Having to provide for a family is expensive. There are more mouths to feed, kids to clothe and activities to attend. Families are often looking for areas to save but sometimes are at a loss about where to start. There are many areas a family could look at cutting back on or eliminating all together in an effort to balance a family budget.
Before I buy anything I always check the local thrift store first. Women’s and children’s clothes especially. Women are always gaining and losing weight, often buying, and then discarding, perfecting good and sometimes new clothes for others to capitalize on! Children just grow like weeds so rarely get more than a few months worth of an item anyway.
I already spoke about cutting back on cable options (eliminating everything entirely also being an option). Other options for saving on utility costs are to look into energy savings. Everything from upgrading cheaper options like energy-efficient light bulbs, to more expensive options like upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. All will help with your monthly bottom line.
Have a good look at your transportation costs. Do you really need a second car. Could you make one vehicle work? Is there a way to save on gas? Carpooling? Public transit? We sold my car before we moved into our current home. Though it would be hugely convenient sometimes to have that second car, especially with my commute and a child, we can’t justify the added expense. Even with a paid-off car we need to consider gas, insurance and maintenance costs.
Food expenses can get out of control in any sized family. I can’t stress enough how important meal planning is. Not only will it save your sanity it will help your budget immensely. We used to easily spend $650 per month of groceries for our family of three (plus cat). Now, an expensive month is $450 and that usually includes topping up some supplies and on-off items.
I can’t think of any other way to maintain a decent diet and in-check budget without meal planning. It makes all aspects of your life easier! Also look into buying bulk for items you consume a lot of. We go through a lot of berries, bananas and broccoli for example so always buy them at a wholesaler instead. We also find stuff like toilet paper and laundry soap generally cheaper at wholesaler prices.
Don’t Buy Cheap Stuff
This sounds counterintuitive but if you waste your money on cheap crap, you will ultimately end up spending more money. Saving up for quality usually saves money in then end. Some things you can get away with a cheaper version but other things are worth saving for. You decide if the item in question is worth saving for or a cheaper version will do.
I for example would never buy my growing child expensive clothes when I can shop at thrift stores or places like Target knowing it won’t fit in like three months and will have plenty of play encrusted in it. I would however invest in pieces for myself or husband that I know we’ll get a lot of wear out of.
How do you save on family expenses?