Raising a family isn’t cheap! With a family of 5, I'm always looking for ways to cut costs and save a little here and there. With a little time and effort, I can save money without extreme couponing or eliminating quality time with my family. Here are 4 simple money saving tips for families to save a little extra cash.
- Meal planning is a must: Without a dinner meal plan, you are more apt to pick up something on the way home for dinner. Even a cheap meal can really add up and make a HUGE dent in your wallet. Instead of spending $40 to $60 eating at a restaurant, plan budget-friendly meals at home. When planning meals ahead of time, you always know what’s for dinner and are less likely to resort to fast food. Plus having a meal plan will help eliminate unnecessary spending at the grocery store. Check out my weekly meal plans. They are full of healthy meal plans and recipes to help inspire you to get in the kitchen again and start saving money going out.
- Have a staycation:Instead of taking a vacation somewhere, choosing a staycation can save thousands. Investigate local towns and attractions. Surrounding communities may also offer fun things to do. Roadtrippers is the best go-to guide for nearby attractions such as national parks, old-school diners, art galleries and more all organized on a map with directions. The most important thing isn’t the destination, but that you're spending time together with your family.
- Smart food shopping matters: For those who hate clipping coupons, there are smartphone apps that make the job much easier. Favado, for example, locates which store has the best discounts based on a grocery list and emails the coupons for printing. Target offers Cartwheel, a smartphone app that allows you to save money on selected items. It is also a good idea to NOT go shopping when you are hungry. You tend to buy more unnecessary items when you are hungry. So plan your trip to the store after a meal or snack.
- Home entertainment is fun: Instead of going to the movies, check out a video from the local library and spend the night at home watching movies and popping popcorn with the family. Library rentals are free and for less than $2, popcorn can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. For newer movie options, the Redbox app locates nearby kiosks where families can reserve just-released movies to rent for as little as $1.20 a night.
All of these money saving tips are easy to do and fairly painless to commit to. A small change in your spending can make a huge difference over time. Just think of all the money you'll have saved with just one of these ideas.