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Having a family is one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive as moms—but we all know, the best things in life aren’t free. With that slowly building college fund, sports equipment, open mouths to feed and family trips to everywhere from Disneyland to the movies, anything and everything adds up! There is hope though. A few cost-cutting tricks in various facets of life can save money on monthly expenses and so you can be a #ProudMama not only of your kids but of yourself for keeping the family afloat and in smooth financial sailing:
Driving up the utility bill is fairly easy when you have multiple family members sucking out the power from every end and room of the house at all times of day. If you have the means, make a long-term investment in smart home appliances. These could range from high-efficiency washer-dryers to smart-controlled LED light bulbs. The good thing about connected devices is that you can control them from other smart-enabled devices—think, turning off the lights from work via your iPhone. Aside from optimizing energy efficiency with smart devices, there are also other simple ways to save energy. Avoid unnecessary energy expenditure by unplugging dormant electricity-run items such as the hair dryer or the reading lamp in the living room.
Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill
Cell phone bills can get pretty pricey, especially if you don’t take the time to look into what you’re actually paying for. If you’re not already on a family plan for all the cell phones ringing in the house, it’s time you get on the money-saving train. Carriers like T-Mobile are making this easier by offering various plans for their phones, which give everyone unlimited data. This is perfect for your teenyboppers who are constantly Instagramming and Snapchatting (and playing Pokémon Go) and hiking up data usage. This means no more surprise overages, and combining all the lines under the same plan saves you major money compared to individualized options for each person. Even being able to save as little as $10/month can really add up.
It’s 2016—cable is not a necessity, but something like the Apple TV might be. In a day in age where you can stream every show essentially online or in an app, all you really need is a device that connects to your TV monitor to house all your entertainment necessities from music, shows to movies. Cancel your pricey cable contract, and opt for a device like the Roku, Google Chromecast or Apple TV and stream apps that have super low monthly subscription fees like Netflix. Plus, if you still have friends with cable here’s a pro tip – use their cable provider login for access to premium channel apps like Showtime Anytime and HBO Go.
Save on Food
Buying in bulk is one of the perks for feeding a family because you can fully capitalize on a Costco wholesale discount. Cooking at home is also an obvious money saving trick and an often-healthier choice to keep the entire family eating well and having control of exactly what nutrients are being taken in.
With all the stresses of taking care of others, it’s more than okay to take the edge off by sipping a glass of wine. But buying individual bottles of wine can add up and it’s not a necessity (although we moms know it kinda is). Try getting boxed wine— no, not Franzia, but a more premium quality vino like Bota Box. There are four bottles in one box, it’s less than $20 and it lasts way longer than opened corkscrew bottles. It’s a switch up that allows winning and winning in every way.
Carpooling is the way to go when you want to save some dough on regular trips to soccer practice. Make some friends with other parents on your kid’s team and coordinate a carpool. You get more free time and amplify your social network indirectly. Another way to drive and save is taking ride-share services instead of taxis. If you need to get the crew to the airport for the family vacay, opt for Uber to cut the cost of that long trip to the airport in half. And if you’re looking to go from one side of town to the other, try public transportation and make it an adventure for the kids!
When you have a family to take care of, every penny counts. There are so many ways to save on monthly expenses, so start taking charge of those financials to ensure a bright future for everyone you love!