Fewer and fewer young people are dreaming about having large families, and one of the main reasons for it is financial – raising children is expensive, and most people fear they won’t be able to afford the expense. But what if you could make it more affordable? There are several highly effective ways large families can cut expenses that will help you live your dream without going into debt. So don’t give up: financial stability is not just for people who prioritize their jobs. You can both have a large family and save money if you’re smart about it.
Large families come with significant expenses. So you’re probably looking for just about any way to spare a few dollars. But with so many money-saving tips online, how will you know which tactics work best? The answer is simple – these are the 5 most effective ways for your large family to cut living costs:
When you have a large family, saving a couple of bucks every few weeks is simply not going to cut it. You need to be more systematic in your efforts – that’s the only way to cut costs consistently and considerably. This means that you need a plan, so your first step should be to create a household budget. Don’t be vague about it either; putting hard numbers on paper is the only way to honestly assess the situation. How much money are you (and your partner) bringing in every month? How much are you spending on necessary expenses like housing and utilities? What about groceries, clothes, hobbies?
It’s important to be realistic about your finances when planning a budget. If you’re not sure about the exact numbers, always estimate your earnings low and your expenses high – this prepares you for the absolute worst-case scenario. Finally, remember to set aside a bit of money for things you and your family enjoy doing. Denying yourself fun will only make it more tempting, and you’ll end up splurging on something eventually. Planning how you’ll spend every dollar in advance will prevent this.
Here’s something you already know: things cost money. New clothes, school supplies, birthday gifts – all of these things will inevitably put a dent in your budget. Some of them are unavoidable expenses, but some you can replace with something even better than material things – experiences and memories. There are tons of ways to have fun without spending much money. So next holiday season, skip buying gifts; plan a family hike in the local national park, or a visit to the grandparents’ house. You may still need to pay for something, but it’ll be less of an expense than buying expensive gifts, and the memories will last forever. Furthermore, focusing on experiences will teach your children an important lesson – that material belongings aren’t the most important thing in the world.
It seems very obvious, but when it comes to unavoidable expenses, you should always try to get the best possible price. To achieve this, you may need to learn some creative ways to shop – shopping later in the day can get you discounts on baked goods, and bins for products close to expiration date can be a veritable treasure trove, for example. Other things you may want to consider are shopping in bulk, subscribing to store newsletters to learn about sales, thrifting, and couponing.
#4: Give up on some luxuries
When you’re planning your budget, one of the things you should pay attention to are expenses that you can cut out entirely. You may be spending money on things that make your life easier, things you’re used to, and things you enjoy which are not strictly speaking necessary. Smoking, drinking, eating out, or getting food delivered ate good examples – you can give up bad habits and start preparing meals at home to cut down on your living costs.
There are other, seemingly more important expenses that fit this bill too. For example, if you own two cars, you can sell one or switch to public transportation entirely. If you were planning on repainting, redecorating, or remodeling an old home, ask yourself if that’s really necessary; adding a personal touch is not complicated, so you can personalize your home for free and postpone major changes until you have more solid finances. Even buying new clothes for yourself and your children is not always necessary – you can alter or sew instead to spare a bit more money.
#5: Focus on the largest expenses – housing, transportation, loans
If you’re serious about saving money, cutting down on minor expenses is secondary. While giving up Starbucks and not taking your kids to McDonald’s will add to your budget, it’s not as impactful as getting rid of the real money-drainers like housing costs or debt payments. So try to find ways to lower your biggest expenses. Consider downsizing to lower your rent or mortgage rate. Walk, bike, or take the metro instead of driving to save on transportation expenses. Finally, pay off your debts and loans so you’ll have more cash coming in.
These five tactics will help any big family save quite a bit of money, but they’ll work even better if you supplement them with everyday habits for saving money:
- always make a list before grocery shopping – you’ll avoid unexpected and unnecessary expenses
- get the most out of everything you buy – don’t waste food, don’t throw away clothes just because they’re out of style, and use everything you own for as long and as much as you can
- use cash, not card – it’ll be easier to keep track of your spending when it’s material
- avoid loans and credit when possible – you’ll end up paying more in the long run
Some of the ways large families can cut expenses may feel like a downgrade. After all, you’ll need to invest time and effort for an often less convenient life than before. But remember: this doesn’t have to be forever. If you can save enough money for enough time, you’ll eventually have more to splurge on things you enjoy. Besides, you may find that some of these things are a lot easier than they seem. And who knows, maybe you’ll even get some enjoyment out of learning to sew or planning free activities for your kids. It’s really all about the attitude you approach the situation with.
Submitted By – Dorothy Carter – Arizona Moving Professionals