Running a family household is a big job – its big business and its big money and with the average family, the cost of living these days is starting to cramp everyone’s style in a big way. It’s no longer enjoyable to go to the grocery store – not that it ever was, but now it’s seriously painful. A few years ago it didn’t cost this much to run a household, and sadly salaries have still to catch up to the rapid rise in the cost of living expenses.
So how can families really save money and cut back in their household budget without drastically changing their entire lives? There are a number of ways to do this, and with a bit of clever savvy and planning ahead, you will be able to shave off quite a bit of money off of your monthly family household budget.
Here are 10 tips on how to cut the cost of your family budget.
This is a big slice of your monthly budget and is right up there with water and the electric bills – necessities. The price of food and basic items – never mind luxuries – is enough to make you want to sob into your empty wallet at times, but it’s not impossible to save money on your grocery bill. Leave the kids at home when you shop – you do spend a lot more money when they are with you, nagging for stuff. Make a list and only buy what is on that list and make sure you head to the store after lunch, not on an empty, growling tummy. Ignore impulse buys at the checkout (they are specifically placed there to tempt you) and use coupons. Look out for special offers but only buy them when they will really save you money. Don’t buy something you won’t use just because it’s on BOGOF. Buy on bulk where you can.
Shop around for the best insurance deals every year and don’t be afraid to change over to another company with lower premiums. Car and household insurance should be updated every year, as the value of your car decreases, so should your premiums on your insurance. Do some research to make sure you are getting the best deal for your family.
A washing machine uses a huge amount of electricity and water – especially if you are doing small loads in a big machine that isn’t energy saving. Switching to a greener option and a better energy saving machine, will help you reduce the high water and electricity bills every month. An energy saving machine does take a bit longer to complete a cycle, but you will be able to shave off a substantial amount off of your utility account every month.
4. Buy a Dishwasher
Washing your dishes by hand may seem like the most cost-effective way to get your dishes clean, but in actual fact you use much more water and much more electricity to heat the water than you may think. Dishwashers are designed to be economical in their use of both water and electricity and it will save you time and money in the long run; not to mention avoiding the bun fight after dinner as whose turn it is to do the dishes. Pack the dishes in 5 minutes, put the kettle on and enjoy an extra hour to yourself in the evening and wake up to a clean kitchen.
5. Home Cooked Meals
Takeaways on the way home from a busy day at the office and a late day getting home may seem like a fantastic time saving option in the short term, but in the long run it eats heavily into your budget and starts to affect the tightening waistband on your jeans as fast food is loaded with fat. Take the time to do a bit of planning, shop in advance and cook meals at home.
If you are clever you can cook double and still have enough for dinner the next evening or even lunch the next day. Doing a big cook on the weekends and freezing meals into portions is a great time and money saving exercise at home.
Television has become a part of many households’ everyday life, but cable and extra channels cost a packet and half the time nobody even watches anything. Shop around for different packages or get rid of the TV altogether and replace it with a radio – listen to music and play cards in the evening; a much better family idea than slouching in front of the TV every night.
7. Pack Your Lunch
Always on the go? Always find yourself racing around with kids and errands finding you have skipped meals and are hungry? Steer clear of the drive-throughs at lunchtime or hitting your favorite coffee shop for a muffin. Save your money and pack yourself a snack like fruit, nuts or smoothies and bottled water from home, or just prepare yourself a healthy sandwich and pack it in a cool box for later. You will keep your budget and your blood sugar happy.
If it is somebody’s birthday or its Christmastime, don’t rush out and buy everything your eyes see. It can be a pricey exercise. Get the whole family on Pinterest and get their creative juices flowing. Keep stuff like cardboard, ribbons, and things in an organised craft cupboard and when it comes to making cards or gift bags, your family and you will have fun doing so and save loads of money. Also, you might not have such a large out of money experience over the festive season either.
9. Walk More
If it is possible, leave your car at home and walk to your destination. If you are close enough to school or work, get on your bicycle or walk the kids to school. Drag that lazy dog of yours off the couch and get them out into the fresh air as well. You will save money on fuel and you will get some exercise. A beautiful win, win situation.
10. Cut the Conversation
Do you have a massive home telephone account at the end of every month? Chances are you are paying for services you don’t even use, let alone need. Investigate the options for long distance call packages and off-peak free call packages. You will save yourself a lot of money especially if you have teenagers in the house. And thanks to modern technology – don’t we all use Skype these days anyway?