If you are looking to cut corners and save money as a family, then it’s really not as difficult as you may think. Yes, it may require some small sacrifices to become a more frugal family but the long-term rewards are totally worth it.
Here are 18 Simple and Effective Ways to Budget and Save as a Family:
Tips to Help You Budget And Save As A Family
Whether you are saving to book a family holiday, do some home renovations or maybe even to get on the property ladder, it is important to know where you are spending. You cannot create a budget until it’s clear where your money is going.
Saving money doesn’t have to be like the Extreme Couponing programmes that you see on TV, it’s about small significant changes with big benefits for the whole family. As you venture on your new journey to budget and save as a family, make sure you set goals and monitor your progress regularly.
So if you’re ready to get started with some small changes that can reap big rewards, here are 18 tried and tested tips to help you budget and save for the future.
#1. Be Savvy
If you need something in particular check sites such as eBay, Gumtree, Done Deal and Adverts, see if you can purchase the item second-hand at a much lower cost.
You can even sell old toys to fund new ones for the kids. Car boot sales are also a great way of decluttering the house, making a few quid is the bonus at the end of the day.
#2. Collect Rewards
Sign up to every free customer rewards program you can. Collect points throughout the year and spend them over Christmas when money can be tight and expenses higher.
Tesco allows you to exchange any points into vouchers for days out with Clubcard Boost. You can get discounted days out to places like Dublin Zoo, Sea Life Bray and even Leisureplex.
#3. Meal Plan
Meal planning is so important when it comes to cutting out food waste and buying only what you need.
Sit down as a family and choose your meals together. By getting the kids involved there is a higher chance they will eat what you cook.
Download our free weekly meal planner to help get your started. If you have never tried meal planning, it really is worth a go – you will love the feeling of satisfaction when you know that exactly what you need is in the fridge and ready to go!
Ditch streaming subscriptions, beauty boxes, magazine subscriptions and online gaming sites – think ‘do we really need this?’
It is also worth checking your bank statements for sneaky subs or charges you may have forgotten about.
TIP: Sign up to free subscriptions such as the LEGO Life magazine. The kids will love when their free magazine arrives every couple of months and it’s packed with comics, quizzes and competitions.
#5. Put a Limit on Gifts
Put a spending limit in place at Christmas and opt for one gift per person over the holidays. This way more thoughtful presents can be gifted that will be more appreciated by family members.
#6. Introduce Fiver Birthdays
If you have multiple kids who get invited to parties every other weekend you may be onto a winner. Have a chat with other parents and get them involved. Instead of forking out on expensive gifts or things another child may not like, pop a fiver into a card and you are done!
If all parents did the same, the birthday child can save up all the money and get one main toy or choose to save it for something even bigger. Either way it’s a win-win for all involved. It takes pressure off parents and prevents unwanted toys (and in most cases, plastic) being distributed from house to house.
#7. Always Bring Lunch or Snacks
Whether it’s school, work or a day out of some kind, be prepared and bring a packed lunch or some nibbles to keep everyone going throughout the day.
For days out, bring a flask of tea, coffee or even soup and beakers of juice or water for the kids. You will be surprised how much you could save in a couple of months.
#8. Track Your Spending
If money seems to go out quicker than it comes in, investigate why. Track how you spend your money day by day and see what you can cut out.
Small spends add up quickly – takeaway coffees, a Friday night pizza, weekend treats, etc – so try to avoid small shops during the week by sticking to your meal plan and weekly food budget.
#9. Choose Frugal Fun
Days out don’t have to cost the earth. Be frugal and make a list of fun free things to do as a family. Make a bucket list of things you would like to do.
Check to see what museums or local heritage sites are free to visit (many will have a certain day per week), check out local festivals and markets, join the library for both the books and the regular activities, give geocaching a whirl, and venture a bit further out and discover some new playgrounds, forest walks and beaches.
Family budgeting can be tricky at the best of times. Take our 52 Week Savings Challenge so you can gradually put away some cash to help with unexpected expenses!
#10. Go Generic
Next time you are at the doctor’s, ask your GP if there is a generic prescription drug for any medications you may need. Over time you could save hundreds by making the switch.
#11. Book Online
When you plan on spending your hard-earned cash on days out, always check online in advance. Some places offer discounted rates just for booking ahead of your visit, it’s always worth checking.
TIP: Most cinemas offer weekend kids clubs with a huge discount. However, they tend to book up pretty fast, so always book a week in advance.
#12. Switch Suppliers
Each year, switch your energy supplier, broadband, current account, insurance, and even your TV package. It may seem like a lot of hassle, but you could save hundreds each year by simply shopping around and switching providers.
#13. Cash in Old Phones
If you’ve got old phones lying around at home, check out websites such as Envirofone and see if they are worth anything. It might not be a huge amount of cash, but every little helps – plus it helps you declutter.
#14. Hold a Family Meeting
Gather all the kids together and talk about all things budgeting and saving. Get them involved in any way you can and see where they might help cut costs and save in ways you may not have thought about before. You may be surprised what they come up with.
#15. Walk to School
Forget ‘WOW – Walk on Wednesdays’, get up a bit earlier and walk to school every day (weather permitting).
Not only will you save on petrol/diesel and car wear and tear, but everyone will be fitter.
And those walks are a great time for kids to open up and talk to you about what is going on their world!
#16. Avoid Phantom Energy Use
Unplug chargers, TVs and switch off unnecessary lights when not in use. Do a sweep through the house every few hours and make sure electricity is not being wasted. Not only will you save energy, you will reap the rewards in your pocket.
#17. Set Up Savings Accounts
Whether it’s with the Credit Union, through the post office or with your local bank, set up a savings account for every member of the family. If the kids get pocket money for chores or get money throughout the year, encourage them to save a portion of it for a rainy day.
#18. Shop Around For Your Mobile Phone Bill
Shop around and move to a cheaper mobile phone plan with your current provider or a different network. It’s worth checking with your current mobile provider if they have long term rewards or discounts too. You could easily cut your phone bill in half by shopping around.