Luckily, saving money doesn’t have to mean cutting back on fun family activities. Rather, many small changes can add up to big savings over time. Meal planning weekly and tailoring your shopping list to what’s on sale at the grocery store.
Set a Budget
Using a budget is the best way to keep track of your monthly spending. It can help you identify areas where you may be spending more than you are earning and provides a roadmap for making changes. When creating a budget, it’s important to consider your family’s needs and wants. Your needs will likely include housing costs, childcare, food, health insurance, transportation or car payments and utilities. Your wants will include other things you would prefer not to go without, such as entertainment, dining out and new clothes.
If you struggle to find savings for certain items on your list, consider reducing or eliminating them. It could be as simple as cutting out cable and switching to a more affordable streaming service or limiting how often you dine out with the family. When it comes to outings, try researching ahead of time for discounts. Click here to find savings by checking for discounts and promo codes when possible. The key is to make small changes over a long period to help you save money.
Eat at Home
Raising a family is expensive enough, but adding to that number with extra expenses like eating out and traveling can make it even harder to save. However, cutting back on the extras can help you get into a better financial place. Eating at home can also help you save money, as it’s generally cheaper than going to restaurants. Plus, you can control how much salt and sugar goes into your food, which is important for kids’ health. Cooking meals together is a great way to bond with your family and try new foods. Another way to reduce restaurant spending is to shop for deals. Use apps to track your grocery budget, limiting the times you dine out each week and shopping for sales. You should bring snacks on outings, saving them from buying overpriced items at tourist attractions and theme parks.
Buying used is a fantastic way to save money on what your family needs. You can buy clothes, toys, homewares and more at charity shops and secondhand stores. Buying secondhand also helps to reduce the amount of waste that is produced. Every new item creates carbon emissions in its production, transport and storage. When you shop secondhand, you can find high-quality items at a fraction of the cost of the new ones. You can also find unique items unavailable in mass-market shops, such as vintage classics or handmade textiles.
Parents spend a lot of money on kids’ clothes, toys and gear that they will outgrow quickly. They can often get name brands at a much lower price when they shop secondhand. It can help them cut their annual spending by up to 50%. Whether looking for children’s clothes, furniture or dishware, thrift stores and online marketplaces can be the best place to look. Just check your purchases carefully for safety, hygiene and functionality.
Shop Earlier in The Year
While many families are eager to start Christmas shopping in November and December, it’s important to remember that buying presents throughout the year can be cheaper. Sales around holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day can provide fantastic gift deals. If you’re buying many gifts, consider asking friends and family to join in with a Secret Santa. This way everyone gets a gift they want, but you won’t have to spend a fortune on presents for a large group. Similarly, this year, give the gift of experience instead of a physical item. For example, a gift card to a local movie theatre, zoo or science center can be a wonderful option. Look at your spending habits and think long-term about homewares, entertainment and travel. Do everything you can to reduce family expenses because raising children is costly.
Go on Free Family Days Out
Family days out can be expensive but don’t have to be. There are plenty of free or low-cost ways to keep the kids entertained. Just get creative. Try a DIY home spa, have a movie night, or make fun family recipes. When planning larger trips, such as a visit to an amusement park or a matinee movie, do your homework in advance to uncover discounts. Museums and zoos often offer half-price tickets on certain days, and some restaurants have discounts for teachers or students. Also, consider buying used gear for your children’s sports teams or musical activities. Vacations and entertainment are two areas where families tend to overspend. Use budgeting apps to work large expenses into your spending plan to save money on these items. You can also shop earlier in the year to snag deals on big-ticket items, such as school supplies or summer clothes. And when it comes to travel, consider renting a home through Airbnb or using credit card points to book hotel rooms.