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Creative Ways to Cut Your Family Budget and Save Money This Year

Parenting News Just For Fun

January 12 might just seem like another day in the new year. But in recent years, it has become known as Quitters’ Day – many resolutions are abandoned by the 12th day of the new calendar.

But all is not lost. There are still so many opportunities to make this year the best one yet, and many of them are free! So if saving money was on your to-do list for 2020, keep reading for loads of easy ways to maximize your money.

Never Pay Full Price by Paying With Gift Cards

If you ask a room full of people how they budget and save money and earn cash back, everyone likely has their own way of doing it – along with hacks for maximizing savings. My new favorite hack is buying gift cards at a discount. I bet you never knew you could get discounts on cash, did you?

Raise is an app with gift cards to 4,000+ brands, all at a discounted rate. Last week, I purchased a $50 gift card to DSW for $42.62. I then used a $10 off coupon as part of DSW VIP and scored a sweet new pair of running shoes for much less than I would have paid walking into the store with my credit card.

All your gift cards are stored on the app to use as you need, and several brands also offer cash back for purchasing gift cards. That cash back can then be used to purchase additional gift cards, and so on and so on. I love using Raise as a way to treat myself to something I otherwise might not buy – because when you save a little cash, a little splurge on something for yourself doesn’t feel guilty.


All National Park Service sites are FREE for five days in 2020. There are more than 400 parks available nationwide, and many charge a daily admission fee.

But save the date for the following five days in 2020 for free admission for all – January 20 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., April 18 in celebration of National Park Week, August 25 honoring National Park Service Birthday, September 26 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 in celebration of Veterans Day.

National Kids to Parks Day, organized by the National Park Trust (NPT), is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May and offers free admission and a variety of free events at thousands of local, state and national parks and public lands all across the country. Click here to find free events near you.

Another little known perk is the Annual 4th Grade Pass. If you have a child in 4th grade, you have access to all the parks for free for an entire year as part of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative.

For more information on all the parks, visit https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks-state.htm.

Get Your Financial Health in Order

How many subscriptions do you pay for every month? Chances are, there are one or two that get automatically deducted from your bank account that you no longer need. That gym you joined during last year’s round of New Year's resolutions, perhaps. Or you might be overpaying for services that you don’t really need. That TV/internet/phone bundle is great, but if you don’t use the phone, you are paying for an unnecessary service.

Enter Trim. This service automatically tracks your spending and finds ways to save money – and then it handles the negotiating and cancelling for you. Sit back and enjoy that extra cash without actually dealing with the cable company. Jackpot!

Save on Adulting, Too

There are many unglamourous things you get to pay for as an adult. Does anyone enjoy paying bills?

Luckily, many companies are starting to offer joint benefits.

If you are a Verizon Unlimited customer and you haven’t signed up for your free year of Disney+ yet, do it! You will not regret binging The Mandalorian and all of Baby Yoda’s cuteness.

If you are a Sprint Unlimited Plus or Premium customer, you can renew your AAA membership for free through Sprint Perks.

Family Adventures at a Discount

Research shows that experiences bring more long-term happiness than 'things', and there's no better way to connect as a family than by doing fun things together - from taking a family cooking class, to going rock climbing or indoor skydiving (yes, really!), to exploring a museum, to going on a family vacation. And while all of this family fun can get expensive, there are lots of great ways to save. 

  • Many world-class museums offer free admission on certain days of the month or year, so be sure to check with your local fave!
  • Purchasing a family membership or seasonal or annual pass to a local family attraction you visit frequently can save you a good amount of money over time and often come with other perks, like discounts on birthday parties, parking, food and merchandise.
  • Use a travel rewards credit card to pay for all of your purchases and 'spend' your points to pay for airline tickets, hotels and rental cars to save money on family travel.
  • Pack lunch, snacks and water on your family adventures to avoid shelling out money on over-priced options at your destination.
  • Plan ahead by checking the vendor's website before your visit - businesses often offer special discounts on advanced or online ticket purchases.

Use CertifiKID to discover the best family fun near you and snag discounts on all of it all year long - up to 50% off! Sign up to receive CertifiKID's family-friendly deals delivered to your inbox - it's free! - and refer a friend to save even more.


This is not a drill. Run to your nearest participating Wendy’s by January 31 and purchase a Frosty Key Tag for $2. Then enjoy a free Junior Frosty with any purchase for the entire year. I’m partial to a large fry to dip into that creamy, chocolately treat.

Not only will you be enjoying a yummy for the next 12 months, according to Wendy’s, “85% of proceeds go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help children waiting in foster care find forever homes.” Your $2 goes a long way in helping others, and that’s something you can sink your teeth into.

Find a participating Wendy’s here

There are so many great deals throughout the year – comment with your favorite freebie or hack and we may just feature it in an upcoming article!


For even more ways to cut your family budget, check out Freebies for Kids: 14 Top Picks to Save Families Big Bucks.


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!