These days, it’s hard for most families to find extra money in their budget to have fun. A tight budget doesn’t have to mean a boring life. With a little effort, you can refigure your budget so that you and your family can live a full and exciting life. Here are some ways to help you and your family spend less money each month while living more.
The first step in assessing your financial situation is always figuring out your budget. Even if you think you have a good understanding of your budget, it never hurts to take a second look at any time. Collect receipts for at least a month and add up everything you spent. This will give you an idea of how much you’re spending in each area. Next, figure out where you spent too much. Did you dine out too often? Did you spend too much on clothing or gas? Putting all your spending habits right in front of you will show you how you spend every penny.
There are unavoidable costs like utility bills, house and car payments, food costs, and every day essentials like household and hygiene products. Figuring your budget penny by penny can help you reallocate funds into these areas but there are always ways you can cut down how much you spend in some of these areas. To lower your utility bills, educate the family on conscientious living. Turn off lights when you leave a room, don’t leave the water running the whole time you brush your teeth or while you’re in the shower. Use the water to soap up and rinse off. Don’t blast the A/C except for on unbearable days. With everyone committed to using less while at home, you’ll see your utility bills go down.
Save on every day items by using coupons and paying attention to when your preferred retailer are holding sales for toiletries, cleaning products, or beauty products. If there is a good sale on deodorant, stock up for the whole family for a few months. Shopping at wholesale stores like Sam’s Club or Costco can also help you save on these kinds of items if you can afford the yearly membership cost.
Buy used whenever possible. Show your children the fun of sifting through thrift stores to find those special and unique items. Do your back-to-school shopping at consignment stores, thrift stores, and secondhand stores like Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet. Not only will you cut down on the waste your family produces, you’ll spend way less on clothing. Buy used cars and used furniture. When in the market for electronics, looked for used ones on eBay or Craigslist or refurbished ones through a retailer.
Many families make use of the many free samples available from manufacturers. Free samples are a great to travel with, to test new products, and to supplement your current products. You can find free samples for everything from beauty products to food. Search online for them or look to specific companies to find how to obtain samples from them.
When you do feel like splurging and taking the family out for a night on the town or on a vacation, do it frugally. Use sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to spend less on dining out together and these days you can even find cheap getaways and vacations through the websites. The Internet has unlimited resources available that can help you save money so take advantage of that.
Saving money won’t require much effort and it will be worth it when you see how much less you can spend on every day essentials so that you have enough leftover to have fun. Plus, you’ll teach your kids valuable lessons in saving while you’re at it!