If you are looking for ways to make your family live better, one of the first things that you are probably going to want to look at will be your finances. As long as you get the finances in order, you are going to find it that much easier to keep everything else running smoothly too.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and you will need to find ways to focus on keeping your expenses as as tight-knit as possible which you can actually make a reality easily enough. In this article, we are going to look at some of the major family expenses that you probably have which you might be able to cut, perhaps even more so than you would have thought. Do that, and you will be looking at a brighter future together in no time.
One expense which is going to crop up every week is groceries. You can’t go without feeding your family, so this is something that you need to work out how to get along with as soon as possible. A lot of people find that they actually end up spending a lot of money on their food shopping each week, a lot more than they would have hoped, and because of that this is something that you are going to want to try and reduce in whatever way you can possibly manage. As it happens, keeping your grocery bill down might not actually be as hard as you might suppose, and there are always things you can do to make sure that it happens faster too.
For one thing, you should remember never to simply be loyal to one company. It is always worth shopping around, and doing so regularly, so as to ensure that you are going to definitely find the best deals on your basic basket of shopping. With this method, you won’t have to change what you eat – and besides, you probably have a few staples which you are going to buy no matter the price, so you might as well find them as cheaply as possible. The main point is to remember to continue to look around, just in case it turns out that you don’t actually have the best deal each week at present.
But there is also something to be said for being loyal to a particular supermarket, especially if they offer a good loyalty scheme. If you are thinking of saving money this way – and that can be possible, if you approach it right – then you should apply the same principle of shopping around to that. Look at the different loyalty schemes of the supermarkets near you, and see which is going to be the best. You might even want to add in the cost of fuel to the different stores, if they are far apart away from each other, as that could end up tipping the balance.
Finally, if you plan your family’s meals out, you are going to find yourself spending less on unwanted or unused food. But you need to make sure that you are really planning them all out, not just the one meal a day: but breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you do that, you are going to be in a much better position to save money when you go shopping for groceries.
This one is much harder to calculate for many families, because you probably each go to different locations every day using different modes of transport, and that means that you need to collate all of that data in the first place. If you have someone getting the train to school, another getting a bus to work, and someone else driving to work, then you need to work out firstly whether this is the most efficient means of everyone getting where they need to go – and secondly, whether each of those could be reduced in cost somehow. In almost all cases, there are some reductions that may be made, but you need to first make sure that you are really aware of all the inherent costs in each case.
It might well be most complex with the car, as that as not only upfront but also ongoing costs, and they go far beyond just the fuel itself. The operating cost of your car depends on fuel, yes, but also how well it is looked after and how often it has to go to the garage, whether you need to get any work done on it, oil changes that might need to happen, other maintenance, insurance, tax, and so on. You need to consider all of these when you’re adding up your monthly travel expenses as a family, and it might be easier to take some of the annual costs and divide by twelve to work this out fairly.
Once you are clear on what your car really costs, you can then compare it to the other transport types used by your family, and then you can start to get a sense of where you might be able to save money. Could one person drive the other somewhere? Would it be cheaper to get a second car, or to buy a railcard or buss pass for one or two family members? You need to consider all angles if you are to save money on the transport that you each have to carry out every day.
These are usually a simple case of just making sure that you are on the cheapest tariff, but it’s also important to remember that you can save money here by making a point of not being too wasteful. If your family is wasteful, then that means that you are going to struggle to keep the costs down. You should ensure that everyone in your household does what they can to leave lights turned off when not in use, keep water consumption to a minimum, use heating sparingly, and everything else that you might need to do to save some family money.