All parents want to provide the best for their children. However, the cost of child-rearing goes up every single year, with no signs of ever going down. On top of our basic household necessities and our children’s needs, we also have to take into consideration those emergency situations that we may encounter along the way. This is where our budgeting skills will be put to test. Let’s admit that there are times when we are torn between scrimping to save for rainy days and splurging for our children. What we need to realize is that the trick is to strike a balance between the two: we don’t need to blow our budgets just to give our children the best and we also don’t need to scrimp to the point where we are almost depriving our family those little luxuries that they so deserve from time to time.
If you are one of those budget-conscious parents out there, these money-saving tips can help you save more without having to completely change your lifestyle.
- Pay with cash.
As we all know, a lot of people go into debt by falling victim to the monthly minimum payment trap. Once you get yourself deep in debt, it is hard to get out, especially when you have a growing family to consider. So, if you can’t afford to pay the entire balance in full on your monthly credit card statement, pay in cash. This way, you save yourself and your family from having to pay more than the actual purchase price because of the interest accruing on a monthly basis. Fewer expenses mean more savings for your family.
- Organize your grocery and shopping trips.
Before you head out to the grocery, check your fridge and pantry, and make a list of the things that you need to buy. This also applies if you are going shopping. Stick to your grocery and shopping list ALL THE TIME. By creating a list, you can anticipate how much you are going to spend on your groceries and see if you are following your budget or exceeding it.
You may ask your kids to write down the things that they need before you go out and run your errands. If you are bringing the kids along, learn to manage expectations. You may tell your kids that they can have ice cream before heading home. But if your kids want something else, give them a choice. It’s either of the two – say, your kid can either have ice cream OR buy that toy that he or she likes. But never both. This is a good way to teach your children how to be budget-conscious.
- Hold a garage sale every few years or so.
Get rid of stuff you don’t need by holding a garage sale at your home. Not only this is a great way to earn extra cash for your family, it is also a fantastic activity for the whole family, as well as the community.
- Downgrade, if not cancel those subscriptions that you and your family can do without.
Who needs to have a copy of that glossy fashion magazine every single month when you can read the same articles online for free? How often do you watch TV? Do you really need to have premium Cable TV subscription and have all the complete list of HD channels when you only have time to watch the 6 o’clock news or sit down for a couple of minutes to watch cartoons with the kids.
Magazine and cable tv subscriptions are just some of the few things that your family can do without so it is best to just have it canceled and have the money allotted for these subscriptions allocated to other more important things such as your family’s emergency funds.
- Pack your own meals and make your own coffee.
Why spend $2.70 on a caffeinated beverage when you can make your own at home? With all those free online tutorials available these days, you can learn how to craft your own coffee-based drink at the comfort of your own home.
Preparing and packing home-cooked meals is also a perfect bonding activity for you and your children. Plus, you can guarantee that your kids are only eating the good stuff, lovingly prepared by mom or dad.
- Pay all your bills on time.
Most services charge late fees when you pay your bill on x number of days past the due date, so it is always best to pay your bills on or before the due date.
- Educate yourself.
Sometimes, having debt is inevitable. The husband may have missed out on filing his income tax return, thus incurring him a tax debt. Or maybe your college sophomore maxed out for whatever reason that supplementary credit card you have given, and you’re stuck with making minimum payments.
Before you even get yourself in this situation, it is best that you arm yourself with knowledge on how to prevent being in that predicament or mitigate the impact of a financial problem to your family, assuming that you are already burdened by a huge debt. Knowing what your options are is important. To every debt problem, there is a corresponding debt relief program that may help resolve your money woes. It is also essential that you know who you are turning to for help.
When faced with money problems, it is only right that you seek the help of a highly-accomplished debt relief organization that offers free consultation services. Not only do you get sound advice from experienced professionals on how debt relief programs can help resolve your existing debt problem, you get it for free. Knowing what your options are will help you focus your energies on resolving the problem at hand rather than dwelling on it and eventually resorting to extreme measures such as filing for bankruptcy.
Being budget-conscious isn’t just about expertly slashing your monthly budget to make ends meet and building up your savings, it is also about having a backup plan and knowing what your options are to mitigate the impact of any financial problems that may hit your household. Not only will you survive whatever money-related crisis that comes your way, you will also guarantee your family’s financial security in the future.