Money is the #1 stressor for most families, and we all understand why. Here are 6 ways that parents can decrease their budget, while still enjoying life and making memories with their kids…
Decrease The Instant Food Budget. This is the easiest place to make a difference in your budget. However, I am not meaning the difference between eating out and cooking, I mean the difference in frozen/pre made meals and cooking from scratch. For instance, a froze pre-made pie will cost $8-12, but if you buy a frozen crust and canned filling, your price is about $6. However, if you were to buy fresh fruit and learn to make a pie crust, your cost will only be a few dollars. Let the kids have a night where they get to cook dinner for Mom and Dad, but limit the ingredients, so they have to think creatively to make a yummy meal! Check out this blog on what we did to make our budget useful.
Trim The Quantity You Buy. Don’t buy food that isn’t eaten. This sounds simple, but I see people all the time who have cabinets and refrigerators stuffed full of food. They never end up eating it all, so the food goes bad, so the money is wasted. No need to buy it if it isn’t going to be eaten. For my family, this means that broccoli needed to stop being bought, as does chicken wings and we need to decrease the amount of “edible” produce to a sensible small family portion, which is like 1/2 pound of carrots a week, who know that little amount was even POSSIBLE?? I didn’t know it for a long time, because I came from a family of 13, and we only bought carrots 20 pounds at a time. I am quite sure that over buying carrots may have been the sole reason we get off track with the budget! And, yes, I’m looking for recipes on how to use carrots… But that is off topic, back to budgeting!
Buy Household Items In Bulk. For instance, in my stores, diapers are $24ish for 134 diapers, but at Costco, they are the same price for 192 diapers. Trust me, $5-10 saved on each package of diapers will add up real quick over the years. Diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and shampoo will all have a better price in bulk than if you buy them individually. When buying in bulk, remember you may be buying 2-3 months at a time instead of week by week. It saves money in the long run, just make sure your budget is set in a way that it can handle buying extra now to save money over time. And if you have a side hustle, here are some great tips for business finances.
Shop Second-Hand For Furniture and Toys. I know, shiny and brand new is so much more fun, right? But if it isn’t an item that it matters if it is brand new, then it is a really good way to save money. Go to yard sales or second hand stores or buy offline or through apps like Offer-Up and LetGo. Remember, kids out grow toys very quickly, espically the little ones. Parents are continually changing out clothes and toys during the infant and toddler years. Furniture for a nursery doesn’t have to be brand new from Babies-R-Us, it can be second hand or hand-me-down from a family member. As long as it is still useful, safe and good quality, there is a lot of money that can be saved by buying used instead of brand new. Teach the children money management and the value of money by giving them $5 to buy a toy with, taking them to a second hand store AND a toy store to compare prices. Check out our journey to becoming okay with budgeting here.
Plant A Garden. Gardening can be alot of fun and will save you money once you are able to get a harvest in. Even if you don’t have a little dirt in your backyard or you live in an apartment, you can save a little bit of money by having an herb garden. Or by planting potter plants. Bonus – your kids learn about taking care of plants (aka – not killing them!) and they learn the value of hard work and making their own food. And home grown food tastes so much better than produce from the store, so there is that benefit as well.
Go To Free Events. We live in a big city. 9 months out of 12, there is more than plenty to do and most of the events are free. We get to have outdoor festivals all the time, there are mountains to hike or splash pads to explore. There are tickets to win from the radio station or “culture passes” to check out from the library. You may need to get creative – for instance, do the local schools put on an art exhibit or concert your family can attend? Can you go on a picnic or to a lake? Does your church sponsor events, like free movies or date night? Free doesn’t mean boring, the kids will love the family time more than they will care about the amount of money that was spent. Here are some other great ideas for family and spouse dates.
Well, what do you think? Can you see the money stress lessening as you realize you do have options for decreasing your budget and still enjoying life? It doesn’t matter what your income is, crea tivity really is the basis of enjoying your money and still being disciplined about how and where it is spent. And if your family is laughing and making memories while you save the pennies, that is TRUELY living a good life!
Leave a comment below telling us the most creative way you have saved money and what memories your family made because of it.
Do you want more information on family budgeting? Check out my other blogs on finances –
Yes, I include affiliate links in all my blogs, it gives me the chance to stay home with the little one. I get paid a little each time you click and buy from the included links, but I only recommend products that I use myself. Thanks for helping our dream of being a full-time blogger come true! ~ Lydia Y-S.