Today’s economy has forced families to take a closer look at their spending habits. Being frugal doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived though. Here are six ideas to trim the budget which might fit easily into a family’s lifestyle.
Cut Cable to Save Money
Trimming the budget won’t come without a few cuts. The monthly cable bill is likely to be one of these. Depending on the package families have, the cut may save over $50 each month.
To compensate, families can try cheaper alternatives like picking up a box of used movies at a rummage sale for the kids. Almost every popular kids’ program is available on video or DVD now. And parents can get a cheap subscription to Netflix and have their cable shows sent in the mail.
Cut the Cell Phone Package
Another cut might be the expensive cell phone package or even the cell phone altogether. Most people over the age of thirty remember it’s possible to live without them.
Moms concerned about safety can check out pay-as-you-go phones. These are a great savings, but only if moms are serious about using them sparingly.
Trim the Grocery Bill
The grocery bill is one area of the budget families will want to scrutinize closely for overspending. Soft drinks, chips, desserts, and wine are all examples of purchases that may need a second look. As a happy side effect, trimming the budget may have other trimming effects as well.
Since meat is probably where most of the grocery bill goes, families can cut costs dramatically by watching for sales and trying one or two meatless meals a week.
Shop Thrift Stores for Used Clothes
Thankfully, while kids are young, labels mean nothing. Moms can take advantage of this by hunting down bargains on quality used clothes at consignment sales, yard sales, and thrift stores. Surprisingly, many of the baby clothes they’ll sift through in these venues will still have the tags. Shopping the thrift stores in the wealthier parts of town can yield all the brand names older kids crave at the prices budget conscious families need.
Consider Downsizing the Cars
Families may need to consider downsizing one or both of the cars. Getting out from under a car payment is incredibly freeing.
When purchasing a car, couples should think economy. Contrary to popular belief, most stay at home moms don’t need a mini-van. They can shop for a used car rated highly for reliability and gas mileage.
They’ll also want to consider future expenses. The smaller the tires, the cheaper they are to replace. If someone in the family is handy with oil changes and car repair, couples should look into purchasing a model that still accommodates home mechanics.
Consider Before Purchasing a Family Pet
Families might be struck with the urge to add a cuddly animal friend to their growing household. They should definitely talk to a pet owner before making any snap decisions though. This will help gauge the financial commitment. Even pets in perfect health are a significant drain on the budget. Many pet owners find the benefits outweigh the costs, but if a family doesn’t currently have a pet, taking on a new expense is something to consider when funds are tight.
Having it all is an American myth. Unfortunately, it causes many families to feel discontent when it’s time to tighten the belt. In reality, trimming the budget can be a wonderful way to clarify priorities as a family. A couple can use the opportunity to evaluate their course and set attainable goals for their future.
Trimming the budget doesn’t always have to involve spending cuts. Families may be interested in some creative ideas to proactively save money each month. They can also check out a plan to prepare ahead of time for life on a single-income budget and the financial adjustments they should expect in the first months.