Okay, so we all know that the economy isn’t in the best shape. But raising a large family has never been cheap. The United States has seen worse times than this before, and we’ll see better, but that doesn’t help when you’ve got a huge gang at home. And as your children grow, raising them will inevitably be more expensive. Beyond the essentials, there’s everything you want to be able to provide for your children’s enrichment: sports, activities, and college eventually. So what can you do to keep as much money as possible in your pocket, while giving your family everything they need to excel? Here are five quick tips large families can follow to help save money.
Shop wisely. Large families mean large grocery bills, and there’s no way around it. But if you’re smart with your shopping style, you can stretch that paycheck much further. Get comfortable using coupons. There’s so much competition in the marketplace that stores often post deep discounts and constantly publish sales. Keep your eyes out, and comb through newspapers, circulars, and online discount sites for the best deals. Beyond clipping coupons, check out getting a membership at the big box, bulk retailers. You’ll save a ton of money buying the family staples in bulk, as well as spend less time in the market.
Green your thumb. The only thing you can do to cut down those grocery bills is to make sure you don’t need to buy as much food. If you live in the right climate, start your own garden and watch your bills come down. Vegetable gardens are inexpensive, and can pay off hugely once they mature. And you get the added value of locally grown, pesticide-free fruits and veggies, which will keep your family healthy as well.
Gently used is the new ‘new’. If you have a big family, you’re probably very familiar with handing clothes down. It saves a ton of cash, and if you have kids near the same age, the clothes will certainly stay in style long after the oldest has grown out of them. But aside from that, there are many other options for saving money on clothes. Thrift and second hand stores are not only a viable alternative, nowadays they’re even a stylish one. And if you’re web savvy, there’s plenty of websites where people donate gently used clothing.
Remember shop class. Your car breaks down. Your sink springs a leak. The deck is rotting in one corner. All of these jobs and more you could handle yourself, with a little research and a lot of elbow grease. You can save a ton on car and home repairs if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. And there’s a good chance that within your large family, there’s already a burgeoning handyman. Don’t bite off more than you can chew; leave the complicated jobs to the professionals. But for smaller repairs, it may be worth learning how to take care of it yourself, and put those funds to a different use.
Find the carrot. Trimming the fat in your budget could be met with a ton of grumbling by your family. You may want to cut back on that huge cable television bill, but if your family sees that as a punishment, the miserable home life won’t be worth the monthly savings. Drop the stick, pick up the carrot, and come up with goals to motivate the thriftiness. Maybe the extra money could be put towards a vacation, or a nice meal out each month. Get the family together and come up with ideas for what would motivate everyone to get on board with the savings plan. Sure, you could afford these extras with one of those high interest credit cards for bad credit, but it will be much more fun if the family is united with one goal, and earning that extravagance when you can comfortably afford it will feel a ton better than falling into debt.