Times are tough for many families at the moment, and many have had to rethink their spending habits. This may mean downsizing for some, while others may have to make difficult decisions with their assets. Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your quality of life, however. You can still maintain a comfortable standard of living by making a few minor adjustments and making better choices. Let’s take a look at a few money-saving tips for families on a tight budget.
Have a Budget in the First Place
The very first thing you should do is make sure that you have a budget to begin with. You should also get the whole family involved. This would be a good time to give them an update on the family’s finances and explain that you may have to pull back on some expenses and activities from now on.
This would also be a good opportunity to teach your children about financial literacy. Don’t be afraid to show them how much there is in the family’s bank account. It could be a good way to put things into perspective for them, and they’ll be less likely to ask you for unnecessary things when they know how much money you have available.
You should teach them the power of saving and budgeting as well, and teach them to be more independent. If one of your children wants the latest video game system, teach them how they could save to get it. You could also encourage those who are of age to get a job or even start some sort of business. You can then offer to pay part of any major purchases for them. This will allow you to save while showing them responsibility and the true value of money.
Look at Money Saving Activities
If you have young children, know that fancy trips to exotic locales will not impress them as much as you think. Little ones can have just as much fun if you take them to a destination closer to home. If you are looking for places to go on vacation but want to save money, look at attractions in the country and run them by your family. You could also ask them to give their suggestions. Another great idea would be to go on a modest road trip. These can be just as memorable as an overseas trip, especially if you add things like family camping into the mix.
If you’re looking for family activities on a budget, we suggest you check out Tally. Not only do they rundown some great ideas for family activities on a budget, but most of them don’t even require that you leave the house. There are ideas for more active families or those who prefer laid-back activities and hobbies.
Limit Your Grocery Spending
You will need to be more creative when shopping for food from now on. You might want to think twice about pizza night and consider learning how to make it instead. Not only could you discover that you’re a pretty decent pizza chef, but you’ll get to enjoy it more often when considering how much cheaper it is to make at home.
You might also need to start making more things yourself instead of buying them ready-made. Anything that is prepared or frozen will usually cost more. You may not be able to make everything yourself, but simple things such as frozen chips should have no place in your freezer. You could buy a huge bag of potatoes instead which will not only last longer but serve many more purposes as well.
You will also need to plan your shopping better. If you aren’t in the habit of having a clear shopping list and sticking to it, you will need to start right now. Last-minute decisions at the grocery store can easily add up, so you will need to keep things under control.
We also suggest that you use money-saving apps whenever you have the chance. Some apps will gather all deals from grocery stores in your area. You also have apps like QuidCOor CheckoutSmart that will give you cashback on specific items.
If you absolutely have to eat out, however, make sure that you take advantage of special deals. If you happen to go to one place often, try to see if they have a loyalty program. These will usually allow you to save through coupons or limited-time offers. You’ll also get notified any time there’s a special.
Another thing you should do is try to cut some courses out of meals. Maybe it would be too much for your children to go without dessert, but if you don’t have a sweet tooth, skipping it could allow you to save a good chunk of money, especially if you take out the appetizer as well.
Never Pay Full Price on Online Shopping
Online shopping is another great way to save. Not only will prices usually be lower because of the lower overheads, but chances are you can find a discount somewhere. Downloading an app like Honey will allow you to find discounts in seconds right from your browser or mobile phone. If you want to save money and find the best price on any item, you can also simply type the name of a product and check out Google’s shopping feature. You will be able to get a quick snapshot of who is selling the item and sort results by price.
Be More Energy Efficient
People tend to be very wasteful with energy, and often assume that making small changes will not make that much of a difference. The truth is that the simplest things, such as unplugging appliances that you’re not using, could make a huge difference on your bills.
Vampire devices, which are devices that keep consuming energy when plugged in but switched off, are said to account for about 6% to 15% of a household’s energy bill. When you count for all the other areas where you might be wasting energy, you might see how this can add up.
Another thing we suggest you do is stop using your tumble dryer if you have one. Try to hang your clothes outside instead. If you can’t do this because of the temperature, you can use an indoor rack. If you have space somewhere like the basement or attic, this could make for a great place to dry clothes.
Reuse as Much as You Can
If you’re using a lot of single-use items, you’re probably wasting money. Things like paper towels come to mind, but you could look at things such as single-use zip-close bags or plastic wrap. If you need an alternative for plastic wrap, for instance, you could use beeswax wrap instead. Stasher bags can be used instead of resealable plastic bags and there is no point in spending tons of money on paper towels when there are tons of easily washable reusable options out there.
These are all simple tips any family can use to save hundreds, and even thousands of dollars every year on everyday purchases. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to do all the things you enjoy for less.