Note: This article contains affiliate links (hyperlinks, widgets, or through images), which means I receive compensation if you purchase a product through them. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. Visit my disclosure page for more information.
You don’t need to be reminded that raising a family is expensive, but you might be interested to learn that the cost of raising a child has gone up 40 percent in the last decade. Incomes haven’t kept up, and that’s left a lot of families struggling to save money for the future.
Your financial goals are important. Whether it’s contributing to your children’s post-secondary education, saving up for a big vacation, or buying a new home. Don’t let them slide because you struggle to save on a day-to-day basis. With careful budgeting, and by following a few of these tips, you can start saving.
#1 Eat at home, stick to your list
Eating out is one of the biggest expenses in any household, as are impulse buys at the grocery store. Food is where any financial planner will start, especially when you have kids. Plan out your meals for the week, write a grocery list, and stick to it. When the kids start asking about fast food restaurants, teach them why it’s important to save, and explain what you get in exchange when you skip the Happy Meals.
#2 Skip the plastic
According to Money Coach, families who buy essentials like groceries on credit cards pay up to 18 percent more than families that pay in cash or with Interac. You can limit your spending by changing your psychology – instead of your $10,000 credit limit, remind yourself that you only have $30 in your wallet. It’s a change of mindset that will help you resist impulse buys and more expensive products.
#3 Brown bag lunch
Food is one of those everyday expenses that seem insignificant but quickly adds up. Bringing your lunch to work can save you $1,800 a year; bring leftovers from yesterday’s dinner or keep a supply of buns and deli meats in the fridge.
#4 Buy used everything
With online classifieds listing everything you can imagine at second-hand prices, you can easily buy almost everything used. Be careful about when you spend the extra money to buy something new – research all of the alternatives you have. You can buy everything from smartphones to clothes to used furniture by going online and finding what people in your community are selling.
Buying used furniture is particularly intimidating for a lot of families; you can save thousands of dollars if you pick it up yourself. When sellers price furniture, they’re told to cost it at 70-80 percent of the original sale price, minus 5 percent for every year of ownership. Brands like IKEA are sold well-below original sale price. While they’re not known for their long-lasting furniture, their low prices can be a blessing when you’re in a financial pinch.
Go straight to the source by finding furniture or other online classifieds in the area; used furniture sellers considerably mark up the pieces they buy at auction. Check the condition and quality of the furniture before you settle on a price, which is always something you can negotiate.
There are hundreds of more tips out there for saving money, but these four can keep your everyday expenses down. You’d be surprised how little purchases add up to tens of thousands of dollars in a year. Buy responsibly and watch your financial dreams become a reality.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.