Invent a Closet
Megan Willisen, of Lawrence, Kansas, turned an unused bookshelf into a closet for baby clothes by taking out a shelf and adding a tension rod. Repurposing your stuff just takes a little ingenuity. Before you buy something new, give your old and unused things the once-over. Oh, the things a little paint and stickers can do.
Tricia Smith, of Calumet, Michigan, and her husband use an old-fashioned push-blade mower to cut their lawn. Called a "reel mower," it cost $90 -- versus a couple hundred for a motorized version. It doesn't use gas, and it's great exercise!
Save for Summer
All those outings can get really expensive. Wendy DePury, from Pensacola, Florida, offsets the cost by collecting cans from parks and community centers. "The money we get for trading them in goes toward a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's, a day at the aquarium, or a trip to the zoo." Bonus points: The kids get to learn some financial responsibility and appreciate the activities because they "worked" for their fun.
If your kids have their own bedrooms, save on heating costs by having them be roomies for the winter. Barbara Oursler, from Huntingtown, Maryland, has her twin boys move in together and seals off one of the rooms because her house is so expensive to heat. Obviously, not all kids will appreciate being kicked out of their space on a seasonal basis, but there may be other drafty rooms that you can make off-limits during the cold months. Just make sure all the rooms you do use are totally weatherproofed.