Whether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, supporting a family is expensive. Creating a budget is a great first step in getting your expenses in check, and can help you build up some savings over time. But where can you cut costs? Many bills, like gas and electric, are necessities; aside from trying to monitor and reduce usage, not much can be done to change these expenses. Other areas, like groceries, are also hard to limit when you have a family to feed. Read on for some quick tips to cut costs and keep your budget in check.
Explore Mom-to-Mom Sales
Kids grow in and out of clothes in the blink of an eye, and can become bored with toys just as quickly. So why spend an arm and a leg on clothes and toys that only get used for a brief moment in time? Mom-to-Mom sales are an amazing source for gently used clothing and other items, and come at a fraction of the cost of buying brand-new from a retailer. Plus, you get the added benefit of supporting other parents in your local community! Find upcoming sales near you by searching online for Mom-to-Mom sales in your area or by joining a local Mom’s group on Facebook. Mom’s groups can also connect you to other parents nearby who may be interested in clothing or toy swaps.
Shop Resale Stores
Another great spot to buy gently used children’s clothing, outerwear, and shoes is your local resale shop. Once Upon A Child is a resale company that has locations in multiple cities, including Southfield, Canton, Brighton, Troy, and Ann Arbor. All items sold in the store go through a careful inspection process to ensure only high quality items in ready-to-wear condition are being put on the shelves, and are much less expensive than similar items sold by retailers. In addition to buying clothes at Once Upon A Child, you can also sell items your kids are no longer wearing to earn some extra cash!
Find Free or Low-Cost Activities
Keeping kids entertained can be exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s easy to regularly shell out money on activities like movies or bowling – especially during the winter months. But with just a little research, you can find plenty of lower or no-cost options in your community. Many local libraries have indoor play spaces and offer story times. Some cities have community centers that offer amenities like indoor swimming pools or basketball courts. There are low-cost activity centers, like Detroit Kid City, that can provide kids with hours of entertainment. In the warmer months, city parks not only have play structures, but some also offer other activities like train rides, plays, or live music. Local fairs, festivals, and metro parks are also great options for budget-friendly family fun!
Eat In & Meal Prep
Making more conscious food choices can save you money. Dining out every day clearly adds up, so by simply eating in more often, you can start saving. Once you get into the habit of eating at home and bringing lunch to work, there are additional steps you can take to generate even more savings.
- Download apps for the grocery stores you regularly shop, in order to easily access weekly ads and specials on everyday grocery items.
- Sign up for the rewards program at your favorite grocery store to earn points and additional discounts.
- Stock up on your family’s favorite items when they’re on sale and freeze or store them for future use.
- Meal prepping is another great way to save money. Make large batches of easy-to-prep meals, cook them on Sunday, separate them out into Tupperware containers, and you’ll have breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready for you and your family for the whole week. While meal prepping takes time on the weekend, it ultimately saves valuable time during the busy work week.
- Consider memberships to wholesalers like Sam’s Club or Costco. Depending on the size of your family and the amount of storage space you have, buying in bulk can help you save on frequently used items.
The Bottom Line
Daily expenses for your family can add up quickly and easily become overwhelming. By taking the time to evaluate your monthly expenses, you can determine which areas you’re able to impact. Sometimes all it takes is a little research and some creative thinking to find new ways to save. We know that financial goals are not one-size-fits-all. That's why we're here to help you navigate all of life’s moments. If you find yourself in need of financial assistance, we have a loan for every dream and every need. Learn more here.