There are literally hundreds of creative ways to save money each month, whether you’re trying to save a little or a lot. Your family budget does not necessarily have to fit a template. A budget that really fits your style and family dynamic tends to be a lot easier to stick with, and can even be fun! Here are some tips for making a creative, customized family budget that will help you save money every month.
Use Online Deal Sites
Getting discounts at your favorite stores or restaurants used to mean hunting through newspapers to find coupons. These days, online deal sites like Ebates , Living Social, Groupon make it easy to deals at supermarkets, restaurants and all sorts of other merchants in your area.
Search sites like these for deals on things you buy on a monthly basis. In your budget you should already have a area for clothes and household supplies and other things you use monthly. Use this budgeted amount to purchase online and you will find you will usually spend less than you had budgeted and have money to put into savings One quick word of caution. Always check reviews on Google or Yelp before making purchases somewhere you’ve never shopped before.
Keep Energy Use Low
Your monthly electric bill is likely higher than it needs to be. Some electronic devices continue to use a little bit of electricity even when they’re on standby or turned off. This “phantom power” or discrete energy use can add up to a sizable increase in your power bill.
Preventing a device from using phantom power is as easy as unplugging it. But, it’s not always easy to remember to do so. It might help to plug all of your phone chargers and electronic devices into a single power strip. As long as you remember to unplug the power strips when they’re not in use, you’re good to go.
Shop With a Meal Plan
Shopping for groceries every few days costs you money in the long run. Not only do you pay more for transportation, by taking multiple trips, you can’t take advantage of bulk discounts. When reviewing your monthly budget set aside how much you want to spend on groceries per month.
Plan your menu ahead of time and buy enough food to last for a longer period of time (typically two weeks or a month.) You’ll end up spending less, and you won’t have to worry about deciding what to buy on a more frequent basis. By doing this you will find that your budgeted amount will get you alot more groceries or you will have some money left over.
The great American cookout is a great way to have an “outing” while saving money. If you grill seasonal garden vegetables, it’s an even bigger money saver. Get creative – you can grill inexpensive, “ordinary” foods and make them seem like a treat. For example, mix up some flat bread dough and cook it on the grill. You can even do pizza on the grill!
The Crock Pot and Instant Pot are great ways to save money each month also. You can do large meals and then freeze portions of it and you have basically made 2 meals at once.
Save Those Pennies
Have you heard of a “swear jar”? Some families who are trying to improve their language will institute a swear jar. Any family member who swears has to put a quarter into the jar. Get creative with your family – is there something your family would like to improve on that could use a “swear jar”? Here are some ideas:
- Every time your child talks back he or she has to put a quarter in the jar.
- Family members must pay a quarter each time they don’t put away their shoes, toys, or whatever item always seems to be left on the floor each day.
Another method is simply never to spend change. When you pay cash for something, always use paper money – if the total is $5.26, give the clerk $6. Then put this change into the jar. You’ll be amazed at how this can accumulate over the year, especially if you use cash often.
Make use of all those online tutorials to fix minor problems around the house. Try typing your problem into your search engine and look for tutorials. It’s amazing how much information is on the internet, even for solving obscure problems.
Hopefully, at least one or two of these ideas appeal to you. Honestly, with a little creativity on your part, saving money is probably not as difficult as you think! Are there any other creative ways to save money each month that you use?