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Family Budget Savings - Tips for Cutting Costs in Your Family's Budget
If you are reading this hub you are probably in need of a little extra cash. I have made a few changes in our homes budget that I would like to share with you. Now these are only opinions based on my homes personal finances and they should definiately work in any home they are put to use in. But keep in mind these tips will not get you rich overnight, but if they should happen to get you rich, please tell me how you did it!!
Household Bills and Expenses
I cut down on alot of our household extras that were not being used and was able to save us about $2000 a year. These are some areas you may want to look into.
- Direct TV - We had switched to satellite TV about 8 years ago to save money. But switching alone is not all you have to do. You need to examine your bill and your watching TV habits every so often to see if you still need any extras that you are still paying for and not using. Example - Are you receiving and paying for all the movie channels, but realize you only watch about 2 or 3 movies a month? In that case I would cancel those channel and instead just rent the movies.
- Phone - We have a house phone and cell phones. I realized a few months ago it was cheaper for us to take the lowest cell phone plan our company had and placing a bundle package on our house phone which included our unlimited local and long distance calls, and our DSL all for one monthly fee. This saved us about $60 a month.
- Electricity - All I can say is replace your stander light bulbs with the more energy efficient ones. They may cost a few dollars more but trust me, you will replace them alot less and they use alot less electricity. Also turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Heating and Cooling - In our home we use coal for heat and hot water. A simple way to save money on heating is to keep you thermostate at one temperature all winter. Ours is set at 70 ^F and it keeps our home heated between 68^F to 72^F. If you get cold put on a sweater instead of cranking the heat for 30 minutes just to turn it back down because now you are to hot!!! Same with cooling, set it to one temperature.
- Coal, Oil, etc. - You can buy these heating sources all year, not just when it is cold. I know for us coal is a little bit cheaper in price in the summer months and higher in winter months. It is best to purchase some of your heating during the cheaper months. This will help save money in the winter.
- As you are replacing household appliances keep in mind to buy energy efficient ones. This will save you in the long run across the board of your household bills.
*Note - Always take advantage of refer a friend promotions reguarding your household bills. In most cases you can save up to $10 a month for each referral for 6-10 months. I always throw the refer a friend pitch to people when they are talking about switching to something I use. Also your friend will usually also save some cash on the deal!!!!
Grocery Shopping and Miscellaneous
I hope I can stress this enough Only buy what is necessary and only buy what you are going to eat!!!!Now I am not telling you to pass up a sale on chicken because you won't be eating until next week, but what I am saying is don't buy 10 boxes of hamburger helper just because it's on sale. (unless you use 10 boxes in a month) Buy what you need. Also definitely try your local discountfood store, ours is Aldi's, we do not purchase whole orders here but alot of items are much cheaper.
- Take advantage of meat sales. I can usually go to the supermarket and purchase enough meats that are reasonably priced to feed my family for about 2 weeks. I love the Pick 5 for $20 meat sales our store has and it saves you an instant $5.
- Buy fruits and vegetable that are on sale or in season. Another great and cheaper place to purchase fruits and vegetable is your local produce stand or farmers market.
- Brand name verses generic. Now for myself I can honestly say I DO NOT always shop generic. Some items I have to have the brand name, I know this for sure because I have tried the generic and I will never eat it again. But mostly we do buy generic. Especially cereal, it is a better deal to buy a bag or Tootie Fruity's instead of a box a Fruity Pebbles because the bag will last 3 times as long as one box.
- Always watch for store sales on items you use the most. We just bought 3 cases of Powerade for our children at .41 a bottle, the store was offering a store coupon for 5 free bottles if you bought 10. So for every 10 you got 5 free!! It was one coupon per shopping trip, so all you had to do to use multiple coupons is purchase 10 take 5 free, walk out to your car and put them in, and then just walk back into the store.
- Take advantage of store savings cards, our grocery store offers a gas card for their gas station. Everytime you shop, they scan your card, and for every $100 spent you can save more on gas. 1st $100 = .20 off each gallon of gas up to 20 gallons. Every $100 spent from then on is additional .10 each time. Savings on card is good for 1 use, ex .30 off per gallon used on 15 gallons means I start over with next shopping trip. Money savings does not carry over so use it up!!!
- Lastly, Always use coupons!!! If you can save even $5 dollars a shopping trip twice a month that adds up to $120 saved for the year. Sometimes it can surprise you how much you can save with a couple of good coupons!!!!
*Note for parents shopping with children, ALWAYS make a list!! If your children are like mine you will forget everything you need and instead buy everything you don't need. A list helps keep your memory in tact in those stressful moments:)
Cleaning supplies can be bought at a local dollar store for a fraction of the price. You can also use coupons at most dollar stores!!! Also buy bigger packs of daily necessities, ex. toilet paper, paper towels, etc. It may cost more to buy at once, but you will save by not having to buy as often. (keep toilet paper locked up when you bring it home so it does not vanish!!lol)
Saving with Kid's Items
Babies and Toddlers
- In most cases a baby shower is thrown for your first child and you receive just about everything you may need to keep your baby happy. In the event you still had to buy your own either new or used follow these tips. If you are planning on ever having more children I would suggest to save everything you possible can from your first child. The crib, playpen, high chair, tub, swing, clothing, toys, etc. A lot of these items I received at my baby shower and they had faithfully lasted me through all 3 of my little babies. Now after receiving the items 9 years ago, they are being passed on in still awesome condition to people I know, or people other people know, as greatly needed baby items.
- Only buy what clothing is completely necessary. For example, our school district is requesting the kids to dress uniformly this school year, the kids are only allowed to wear white or shades of blue polo shirts, Khaki, brown, navy or black dress pants, plain solid colored gym clothes, and very specific colored footwear. So instead of purchase 15 outfits for each school aged child, we bought them each 3 polo shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 2 shorts, and 2 gym outfits. Some items are worn more than once each week.
- After school clothes or play clothes. Hand-me-downs are a great investment, FREE. Do not be ashamed of accepting perfectly good clothing that someone else may have worn only a few times or longer. If it is clean and in great condition why not take it? If you have to buy clothes for your kids remember to not go overboard. I know as a woman I am wired to buy the whole clothing store, but I just remember, my kids do not need 100 different outfits for one season's weather. Half of them clothes do not get worn enough and someone gets brand new hand-me-downs for next year. In my opinion 10-15 outfits should do the trick.
- Book-bags are for the purpose of carrying school supplies. A good sturdy book-bag in a nice plain color could last your child for years. They may grow out of Hanna Montana but I doubt they will decide they are too old for the color blue. Also, lunch cans come in plain colors. If your child only packs a lunch once in a blue moon a brown paper bag still does the trick.
*Note if you have multiple kids save clothes for the younger kids to grow into. I have 4 plastic containers in my upstairs closet labeled with each child's name and filled with hand-me-downs form their siblings.