Together as a family, it’s important to be mindful of your spending and find ways to save money whenever possible. From cutting down on unnecessary expenses to being frugal and making conscious decisions in your everyday habits; there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget a little bit further. In this article, I’ll cover my favorite tips and strategies to help families save money and live more financially secure and stress-free lives.
Create A Family Budget
The first step to saving money as a family is to create a budget. Start by tracking your income and expenses for the month. Review it with your partner and start identifying areas where you can cut back that won’t be stressful or cause arguments. You can use apps like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB) to help you keep track of your finances and create a budget that works for you without all the work of a pen and a piece of paper. We recommend using apps like this because they’ll quickly show your impulse purchases and subscription services you’ve been paying for that you completely forgot about.
Cut Down on Utility Bills
Utility bills can grow out of control, especially in the wintertime. To reduce your utility bills, try turning off lights and electronics when they’re not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and setting your thermostat to a slightly lower temperature in the winter and a higher temperature in the summer.
Shop Smart for Groceries
Groceries are another major expense for families but saving money on groceries is possible. To start saving make a list before you go shopping and stick to the list! If you stick to your list, you can shop around for this week’s deals and find coupons then meal plan around that. But don’t go to the store hungry! Most people buy extra things they don’t really want or need when they’re hungry. Also try to buy in bulk where you can and it makes sense too. Things like toilet paper, tissues and other paper products do not expire and are available in bulk almost everywhere.
Cook At Home Instead Of Eating Out
Eating out can be very expensive, especially for families. To save money, choose to cook at home more often. Pack lunches for work and school and cook dinner together as a family. You can also look for restaurants that offer discounts for kids or specials on certain days of the week.
Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
Entertainment can be very costly, but there are plenty of free activities available year-round for families to enjoy! Look for local parks, pools, libraries, group sports and museums that offer free or low-cost admission. Start following your local community organizations for community events and family friendly festivals. Most communities have fun things to do around major holidays as well so keep an eye open for them!
Buy Second-Hand Clothing For The Kids
Kids grow out of clothes and shoes so quickly. One way to start saving money is to buy them second hand. Places like consignment shops, thrift stores, and online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, and eBay all have lightly used clothing, shoes and even toys for sale at a much lower price than new at retail stores.
DIY Home Projects Vs Hiring A Professional Whenever Possible
Another way to start saving money is to tackle home projects that can easily be done as family instead of hiring a professional. Yard work, gardening, painting, cleaning, and basic cosmetic repairs can be done at a fraction of the cost of a professional. I still recommend saving those big projects like electrical, plumbing and roofing to the professionals.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards Every Month
Credit cards can be a useful tool for earning rewards and building credit, but they can also lead to a huge amount debt if used irresponsibly. Always pay your balance in full each month. If you can help it, avoid carrying a balance so you don’t accrue interest. If you’re in the market for a new card, look for cards with low interest rates and no annual fees.
Save Extra For Emergencies & Unexpected Events
Unexpected expenses can be a financial burden for families, which is why it’s important to have an emergency fund. Set aside a portion of your income each month in a savings account that is designated for emergencies only.
Start Using A Cash Back App
Cash-back apps like Swagbucks, Ibotta, Rakuten, Dosh and Shopkick can be a great way to earn money back on purchases you’re already making. Simply download the app, sign up, browse for current deals, and make your purchases as usual. Don’t buy anything you wouldn’t normally buy to keep saving money and stay within your family budget.
Reduce Transportation Costs
Transportation costs can be another major expense for everyone, especially families with multiple cars. To start saving money on transportation costs consider carpooling when you can, taking public transportation if it’s available in your area, bike or walk instead of driving whenever it’s feasible.
Cancel Unused TV, Music & Gym Subscriptions
Finally, take a close look at what subscriptions you have and decide whether they’re worth the cost. Are you using those subscriptions? Is there something better or maybe even cheaper? Cancel any subscriptions that you don’t use regularly or forgot about and look for ways to save money on the ones that you do use. You could even start using those rewards from those cash back apps to pay for a few of them.