Whether you are trying to get out of debt, wanting to spend your money differently, or hoping to end the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck, the solution is the same: live cheap. My family has been trying to do all three!
Living a frugal life is difficult, especially when you have bad habits. There are a few bad habits I have needed to break. First, I needed to waste less time. It seems off topic, but I was wasting time out of boredom and exhaustion, which allowed little to no time for deal-seeking. Second, I needed to be flexible with my idea of a budget. Just because a certain percentage of income allocated to buying kids clothes works for one person, it may not work for you. Before, I was trying to save money in less obvious ways so that we could still appear to live like everyone else. That was stupid for two reasons: I wasn't saving as much money as I needed to, and no one in my life expects me to be well off. It was all in my head. Third, I needed to be less flexible. I found that I once I compromised a little, say on my entertainment budget for the month, I let the whole thing fly out the window. So I broke down each category in my budget even further, so I knew what spending my max amount would look like. That way, when I was about to buy something I was more likely to realize if I had already spent enough that month.
My favorite website for saving money right now is pocketyourdollars.com. It has shopping lists for the stores in my area, deals on a variety of things, and tips for saving money. Through this website and my own personal web searches, I have compiled quite the list of websites and other sources for finding a good deal. (I am also going to start shopping at Aldi's more). Here are some of these sources for saving money:
Coupons and Deals:
Pocketyourdollars.com (Shopping lists, Deals, Tips)
Thefreebieblogger.com (Only free stuff!)
Check Manufacturer websites (Like Huggies diapers)
Check Store websites (like Target.com)
Commonkindness.com (when you print coupons, this website gives $ to your favorite charity!)
All You Magazine
The Coupon Clippers
Cash Back Sites
Allrecipes.com (Great for entering ingredients you have on hand to find a great recipe)
Mobissimo.com (Flights and Hotels)
Smartertravel.com (Discount Travel)
Living Social (escapes)
Well, this is a good place to start. Have fun living cheap!
Side note: if you are hard up for money, you should not be looking at the sites I listed for vacations. It's a trap. Wait until you are back on your feet. :)