you better off and financially 'healthier'. And remember, don't shop cheaper, shop smarter. Happy saving!