Two years ago, my husband and I started what I call a “lifestyle makeover.” We were living very busy lives and our home was cluttered with items that no longer served a purpose or brought us joy. Through this chaos, we learned that we were wasting money on things instead of saving for our family and our future.
After letting go of loads of physical stuff in our homes, something interesting happened. We found time to focus more on our finances! Focusing on our finances is one area that we’ve never truly worked on in our 12 years of marriage. We’ve always considered ourselves to be frugal, but our attitude of “we can buy this because we can afford it” was not helping our financial future. Instead of spending money foolishly, we wanted to start budgeting and start pouring money into rainy day fund, retirement accounts, and our children’s college accounts.
During this process of letting go of things and working towards improving our financial health, I’ve learned how to save money for our family. The tips below are the best ways we can save hundreds of dollars each month. Instead of going out and finding more work, we’ve put the following tips into practice and now follow the mentality of, “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save!”
5 Ways to Save Money For Your Family
1. Cut back on eating out at restaurants.
I have a challenge for you! Go through one month of expenses and write down all of your expenses from eating out at fast food/restaurants. My husband and I did this experiment and our jaws dropped. Swiping our cards on a regular basis on fast food and restaurants became a bad habit that we needed to let go of. We were spending money on convenience foods and challenged ourselves to eat out less. We now give ourselves a small budget for eating out and this saves us hundreds each month.
2. Take advantage of technology.
The technology we have these days to save money at grocery and retail stores is pretty amazing. Printing and clipping coupons is becoming a thing of the past. Although we still do print coupons at times, I’ve found that there are easier ways to save at my favorite stores. I’m a big fan of using my smartphone apps to find savings when I’m out shopping. One of my favorite ways to save money is with Ibotta and Checkout 51.
3. Shop from your pantry/kitchen.
If you could place all of the food and ingredients from your pantry and kitchen onto a conveyor belt at the checkout line, can you estimate what the total cost would be? I’m guessing it would total up to a few hundred dollars (or less). Recently, I challenged my family to eat as much as we could from our own pantry and kitchen before heading out to the grocery store for more food. With a little bit of creativity and meal planning, we were able to come up with five big meals to make by pairing up foods and ingredients we already had! We were able to stretch our grocery budget this way and now it’s almost like a game trying to find what we can make and use up before going out and buying more.
4. Go on a “no spend” challenge for a month.
This is tough, but it can be done. If you have a habit of buying just to buy or tend to purchase on impulse, it can be hard to maintain control of your spending during a no spend challenge. However, this is one of the easiest and best ways to save a few hundred dollars during the month. We started a no spend challenge last year and it was easier than I thought it would be. The challenge is to only buy the items you absolutely need during the month, to include groceries, gas, toilet paper, etc. Everything else is a NO! The best part about the no spend challenge is seeing how much money is left at the end of the month for savings. The no spend challenge was successful last month so my husband and I decided to challenge ourselves again this month! Here are free activities to take advantage of during a no spend challenge.
5. Start a budget.
This can also be difficult to start if you aren’t used to watching where every dollar is going. A budget is necessary if you want to save money for your family. We started a budget last July, but it took us a while to get it right. We spent the first month or two tracking our spending. Once we saw where money was going, we divided everything up into categories, gave ourselves a spending limit for each category and started living by this budget. By doing this, we have maintained control again of our finances and end up with more money at the end of the month to put away for the important things – our emergency fund, retirement accounts, and the kid’s college accounts.
These tips above can help you save money for your family if you put them into practice.
How do you save money for your family?