By Carl & Jo Violetta
Saving money while raising a family can be a tricky business. While we want our family to have the best and not want for anything, most of us don’t have an endless supply of cash to throw around either.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways busy families can save money, including the 7 money saving tips we’ve outlined below.
1. Check Apps & Recurring Subscriptions
Recurring subscriptions can add up if not watched carefully. It’s worthwhile reviewing any recurring payments and subscriptions to see if you can save money.
Set aside 20 minutes each month to go through your bank statements line-by-line, to see if there are any subscriptions you can cancel or unusual activity you need to follow up on.
It can be very easy for older kids who have access to devices to sign
up to recurring subscriptions via in-app offers without knowing what they’re signing up for. A quick check of the bank accounts and your app store account every month can nip these purchases in the bud and save you paying for subscriptions you don’t want.
2. Meal Plan to Buy & Cook in Bulk
Feeding a family can be an expensive exercise. But with planning and forward-thinking it’s possible to reduce your weekly food bills.
By planning meals ahead of time and cooking some meals in bulk, we were able to reduce our weekly food spend by approximately 40%.
Following a meal plan every week makes it easy to know what to cook for each meal ahead of time.
Our best tips for meal planning on a budget are:
- Shop your pantry and fridge first. If you create a meal plan around what you already have available you can save money at the supermarket and make sure no food goes to waste.
- Include breakfast, lunch and snacks in your plan. Taking lunches to school and work instead of buying lunch can save you some serious cash over a year.
- Cooking in bulk or freezing meals not only reduces your costs but saves you time. Plus, you’ll have meals ready to defrost and eat on the days you don’t feel like cooking.
- Find family-friendly slow cooked recipes so you can buy cheaper cuts of meat while still delivering a delicious meal.
- Incorporate a few meat free meals into your meal plan each week to see a further saving to your budget.
3. Plan Early for Christmas
Planning early for Christmas is a great way for families to save money. Create a budget and list of gift ideas, so you can keep an eye out for sale items and start squirrelling gifts away early for Christmas. Half Yearly and Black Friday sales are a great time to Christmas shop.
Early Christmas planning means you can avoid crowds and avoid last-minute impulse buys. Make sure you stick to a plan though to avoid overbuying and overspending.
4. Carpool & Share Resources with Local Families
Imagine only having to navigate school drop-offs and pick-ups once or twice a week instead of every single day. It’s possible by getting together with families from the same school and organising a carpooling schedule.
Not only does carpooling save you time and petrol money, but it also saves wear and tear on your car and it reduces carbon emissions by having fewer cars in use.
Why not take it one step further and organise carpooling for sporting and after school activities as well?
5. Review Your Home Loan & the Interest you Pay
Reviewing your home loan every 6 – 12 months is another great way to save money. And this could actually save hundreds of dollars each month.
Speak to your broker to see what home loan deals and options are available and decide if you want to negotiate with your current lender to get a better deal or refinance into a completely new loan.
Be mindful of any loan features, exit fees or penalties before deciding.
Simply calling and asking your current lender for a better rate or having the option to make extra repayments can really make a difference to your finances. Setting up an offset account can also make a big difference. Any money sitting in an offset account will reduce the amount of interest that’s being charged to your home loan.
6. Negotiate with Your Service Providers
When was the last time you called your service providers and asked for a better deal? This process may take time but it can be well worth the exercise to save you serious money in the long term.
All you need to do is:
- Gather your current information so you know exactly what plan and payments you are currently paying.
- Jump on comparison websites and see what deals and offers are available for the same service.
- Call your current provider and let them know you’re shopping around and have found better deals available and you’re thinking of switching.
If they don’t offer to match or better the deal, consider switching providers. Companies typically prefer to keep your business rather than lose it so will often match competitor deals. In some cases, this simple exercise can save you hundreds of dollars each year and ensures you’re always getting the best deals available for your services.
7. Teach Your Kids Healthy Money Habits
One of the best gifts we can give our kids is the gift of getting into good healthy money habits early.
We’ve made it super easy to teach your kids healthy money habits by compiling an easy-to-read guide about how to teach your kids about money. Simply head over to Violeta Finance and download the FREE guide today.
Jo and Carl Violeta are self-confessed numbers nerds, parents of two, and co-founders of the award-winning business, Violeta Finance. They’re a husband and wife team who are passionate about empowering their community with financial education, love the odd glass of wine, and get a kick out of helping families achieve their homeownership and financial dreams.