How To Save Money As A Family
Even if you’re a family who loves nothing more than a film night or playing video games until the sun comes up, running a family home can be incredibly expensive. School trips, busted sneakers and family meals can all total up after time, which can eat away at vacation or much-needed rainy day funds. If you’re looking to put a little something away for a surprise or vacation, then getting everyone involved with the saving process is a great place to start.
Ditch the brands
We all know the ubiquitous brand names that sit on shelves in grocery and drug stores – some of which may even be our all-time favorites. However, sometimes it’s good to experiment outside of the comfort zone, particularly when it comes to money-saving. For example, jarred sauces can be incredibly useful if you have mouths to feed and not a lot of time on your hands. However, you’ll be surprised how much money you can save by purchasing the ingredients from scratch. The onions, garlic, and herbs won’t just last you one meal, but countless others.
When it comes to cosmetics, drugstore brands often have cheaper alternatives that do the same job for much less. Take a look at your regular purchases (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and toothpaste) and ask if a cheaper alternative could be found.
Spend time picnicking
Meals out with the family can be truly special, and sometimes ordering takeout can be hugely tempting. However, the same feeling of ‘something special’ can be achieved for a much lower price. Packing a lunch instead of buying a much more expensive one, and eating out with the family on a picnic can give you some much needed family time together without the price tag. Picnics are also incredibly useful if you do decide to spend some money on entertainment with the kids. This way you can spend time with your family eating outdoors at places such as the zoo, large museums, and communal outdoor swimming pools.
In the evenings, holding a barbeque and inviting people over can help use items from your store cupboard and give you the extra benefit of hosting a special occasion with good friends and family.
Have a sale
Selling old items that are no longer used, either by yard sale or pawn shop will help generate some savings money from items you already own. If you’ve never sold to a pawn shop before, it’s always wise to learn more first. Sorting through old toys, jewelry and clothes for items you no longer want is also a great way of decluttering your home. If you’re unsure of what to look out for, here are a few ideas:
- Old jewelry and clothing you consider to be a bit ‘retro’ might be the treasure of an avid vintage collector. Sort through old handbags too and price them fairly based on what you believe to be the genuine price – haggling can come later.
- Old kitchen items that are largely unused but could be useful to someone else. For example, old crockery and cups could be useful for someone about to head off to college for the first time.
- Toys and games might be surprisingly collectable. Pick out the ones in the best condition with the least amount of items missing and keep them on display for a beady-eyed collector.
Before you put everything out in your driveway, be sure to check that you don’t need a permit to host a yard sale. This is mostly the case for cities, but asking neighbors first and contacting local authorities should help clear up any questions on any form-filling you’ll need to do first.
Don’t be competitive
We’ve all been to those birthday parties, or maybe even proms, where someone has gone all-out when it comes to food, decoration, and entertainment. While these are great to enjoy in the moment, there is no need to compete with your own finances. One-upping other events and birthday parties can have a huge impact on your personal budget, and all for the sake of proving you have the capacity to do so. Keeping events full of home-made treats, decorations made by the children and budget-friendly entertainment will keep it fun but light on your wallet. If you had your heart set on a particular venue, then it’s recommended that you book during off-peak times to save some cash.
Create a vegetable patch or herb garden
The idea of curating a vegetable patch in their garden might scare some families who have a well-manicured lawn, however, growing vegetables needn’t involve an entire allotment. Sometimes using raised flower beds in wooden boxes can create a stylish look as well as a useful space for growing. Staying out with easy vegetables such as potatoes, radishes, spring onions, and salad leaves will give you something easy to start out with. Growing a small herb garden on your windowsill will also help you save a few dollars a month on expensive packets of fresh herbs.
Be mindful of waste
This isn’t just advice for looking after the planet – what are you throwing out every week? Waste can sometimes equal money when you look at food that isn’t eaten; clothing that never gets worn and buying bottles of water when you could have brought your own. In fact, reducing your waste wherever possible by using reusable bags and plastic containers is useful for instilling this mindset. Remembering to fill a plastic bottle with tap water, or chilled water from your fridge, and taking a keep-cup to your favorite coffee shop will save you a few cents and dollars and leave you feeling extra virtuous in the process.
Being frugal with your family can feel like a big lifestyle change to begin with. Deciding to ditch numerous carry-outs and remembering to grab your water bottle before you go can take some time. However, once you start looking at a healthier checking account, you might just start to feel the benefits – and maybe give your family the odd treat as a reward.