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Coulee Parenting Connection

10 Easy Steps to $365


By Joel Dettwiler

What if you made a few small changes to your life that helped you save even just $1 per day? Who couldn’t use $365 at the end of the year, right?


  1. Pay bills on time. Late fees add up and are absolutely avoidable. Use your phone calendar/alerts to remind you.
  2. Unplug that phone charger when it’s not in use and see your electric bill tick down.
  3. Turn off the lights….or that fan. Use a fan at night for white noise? Make sure you turn it off when you wake up or it’s costing you money all day.
  4. Put your kids’ love of devices to work before your next outing. Have everyone scour Groupon for deals (food, entertainment, lodging, etc). See who can save you the most money. You might find a fun activity you didn’t think you could afford.
  5. Give kids an allowance. Really. If you limit what they can spend or ask from you, they will learn to manage their expectations. They also won’t be coming back to you for more money to fund their ice cream habit.
  6. Paying too much for media? Cable? Amazon? Hulu? Netflix? Take the time to shop around for the apps that give you the channels you want for the right price. Consider changing or calling the company to negotiate a new premium. Be prepared to “cut the cord” if the price is just too much.
  7. Make your own coffee. You can and should still support the local coffee shop, but that $5 latte every morning is costing you $1,300 per year! (And yes, you’re probably spending $5 every time.)
  8. Take a trip to a consignment shop once a month and look at the everchanging inventory. Wear a disguise if it really bothers you, but who will ever know that you nabbed your $200 North Face jacket for $25 because it was gently used?
  9. Pay yourself first. Create an account at your financial institution, or better yet a different one, that draws money every paycheck. Even only $10 per paycheck adds up to $260 at the end of the year. Get on a “save and then spend” plan rather than “borrow and pay back.”
  10. Reward yourself for good behavior by using money you’ve saved for a treat. Paying cash continues to reinforce your good habits. Viewing that account as special funds also gets you thinking about spending money the right way. Watching money grow is not only fun, it’s profitable!


Joel Dettwiler is a financial advisor for Charterpoint Wealth Strategies and the father of two daughters, one savvy enough to save them more than $60 through Groupon on a recent trip to Noah’s Ark in the Dells!