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Every parent will know that raising kids and managing a household don’t come cheap. The good news is that it is possible to make savings, and often, small changes can make all the difference. If you’re looking to maximize your disposable income, or you’re hoping to bolster your savings account balance, here are some tips to help you tighten your belt without making any sacrifices.
One of the best things to do if you’re keen to take control of spending and try and reduce your outgoings is carry out an audit. In this day and age, when we tap or swipe to make a payment, place orders online or use credit cards, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track of spending. You may underestimate how much is going out of your checking account or onto a card, and you might not really know where your money goes each month. To adopt a firmer grip, it’s a great idea to sit down with a notebook and a pen, and go through your most recent statements. This will give you an idea of how much you spend in an average week or month, and enable you to see if there are any outgoings you could curtail. If you do find that you lose track of transactions easily, it’s also beneficial to make a note of how much you spend each day using an app or a spreadsheet on your laptop.
Budgeting is a really useful tool for anyone who is keen to spend less and save more. If you know exactly how much money you have available every month, this will help to prevent overspending and ensure that you only buy what is necessary. Budgeting is really simple, and it can make a huge difference when it comes to money management. All you need to do is use an app, create a spreadsheet or use a pen and paper to create lists of your incoming and outgoing payments. Once you’ve got all the figures in front of you, you’ll be able to see how much disposable income you have, how much your bills cost, and how much you could put away in your savings account.
Lowering household costs
The vast majority of people could lower their household expenditure without making drastic changes. Think about where your money goes, and then consider how you could shave a few dollars off every payment each month. Simple changes like avoiding buying a takeaway coffee every morning and doing your food shop online could lead to huge savings.
One of the best ways to slash household costs in revising your food budget. Many of us overspend at the supermarket, and we end up throwing away items that we don’t use. If you’re lured in by neon lights and special offers, now is the time to embrace online shopping. When you shop online, you can create a list, add those items and keep an eye on your running total without having to swerve promotional items and giant sale signs. You can also save money on food bills by batch cooking, buying frozen food, and swapping takeouts and ready meals for home-cooked fare.
Another way to save on household bills is to reduce energy usage. If you dread the arrival of your monthly gas and electricity bills, you can bring costs down by using less energy and investing in gadgets and devices that are designed to save you money, such as energy-efficient bulbs. Don’t leave lights on when you leave the room, turn appliances off at the socket, and don’t be wasteful with water.
In this day and age, it’s almost always possible to save money by shopping around. You can apply this rule to products ranging from diapers, strollers, and clothing to pet food, electrical items, flights and insurance policies. As a general rule, it’s best not to buy anything until you’ve looked elsewhere to see if you can get a better deal. The Internet makes it possible to compare prices within seconds, and you can follow links online to complete a purchase in a matter of minutes. With the holidays coming up, it’s a great idea to embrace price comparison and also to look out for special offers like Black Friday stroller deals and discounts on popular items like TV sets, gifts and festive food and drinks. If you are braving yourself for Black Friday, go into it with a list of items you want or need, and try not to be blinkered by marketing ploys. Great deals aren’t so great when you end up with a load of stuff that you won’t use.
On the subject of shopping around, it’s useful to take a moment to look at your insurance policies. If any are due for renewal, it’s worth using comparison sites to see if you could get more for your money. Competition in this industry is rife, and many companies offer new customers their best deals. Rather than renewing automatically, check what other plans are available. You may find that you could save hundreds of dollars across a range of policies.
Having fun on a budget
We all know that having fun can come at a price. If the kids are asking to go on vacation, they want to go to theme parks or to the movies, or you fancy treating yourself to a day out with your friends, it can all add up. Thankfully, there are ways to save. Register with coupon sites to take advantage of offers like discounted park tickets and buy one get one free on kids’ meals, and think about ways you can socialize for less. Take it in turns to host dinner parties or movie nights instead of going to restaurants and cinemas and organize play dates at home.
Most of us would love to have a little extra cash, especially at this time of year. If you’re looking to try and save, but you don’t fancy overhauling your lifestyle, there are some very simple ways to take control of spending and reduce your outgoings. Hopefully, this guide will set you on the right path.
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