Looking to become a more frugal family? Money is tight anyway when you’ve got mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay. Throw in a pandemic and you might as well put your wallet under lock and key for the foreseeable.
We’ve got just the thing for hectic households looking to cut back. Of course, you'll need to wait until lockdown has eased for some of these tips, but here are 32 savvy money-saving tips for families looking to save a buck or two.
- Shop at discount grocery stores - Aldi or a warehouse club like Costco can help you save money on everyday essentials. Most of the time, the cheaper alternatives taste just the same, if not better! Buy in bulk if you can for even more savings.
- Go online if you can - It’s a good way to curb impulse purchases and definitely easier to resist your kid’s puppy dog eyes. You also don’t have to drag them to the store which is a bonus for everyone involved.
- Use incognito mode - When shopping online, use incognito mode. It can help you save money by automatically deleting your browser history when you close a tab. This means companies can’t track what you’re looking at and put prices up (yep, it happens!)
- Use price comparison websites - Whether you're looking to buy car insurance, credit cards or go on vacation, there’s normally a huge difference between the cheapest and most expensive options. It's worth browsing for the best offers on these websites.
- Use personal finance apps - This can help you track where your money is going (probably on treats for the kids) and makes it easier to see where you can save. Some apps will even let you set goals which are good to incentivize you!
- Eat at home - Eating out is sure a lot less hassle than cooking, but it’s also more expensive. Get the kids involved and make it an experience they look forward to with their dads.
- Organize your pantry - Having a well-organized pantry means you can see everything you have in, so you’re less likely to buy things you don’t need. It’s also great for sparking some inspiration for your next delicious meal.
- Meal prep - Sunday nights are perfect for partially cooking and preparing meals for the week. Just a simple reheat and you’re good to go. They’re also a lot healthier than other microwavable meals!
- Buy a water filter - The initial cost might seem hefty, but it saves you a bunch of money on bottled water. Plus, you’re doing your part for the environment and it’s important to set an example for the kids.
- Pack your lunch - It might seem easier to grab lunch while out, but brown bagging can save you a lot of cash each week. This also stops you from eyeing up the burger joint across the road too.
- Go meatless - You can save a lot of money if you make pasta, beans and eggs the centerpiece of your meals instead of meat. They’re significantly less expensive and just as filling.
- Become an extreme couponer - We’ve all seen them on TV but maybe they’re onto something? You can save huge amounts of money by hunting for discounts and deals from coupons. Your family budget will never be compromised again.
- Collect spare change - A dime here, a dollar there. It might seem like pocket change but it all adds up. Get the kids to stick their arm down the side of the couch, see what they find and then shove it in a jar to count later.
- Utilize the library - The library has so many activities that cost nothing and there are also movies, music, books and other items that can be borrowed for free!
- Learn a new skill - Millions of us learn new skills online while we’re stuck at home. We can all save ourselves money by doing the painting, decorating and other household jobs ourselves!
- Purchase rechargeable batteries - If your kid’s toys and devices burn through batteries like no tomorrow, then it’s time to match the switch to rechargeable. They’re definitely more value for money than disposables.
- Relax for less - Spas are fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but there are ways to relax for less. Try meditation or reading instead. Just make sure your partner takes the kids around the block so you can unwind properly.
- Give secondhand a chance - Buying new children’s clothes and shoes can be a money-wasting mistake, especially when you blink and your kids seem to have all grown up overnight. Thrift stores and yard sales are perfect for picking up cheap clothes for your household.
- Grow your own herbs - Forget expensive grocery store seasoning, grow your own! Not only is it easy to do on a windowsill but they’re also much fresher. Plants are a great place to start before you commit to an expensive pet too.
- Make your own artwork - Affordable wall decor is more accessible than you think. Frame your family photos or relocate your kid’s fridge drawing to its own special place.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting - Incandescent bulbs are being phased out and finding affordable LED bulbs is a lot simpler. The total lifetime savings from these energy-efficient bulbs will out-weigh their initial investment (we promise!)
- Be your own barista - A coffee from your favorite chain each morning can dramatically eat into your finances. That frothy delight isn’t worth it when you can make your own at home. A couple of syrups and a hand frother will make your caffeine fix fancier. It's also great for making hot cocoa for the family.
- Hunt for cheaper gas - We know for families, it’s usually a lot cheaper just to drive places than fly. Before you head out to the pump, check gas price sites to locate the cheapest gas in town and plan accordingly.
- Make your own cleaning products - There are so many ways to make your own cleaning products using natural things like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. They’re cheaper than brand name cleaners and also safer to use around the kids too.
- Avoid designer attire for the kids - While it's tempting to buy all those super cute designer baby clothes, keep in mind that kids outgrow their clothes in a matter of months. And, young kids are prone to wear and tear. Skip the pricey brands and opt for more economical, but still adorable, options instead.
- Rethink your cable - Cut back on premium channels or try the many alternative viewing options such as Netflix. Online streaming gives you access to some different kids shows too, so you don’t have to sit there watching reruns of Paw Patrol.
- Get a better cell phone plan - Check your cell phone and data usage and make sure your plan is in line with your needs. If you usually only have minimal usage, adjust your plan and save a few extra bucks.
- Entertain at home - Every dad can agree the best type of fun is spending time together as a family. Not everything needs to be organized down to every detail - just let loose and see where your kids' imagination takes you. Baking, arts and crafts, playing in the yard - all cheaper alternatives to movie theatre trips and restaurants.
- Lower your credit card rates - Call your credit card companies and ask for a lower rate. Often, card issuers will be willing to work with you. Especially if you mention other lower rate competitors you’re considering.
- Plan family time - Skip the cost of a babysitter and plan to have guests over with all the kids involved. Who says you can’t have fun with your little ones running around?
- Start mending clothes yourself - Now you don’t have to become a seamstress overnight, but learning how to sew common repairs on your kid’s clothes like holes, buttons and hems can save you some costs.
- Contribute monthly to your savings - As soon as payday hits, get in the habit of putting a dedicated amount of money away. Even if it’s just a few dollars, that soon becomes hundreds of dollars if you keep it up.
Don't just spend because you want to be the one with the best gadget or are trying to outdo the neighborhood. Spend because it’s what your family needs. More often than not, the new gadget will be outdated in a matter of months anyway. What does your family really value? Figuring that out makes budgeting and saving that little bit easier, especially during these challenging times.
Learning how to save money while raising a family isn’t just for dads. You can also get your children involved by having regular budget talks together.
You don’t have to get into all of the intricate details about your income or expenses, but you can go over the basics of spending and saving. What children learn about money when they’re younger is valuable later on when they’re raising families of their own. Do you have any amazing money-saving tips you’d like to share? Send them in today - we’d love to hear them and share them with the rest of the GWK community.