Right now is always a good time to take a good hard look at our household finances and implement some budgeting tips that will help to achieve your financial goals.
It’s a combination of frugal behaviors and implementing budgeting tips to get the family finances in a healthy place.
You can use the envelop system, paper budgets, or a spreadsheet, whichever works best for you to keep track of your personal finance. A great way to gain control of your financial situation is to establish a budget and begin to implement some simple budgeting tips in your family life. Get every family member involved.
A good idea for the first step is to take a good look at your complete financial picture. Use these Free Printable Household Budget Worksheets to tally all of your monthly expenses.
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14 Ways to Save on the Grocery Budget
One of the best things you can do for your family budget plan is gain control of the grocery bill. Food shopping can be quite a challenge these days. Use these best budgeting tips when grocery shopping.
- Comparison shop on household staples between the grocery store and your membership stores like Sam’s or Cosco. (Dryer sheets, laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, aluminum foil, and many types of meat per pound are always cheaper at Sam’s. In fact, my brand of dishwasher tabs are half the price per tab at Sam’s of what the grocery store price is.) You can do your comparison shopping online in minutes.
- Use digital coupons for your grocery store. Download the app for your store and keep the coupons loaded at all times. I do this while I’m sitting in a waiting room or have a few minutes to spare.
- Use the Ibotta app for all shopping, not just groceries! Ibotta is a reward for shopping app which almost all stores use. You will find most major chain grocers and retailers are giving you a financial kickback for using Ibotta. Every time you accumulate $20, you can redeem by having it transferred into you bank account.
- Take advantage of the BOGO Sales at your local grocery stores. Some stores will allow you to buy one at half price rather than getting both. Publix is good about that.
- Do Not buy groceries while you are hungry! You will go home with more junk food!
- Shop ALL the grocery stores in your area. Don’t stay loyal to one store, you will miss good sales at the other stores.
- Stop smoking. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is currently $5.51!!! Do the math, how many packs per week are you smoking? Vaping also costs thousands of dollars per year.
- Stop consuming alcohol. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American home spends nearly $600 per year on alcohol.
- Pack your lunch. Stop eating lunch out and start packing your lunch. Premeditated leftovers are always a good lunch.
- Start Meal Planning which is the best way to save on the grocery budget. See my Meal Planning category with weekly and monthly Meal plans to choose from.
- Eat your meals on real dishes rather than spend money on paper plates.
- Use grocery bags for small trash cans rather than buy liners.
- Save, wash and reuse empty plastic containers like sour cream or soft margarine for leftovers rather than buying plastic resealable bags.
- Make a list before going grocery shopping and stick to the list. It is a good idea to jot down items all week on your grocery list.
14 Ways to Save on Utilities
Avoid unexpected expenses with surprise outrageous heating or cooling bills by staying aware of important things like when utility companies charge the highest rates.
- Do not run large appliances between the hours of 3 pm- 8 pm daily. This is when the rates are highest. Yes, utility companies charge higher rates during peak times of the day. If possible try to run the dishwasher, washer, and dryer either before 3 pm or after 8 pm.
- Turn off your central air completely on nice days in Spring and Fall when the air is clean and fresh.
- Close the curtains or blinds when the sun is beaming in the windows in the summer. Keep the heat outside.
- Open the curtains or blinds when the sun is beaming in the windows during the winter. Let the sun help heat the house.
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades for summer.
- Install motion sensor flood lights outside rather than leave outside lights on constantly.
- Update all of your light bulbs with either LED or CFL which are far more energy efficient
- Unplug all unused electrical devices throughout the house when not in use. Each device is constantly pulling electricity and running up your bill. If you are using power strips, this is much easier to accomplish.
- Turn off the television when no one is watching.
- Be sure lights are turned off when no one is in the room.
- Is your Hot Water too hot? Save on the bill by lowering the temperature on your hot water heater.
- Sooner or later you will need to replace major appliances. Be sure to purchase a more Energy Efficient one at that time!
- Line dry laundry! You will not only save big bucks on the power bill but get exercise at the same time. You can hang to dry many items inside your home. See How To Build A Clothesline.
- Adjust the thermostat when no one will be home. No need to heat or cool the house when no one will be there.
14 Money Management on Household Expenses
Some of these budgeting tips may seem extreme or miserly but they work. If you are trying to take control of your money, here are some different things that can make a big difference.
- Do not use dryer sheets on towels. Towels are more absorbent without fabric softeners.
- Tear dryer sheets in half before use so you have twice as many per boxes. Clothes are still static-free and smell fresh.
- Buy liquid soap refills rather than a new liquid soap bottle each time. Hand soap refills are cheaper at the grocery store than anywhere else especially if you are willing to purchase store brands.
- Use the cheapest napkins for mealtime and save paper towels for big jobs.
- Use cloth napkins at weeknight meals. You can easily find cheap cloth napkins at thrift stores and wash them in hot water to disinfect or make your own from fabric scraps.
- Cancel any unused subscriptions. Did you join the gym but never go? Cancel!!
- We recently price shopped our Auto Insurance at renewal time and were able to save HUNDREDS of dollars per year by switching to another reputable company.
- Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees. It’s like giving money away and it hurts!
- Drop all subscriptions. Xbox, Pandora, iTunes, Sirius, magazines, and newspapers.
- Rent rather than Buy. Of course, you can rent cars, tuxedos, and movies but did you know you can actually rent tons of things like camping gear, an RV. Tools, College Textbooks, Bikes, Garden space, goats, chickens, fine jewelry and so much more. Do the research before you plan to buy. You can even get a parking pass for a state park at your local library in some states.
- Never pay full price for anything. If it isn’t on sale, it is not an option.
- Keep the filters changed in your central unit! This will prevent costly repairs.
- DIY simple household repairs. YouTube is an excellent source of How-To advice which could possibly fit your needs.
- Take inventory of the channels you subscribe to if you are streaming TV. Are you paying for subscriptions you are not using?
Be a savvy shopper by using Rakuten for online shopping and get cashback. Almost any store you can imagine is on Ebates. It’s easy. Just be sure to log into your free Ebates account before shopping. Shop and receive your cashback payments either through check or Paypal. When my husband built our back deck, he ordered the supplies online via Rakuten and picked them up in the store. That was a nice cashback check.
Entertainment Money Budgeting Tips
Do not make the mistake of skipping this category on your family budget. We all must have some fun activities occasionally to keep life interesting.
- Stop dining out so often. You can cook a steak dinner at home much less expensive than eating out. See my Frugal Date Night at Home Ideas.
- Use coupons when dining out. Your choices only include restaurants where you have a coupon discount.
- Turn the TV off and have a Game Night at home.
- Skip going to the movies and rent it online. It’s significantly cheaper.
- Negotiate a lower rate on your Cable or Satellite service. Most major companies have Retention representatives whose job is to keep you as their customer when you call to cancel. Be aggressive. My husband does this once per year and it always works.
- Keep family birthdays simple. One of my favorite family times is our little family birthday gatherings. We usually cook a simple meal and have cake and ice cream at home. Nothing big. No one was invited, just immediate family.
- Use Groupon to plan special outings, dining out, and even vacations. (We once did an Epcot family vacation using a Groupon for an Orlando Hotel!!)
More Radical Ways To Save on the Household Budget
Move closer to your job
This may be a bit extreme but take a good hard look at long-term goals:
- How much money it is costing you in transportation expenses including gas, insurance, and auto upkeep.
- Is it costing you extra for childcare to be so far from home?
- Are you spending money on take-out for supper because it’s so late when you get home?
Move into a less expensive home
Maybe when you bought your home, it was affordable but some things have changed and now it’s a struggle. Sell it as fast as you can and move into an affordable home.
Sell The Car
Car payments can really put the family budget in a bind. Having two car payments can be too much of a financial strain. Consider selling the car and buying a more affordable good used vehicle for around town.
- You should be able to find a good used car to use around town for between $4,000-$5,000.
- The good news is that a used car, not financed, doesn’t require Full Coverage insurance. Only financed vehicles have that requirement.
- Insurance will be cheaper because it’s an older model car too.
- If you need a vehicle for a weekend trip, you can rent one for much less than a monthly car payment.
Check with your financial institution to find out if it will benefit your tight budget to consolidate your debt. This is typically a free service from your bank or credit union.
- Are you in a position to take out one low(er) interest loan and consolidate all of your debt into one payment
- The benefits to consolidation include that you pay a lower interest rate AND your resulting one payment per month will likely be less than the total of the multiple payments you were making. That means you will probably have some money left in your budget you did not previously have.
Credit Card Transfers
Credit cards can be a blessing and a curse. Credit card debt can be the hardest to pay off when making those minimum payments. The credit card companies love that but your family finances will suffer.
- Consider the possibility of making a transfer to a Credit Card With No Annual Fee and a Cash Back bonus! If you already are in good standing with your Credit Card chances are excellent you qualify. Savvy smart folks go for the lower interest rate and the cashback bonus!
My husband and I have tried or currently are doing many of these budget-saving tips. We did indeed sell our home and move closer to his job.
Consolidating our debt allowed us to pay off loans much faster including student loans which were consolidated.
We have even purchased an older used car which served us quite well during that time of need. I know these budgeting tips work because I’ve been there. Sometimes it does take baby steps as with the Dave Ramsey Zero budget.
Baby steps like tearing dryer sheets in half. The sum of the whole is the value you are looking for!