By Chloe Smith
Living solo is the best part to be saving up money for the future. Sadly, what we don’t realize during that period, is that nothing can prepare us for the massive expenses we’ll experience once we form a family. Now, this can seem detrimental to the idea of starting one, simply out of fear of bills getting higher, and of the cost of keeping everyone healthy and happy. Well – that would be wrong. The options for living on a budget, yet feel like you spent a fortune are plentiful. And we offer you a few nifty tips and tricks on the most common ones.
Gather your family round one afternoon and make a joint effort to prioritize your expenses. Talk through the essential costs of living, and then move onto other items, like school supplies, toys, entertainment, and outings. See what the priorities for each member are every month, and then discuss how you can make them happen, or where you need to make cuts. This helps everyone feel involved, and teaches your kids the basic rules of the household economy, so they won’t feel “scammed” by their parents.
5688709 / Pixabay
Saving on food doesn’t mean you buy lesser quality – far from it! You learn how to get the great quality products for less money, which is by using coupons. Nowadays, there are tons of coupons online, and you can even subscribe for a monthly e-mail newsletter, so you never miss a deal. Also, opt for cooking and freezing your food for a later date, as it tends to be cheaper and healthier than fast food or takeout. Lastly, learn the difference between best before and use by dates – best before means that the food will lose a bit in quality, but it’s still good to eat, so don’t chuck it out.
The electricity bills can be a bother, especially when you use it for lighting, heating/cooling and entertainment. To save in this area, do the following:
- Summer season – as Oztech curtains advise, cool off by keeping your blinds or curtains closed during the hottest times of the day. Use the AC sparingly, and clean out the filters often to avoid breaking down (repairs are costly!)
- Winter season – who says you have to be in your T-shirt even in winter. Dress warmly, in layered clothes and socks, and see if you can start some kind of gas heating plan.
- Entertainment – don’t leave your TV running in the background if no one is watching it, for the sake of “white noise”. Turn off all the lights if you’re not in the room.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the mall and stores and start shopping online. Yes, you will need to memorize what clothing size for each different type fits your child as you can’t try them out, but you will save on gas money, stress of shopping with children (or spouse) and time. The best part is that you can even do grocery shopping this way, and plenty of stores offer free delivery both for groceries and clothing. Not to mention that e-shopping vouchers and coupons are just as applicable as physical ones.
Traveling with a family is stressful enough as it is. But, to ease the stress on your wallet, you can get a family travel plan that is easily accessible online. Furthermore, there is a free medical care card for EU travels that you can sign up for. However, these are not a substitute for travel insurance, so don’t forget those, either! Book your lodgings on Airbnb.com instead of getting a hotel, as those tend to be way cheaper, and feels homelier.
Believe it or not, not all repairs require a handyman. Every married couple should know the most basic of repairs, in order to save money and avoid getting scammed or overpriced by hired repairmen. When you encounter a problem, take a few minutes to google it. A lot of skilled and instructed people offer their advice on DIY household breakdowns and repairs, and on top of that, they offer advice on how to improve some of your utilities and furniture.
Toys take a significant chunk out of our budget. Luckily, there are ways to give your kids the best without spending a fortune. Try to go all DIY and make toys together with your children: from felt and plush animals, to wooden toys and jigsaw puzzles. Crafting will become more fun than toys themselves, and help develop motor skills and a creativity. Which is something you don’t get store-bought. And for the youngest ones, the best baby jumpers offer days of fun as they have several toys within one.
To sum up
These were just some of the ways you can save on perhaps the priciest things when it comes to family expenses. Mounting electricity bills, children clamoring for the newest toys, family travel and food. There are plenty of ways to save a pretty penny, but probably the most important thing is to learn how to prioritize expenses. If you as a family figure out how to allocate the finances each month and come to an agreement, you not only succeed in keeping up with a certain quality of life, but transfer those valuable lessons to your children.
Author Bio: Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast, business consultant, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success.
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