Cutting costs and looking after your family at the same time can be tough. Not only do you have to deal with the regular monthly expenses like food, gas, electricity, and the mortgage, but it also feels as though we’re plagued with countless unexpected costs too. Everything from a kid needing a new pair of shoes, to a suddenly expensive dental treatment can leave your budget in the gutter.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to start living a more frugal lifestyle as a family. With a handful of the following tips, you could find that you have more money left at the end of each month to put towards your saving goals or make sure that you’re always prepared for anything that might crop up.
1. Write down ALL Your Expenses
Have you ever found yourself spending a couple of pounds on an ice cream for your child, or a bottle of beer at the supermarket, and telling yourself it’s only a “small expense?” It’s incredibly easy for us to convince ourselves that the little costs are justified when we’re not watching every pound. However, when you start to write down everything you spend cash on, you begin to notice just how much your café lunches and morning coffees really add up to. This can be just the wake-up call you need to improve your budgeting.
2. Shop Second-Hand (At least sometimes)
While you don’t necessarily have to buy everything you get pre-loved, it can be helpful to spend at least some of your money in charity shops and at car boot sales. Shopping second hand for furniture, toys for the kids, and even the occasional item of clothing can be a great way to save yourself some serious cash. Plus, with a good eye, you could get some amazing deals. It’s possible to nab a designer bag for pennies if you’re in the right place at the right time.
3. Stop Obsessing Over Branded Products
While you might only spend a couple of extra pennies getting the branded products on your weekly shop rather than the retailer’s own brand – it’s worth making the switch all the same. Cutting down on the number of branded products on your shopping trolley can quickly put a lot of money back into your monthly budget because all of those extra pennies add up! Most of the time, branded products are exactly the same, they just spend more on packaging.
4. Re-Evaluate Your Bills
Are you paying through the nose for your gas and electricity? When’s the last time you checked whether you could get your internet for cheaper? A lot of the time, we over-spend on our monthly expenses because we just don’t take the time to check out what we could be getting elsewhere. Don’t miss out on a great deal. Compare your shopping opportunities regularly.
5. Consolidate your Debts
While consolidating debts might not be the ideal solution for everyone, it can be an important part of cutting costs for a lot of families. If you’re spending a lot on high-interest loans like credit card debts every month, then switching to a loan with a lower interest rate can cut your monthly expenses, while also putting all of your debts into one place so that they’re easier to manage. Check your debts carefully to find out whether consolidation is right for you.
6. Always Pay for Things with Cash
It’s much easier to over-spend when you’re paying with things using a credit or debit card. That’s because when you’re not handing coins and notes over to a cashier, it doesn’t really feel as though you’re spending anything. By allocating yourself a certain amount of cash each week and making sure you only spend that, you can improve your chances of sticking to your chosen budget.
There is also a fantastic Cash Emergency Bible from CashLady to check out other ways from stopping a money meltdown
7. Get Everyone Involved
A great way to improve your chances of being successful with budgeting is to get everyone in your family on the same page. If you’re constantly having to explain to your child why you can’t have a pizza tonight or go to the movies, you’re probably going to end up falling off the wagon at least once or twice. On the other hand, if everyone knows what you’re budgeting for and why it feels more like you’re working together as a team.
8. Be More Deal-Savvy
Finally, never underestimate the value of sales, coupons, and vouchers when it comes to saving cash. If you can wait until a sale to spend on a big-ticket item, or even just stock up on vouchers before you go to the supermarket, you could save yourself some serious cash that can go towards anything you like – from family holidays to a home renovation.