Whether you’re new to budgeting and planned spending our you’ve been actively managing your finances for a while there is always room for new learning and reminders of the simple things that can quickly destroy a family’s budget.
Here are a few tips for budgeting success
Call a Family Meeting
Call a meeting with the family and discuss ways everyone can help in reducing expenses. Even young children can get in on the action by having “Light Switch Duty” and be sure lights are out when no one is in the room.
Nix Brand Loyalty
Do you really need Heinz Ketchup? Are Aldi Brand paper plates just as good as Dixie brand? For our family the Heinz is non-negotiable. Off-brand ketchup will not do. Paper products are a different story. I am an Aldi fan especially
for things that I do not buy organic or natural. Also consider if you need name brand things like pens, paper, diapers, baby wipes or laundry detergent.
Annual Utility & Necessary Expense Shopping
Once a year, shop for the best rates on utilities and other “necessary because they just are” type expenses. Here is a list of some things to checkInsurances – car, life, home owners
- Utilities – propane, oil and even natural gas and electricity in areas where they are deregulated. Deregulation means that you have a choice of who you will buy your natural gas or electricity from just as we have a choice of who we buy our long distance phone service from. Speaking of…
- Telephone service – there are now companies who offer Voice Over IP (Vonage, Magic Jack, etc). Compare your bills and see if you can save
- Cable or Satellite providers
- Don’t forget to ask about bill bundling. In my area we bundle our local phone service, long distance, internet and satellite and save around $60.00 a month.
Grocery Shop with a List and Meal Plan
Grocery shopping without a list is a big no-no and a great place to start in plugging budget leaks. If you do not meal plan you should consider it. I mean plan monthly and shop monthly but I know others that do it weekly or bi-weekly. In my house the more I stay out of the grocery store the better!
See my other posts on Meal Planning by clicking on “Meal Planning” to the right.
Save on Laundry
Wash as much as you can in cold water and use drying racks, inside clothes lines or outside clothes lines. Before we had our son I was able to cut our electric bill greatly by reducing hot water washes and dryer use. Making your own laundry detergent is another money saver.
Whether it’s going to work or going for groceries if you’re out all day pack your lunch. You can save a ton of money if you pack instead of buying. Think about it – a $4.50 “value” meal at the drive in twice a week is $468.00 a year. How many times a week do you “drive thru?” Not only does it save money but oh how much healthier it is to pack a lunch. I don’t care if you pack store-bought lunch meat on store-bought white bread with store-bought mayo it has GOT to be better than mystery meat from any fast food chain. But that’s another topic for another day!
Avoid the Mall
Like it’s the plague. If you do not need a specific item do not go! We are like bugs attracted to a light when it comes to malls, craft stores, hobby shops and sporting goods stores. The simple fact is until or unless you have trained yourself in restraint just stay away. Don’t go stroll through the mall on a Sunday afternoon for something to do – stroll through the park. Too cold? Rainy? Then cuddle on the couch and watch a family movie or play a board game? Don’t have a board game or a movie? Make a big fort in your living room with clothes pins and sheets. Don’t have sheets? Well, then I’m out of ideas at the moment.
There are tons of ways to save money by tweaking little things in your life. Ask the Lord to show you ways your family can save. Ask him to open your eyes to see things that you may otherwise miss and remember, it is all about being good stewards with what the Lord has given us.
Until Next Time,