When you have a family, saving money is a priority, especially in these tough economic times. Here are 5 very simple money saving tips that should help relieve some of the pressure and should help make your money stretch as far as possible, which should help you save money for the things that your family really want.
1. Use Vouchers
Voucher codes are the best way to save money when buying essential items for the family. Whether something really pricey, like a new family car or something much cheaper, voucher codes (promo codes, coupon codes) are every household’s greatest ally. With 1000s of codes available online to an almost infinite number of shops and outlets (just look at FatWallet), voucher codes are guaranteed to save you and your family money on whatever you’re after.
2. Meal Planning
Rather than just going out and buying whatever tickles you’re fancy, plan your meals beforehand! Make a list of the food you need for the week and stick to it. This should put a stop to any rash trips to the supermarket, especially if you cut out trips when you’re hungry. If you’re lacking creativity in the kitchen, meal planning sites like allrecipes.com can provide you with the inspiration you need with its conclusive recipe guide. Its dinner spinner app takes meal planning to the next level as you can search for dishes by ingredient and by shaking the phone you will be provided by a different dish with similar (or at least one or two matching) ingredients.
3. Plan activities at home
In an ideal world you could take your kids to the zoo every weekend but money doesn’t grow on trees (unfortunately). However, don’t despair, as there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, with many websites dedicated to making sure children never get bored. There can be no excuse for lacking inspiration! Crayola for example offers loads of activity ideas, as well as printable colouring sheets and has the potential to keep your children occupied for hours. MyFamilyClub is also another site that offers a plethora of money saving tips across its online community, including craft and activity ideas. The internet is full of sites that are as educational as they are entertaining, so if you want to bond with your children whilst they learn, why not undertake an experiment from many of the science kid sites, such as on the Lawrence School of Science.
4. Buy Second hand
One of the simplest options available, as while it may be true that most of us like things more when they’re brand spanking new, buying second hand items should not be sniffed at. Not only does it save you and your family for more important things but managing to acquire a real bargain can be a very rewarding experience. Do you really need brand new books? Save yourself some cash and get second hand editions, your kids won’t even notice the difference. Need a new Coffee Table? Why not try and get one off eBay and save the money for something more important.
5. Save energy
By switching off lights and appliances when leaving the house (or even the room), you can potentially save your household oodles of dosh as well as doing your bit towards helping save the planet. I would recommend going one step further and changing all the light bulbs in the house. For Example, Compact fluorescent light bulbs (or CFL’S) are well known for considerable energy savings as well as using about 75% less energy than standard light bulbs. They also last much longer, which will make massive difference to your budget. Think about combining this with energy audit as it will help determine how much energy you are using and can identify ways to cut your energy usage.
Harry Schaffer, A keen blogger and lover of all things digital. Interests include travel, money saving, gadgets and the bizarre. Tweet him @harryschaffer25 or check out his new blog www.lifeexperiences.co.uk.