It’s hard to keep to a budget when you have growing children, but it can be done! The first thing you have to do is make a written budget. Next, you have to stick with it. Here are some easy ways that you can save money in five categories of your budget.
Food and Cleaning Products
The first tip is grocery store savings. Figure out what you need, check the sales circulars for your local stores, and make a menu plan and grocery list based on this. Stick to the list. Use coupons if you have them but don’t always expect that using a coupon save money. Sometimes, you can find a store brand product cheaper with no coupon than the national brand is with the coupon. Additionally, you can start a garden and grow some of your own produce. As for cleaners, a bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda can do most of the cleaning jobs around your house.
The first way for families to save on entertainment is to get rid of cable television. Children only watch a few of the channels, and many of their favorite shows can be found on Netflix or a dvd from the public library. A Netflix subscription is much cheaper than the bill for cable television. Further, instead of going out to eat, you can invite friends over. After a pasta dinner, the kids can play and the adults can talk or listen to streaming music from Pandora for free. In addition, your friends will then invite you over, so you will get two evenings of entertainment. If you must go out, try a lunch instead of dinner. It is usually significantly cheaper, often for the same food.
The biggest challenge in saving electricity is to get the kids to turn off lights that are not in use. Additionally, unplugging appliances that are not in use can save as much as 10% on electricity bills. Adding insulation and weather stripping can make your home more energy efficient while curtains can keep out the heat of summer and cold of winter.
Clothes and Kids Gear
Kids clothes cost a lot, especially since they outgrow them quickly. Buying kids toys and clothing at consignment shops, thrift stores, and garage sales can be a bargain. Additionally, you can then often re-sell the stuff and make a few bucks after it is outgrown. Other times, brand name clothing can be found on sales racks at discount stores. Even inexpensive adult clothing can be purchased this way.
Cars and Related Expenses
First and foremost, buying new cars is out of the question. Stick with paid off models until they start costing more to repair than they are worth then shop for a used car when necessary. You can save money on gas by making sure that every trip handles multiple stops in the same area. In other words, don’t make a trip to the grocery store on Monday, the drug store in the same shopping center on Tuesday, and the bank just down the street on Wednesday. Do it all at once. As for car insurance, shop around to make sure to get the best deal. Then, go over each part of your car insurance to make sure you are not paying for extras that you don’t need such as roadside assistance that you already get from AAA.
In all, every penny has to count. It is not always easy but we don’t need to have the newest of everything. Saving money can even be a game that challenges you to do a little better each month.