I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that having kids is hardly cheap. They eat you out of house and home, wear out shoes faster than Usain Bolt and grow out of their clothes like there’s no tomorrow – and that’s before you consider how much it costs to entertain them and keep them (relatively) clean!
Combine all of your child rearing costs onto the costs of running a home and those expenses soon add up. I’m always looking at ways to cut back on my spending without feeling like I’m depriving myself, and here’s what I’ve managed to come up with so far:
5 Ways Every Family Can Reduce Their Household Spending
Reduce your bills
Shopping around is the easiest way of doing this. Once a year we put our utility details into a comparison site and see how much it thinks we can save in a year. So far, I’ve not had to switch energy companies because when I ring my provider they either match or beat the offers I find online. Usually you can expect to make a £200-£300 saving over the year by finding the best deal for your usage.
Next you should shop around for TV and Internet deals. The way to do this is make a list of what you want from a package, then check who has it cheapest. I’ve found the TV and Internet companies to be very competitive when you mention switching which means they will usually match whatever deal you’ve seen. If they can’t match it, then move provider. Always follow the savings if you can. I’ve recently managed to reduce my bill by about £15 a month just by asking what deals my normal TV and Internet provider has on.
Plan your outings so you don’t buy food or drink
I’m not saying never eat out, but I can often end up spending more than I intended when I’m out with the family, just by purchasing drinks and snacks. If you plan your outing better, you can bring food and drink from home which will cut down on the type of idle spending people don’t take notice of. It’s this kind of spending that eats into your money and leaves you wondering where it’s all gone.
I always used to get conned into buying my kids massive cookies when I took them out. I knew they’d be just as happy with a couple of custard creams and I’d kick myself for not bringing snacks from home. Since I’ve been better prepared on the food and drink front, I’ve probably saved myself a small fortune.
Walk as much as you can
Paying for public transport or making short journeys in the car might seem relatively cheap at face value, but when you add them up over a month they can amount to quite a lot! Instead, try making more journeys on foot and enjoy the extra money in your pocket (or save it up to replace the shoes you’ll be wearing out!)
Take advantage of free entertainment
I embarked on a ‘no spend weekend’ with my family in the autumn. I was surprised at how much you can do in the area without having pay. We all really enjoyed ourselves, and now that the weather is bit better we’ll be doing a few more of them.
The beach is the obvious freebie for when the sun comes out (just stay away from the arcades and delicious-smelling donut shops). Weelsby Woods and People’s Park are lovely destinations for spring-time walks, and maybe even a picnic if the rain stays away!
Go bargain hunting
Discount stores can be a treasure trove of bargains. I love the bargain aisles in the discount supermarkets, they’re always full of amazing things that you never knew you needed (so don’t be tempted to overspend).
Try supermarket own brand food. In most cases you won’t be able to tell the difference (although there is an ongoing dispute in my house about off-brand mayonnaise). If you cut out all or most of the branded products from your weekly shop I think you’ll be surprised at how much cheaper your trolley is when you get to the checkout. You might want to read about how to feed a family for £50.
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