Raising a family is fun but can be full of challenges. As kids grow so are the family’s expenses, that’s why it’s important to stick with your family home budget. Below are some simple tips that you can do to save big and live on $30,000 or less.
Family Home Budget – Tips for Living on $30000 or Less
Savings tips for the home:
Of course the obvious: turn out lights, don’t let water run, don’t leave TV on.
First and foremost, we created a budget on Mint.com which sends us an alert when we get close to our limit for each category
We keep our A/C at 80 in the summer and heater at 68 in the winter (turned down to 55 at night)
We got rid of cable because there’s nothing we NEED to watch, and if we want to watch something, usually it’s on Netflix or we can watch it online a day late.
Unplug anything not in use. Cell phone and laptop chargers drain power even if the device is not charging
We use coupons and take advantage of BOGO deals at our local grocery stores and always plan meals around the sale ads
We don’t eat out except for special occasions and even that is rare. I think it is more special to cook a special meal of someone’s favorite foods than to go out to eat. (Fast food/restaurants we are big chuck of where our money went before.)
We have a small garden in our yard which my kids LOVE to help with in order to offset produce costs
We have the lowest cell phone plan because I am usually at home and anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call the house phone, and same with data, I’m at home so I mainly use the wifi
We use a bank with interest checking (While it’s not much, it adds up)
I try to do all my running around for the week at once, so I am not constantly running around town wasting gas
I LOVE yard sales. I have found so many great deals on everything from furniture to clothes to dishes and everything in between
I check our local freecycle group once a week (a group where local people post things they have that they are willing to give away if someone comes to pick them up.)
I make big meals for my family of four so we always have leftovers which helps with the not eating out because there is always something in the fridge to heat up.
Allow 10-15 minutes between meal helpings, people usually overeat because they eat too fast and don’t give their food time to settle (esp my kids). If you give your food time to settle, you’ll usually find you’re full and don’t want seconds (of course you’re always welcome to them if you truly are still hungry)
Always buy generic if available (always check active ingredients first though)
I use gasbuddy to find the cheapest gas near me when I fill up (again, small difference, but it adds up)
Buy anything you know you’ll eventually use that won’t spoil in bulk. (trash bags, lightbulbs, paper towels, detergent, etc.) This also saves on gas by cutting out extra trips to the store
Saving tips for kids:
Matinee movies are usually half the price and we eat before going o they aren’t hungry for popcorn or candy
Check with parks and rec for local events. We live in a college town, so there are always free events and concerts going on and we make an effort to attend these
IF we decide to go out to eat, we base it on who has kids eat free nights (Frugal living website)
We homeschool, so we do a lot of field trips with out homeschool group which don’t cost anything
They have kids clothing consignment sale twice a year here, so I buy the kids new clothes and sell their old ones
My daughter begged me to teach her to sew, so I did. Now she loves to sew new clothes for her dolls and barbies from scrap cloth I pick up from freecycle or yard sales
Before planning an big money event always check for sales. My daughter wanted to go to Six Flags for her bday, so I checked around and found out that they were planning Homeschool Day for the day before her bday so we planned to go then because tickets were $37 cheaper than if we went on her actual bday
Anytime we plan an outing, we make sure to pack a cooler with snacks/lunch/drinks, so we are not tempted to purchase them
Teach kids to enjoy the outdoors. We save so much more than our friends because our kids don’t feel like they have to have the newest game system or ipad, they enjoy just going outside or to the ecology preserve near our home and playing outside using their imaginations.
Utilize free/cheap resources for vacations: road trips, campgrounds, etc.
More than anything be realistic about your situation, of course there are things I wouldn’t mind having, but I have to stop and ask myself if it’s something I really need and/or would even use. Usually the answer is no. :-/
Thanks to Alexis R. for sharing these tips!
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