By Frugal Village
Life is expensive; there is no way around it. Though prices rise with each passing year, your income may not and, if you have a family to care for, you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
Creating and following a budget is the first step in making your finances more stable and secure but there are also some simple things you can do to save money for your family.
1. Plan Your Meals Each Week
For most families, groceries are the biggest weekly or monthly expense. If you want to save money on food but don’t want to give up your family dinners, try meal planning. Taking the time to plan your meals for the whole week will enable you to shop once instead of several times and you can do some of the prep work ahead of time.
2. Learn to Shop Smarter
Planning your meals will make grocery shopping easier and more efficient but there are still things you can do to shop smarter. Keep an eye on weekly circulars for local grocery stores and try to make your meal plans coincide with weekly sales. You can also save money with coupons, even if you aren’t extreme about it. Making a grocery list and sticking to it can also cut down on impulse buys.
3. Buy Reusable, Not Disposable
Many families throw away half of their weekly or monthly budget on disposable items like paper towels and paper plates. If you want to save money, try purchasing reusable items instead – they will last you much longer. For example, pay a little extra for a pack of washable cloths instead of buying a roll of paper towels you family will go through in a few days.
4. Purchase Gently Used Goods
If you have kids, you know how quickly they grow out of their clothes. It doesn’t make sense, then to buy an entirely new wardrobe several times a year. As an alternative, buy your kids gently used clothes from consignment stores and sell back any clothes that are still in decent shape. You can also buy used books and toys to save more money.
5. Get the Best Price
Whether you’re buying a new TV or planning a vacation, you can save a lot of money simply by shopping around for the best price. Planning ahead will give you extra time to do some comparison shopping and you should also take advantage of stores that match prices.
6. Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
Going out to eat or to the movies can be expensive for a large family, so be on the lookout for free entertainment options. Many museums offer free admission during certain hours once a week or once a month and, if all else fails, you can head to the local library to do some reading
7. Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Making your home more energy efficient can save you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure to update your weather-proofing, upgrade old appliances, and take simple steps to conserve energy such as turning off lights when you leave the room or turning down the temperature on the water heater.
8. Eliminate Unnecessary Services
If you make a list of all the monthly services you pay for, you may be surprised to see how they add up. Between video streaming services, gym memberships, and home security plans, you may be spending hundreds of dollars without realizing it. If you can cut out just one of these services (or several), you can save a lot of money each year.
9. Use Rewards Programs
Though it can be annoying to carry around a stack of rewards cards, if you are smart about using them they can save you and your family a lot of money. You should also look into credit cards that offer rewards you find valuable, whether points, miles, or cash back.
10. Declutter and Sell Unused Items
If you take a quick look around your house, you’ll find that you have a lot of extra junk you don’t really need. Tackle one room each weekend to declutter and clear out junk then hold a garage sale or sell the more valuable items online.