10 Budgeting Hacks for families
Since becoming a mum, my priorities have changed as well as my finances. I now spend so many hours absorbing youtube videos and blogs all about budgeting. (I also watch A LOT of cleaning videos, but thats a story for another time). These 10 hacks are simple things I have implemented at home and find that I am saving bits here and there which all adds up in the end.
1. Buy reusable items. Not only is this better for the environment but it also ends up saving you dollars. The main things I have changed recently (we have been using reusable water bottles for a long time) is cleaning cloths. I don't like the wet sponges by the sink, so instead I got some good quality cleaning cloths that throw in the wash whenever needed. I have 3 of them so it's easy to have them on rotation. I have also been going through A LOT of paper towel. I still use them for spills etc, but I was mainly using them to clean mirrors (we have a mirrored backsplash in our kitchen), taps, and the fridge. Now I use cloths specific for glass/mirror, stainless steel etc. It does the same job as the paper towel but are easily thrown in the wash and used again.
2. Shower kids instead of bathing them. I understand they need to be a little older to do this. My girls are 3 and a half and 21 months. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to fill a bath in our house, but I can have them showered together in 4 minutes or less! This obviously saves water which in turn saves money!
3. Meal Plan. By planning weekly or fortnightly you can end up saving loads. It's easier to work out what meals can be spread over a couple of nights if you have planned. Planning also means you can see what is in your cupboards and fridge already so you won't be doubling up on items.
4. Grocery shop online! How often do you walk down the aisle of the supermarket and end up purchasing items that were not on your list? Or forgetting things you needed because you didn't have a list? It might seem like your only spending a little every time you go to the supermarket, but adds up very quickly and can easily get out of control. I do a weekly order which arrives on Sunday mornings. Shopping online allows you to see what the total is as you go, so I know how much I am spending, and if I feel it's getting a little pricy, I can take out items that aren't as important. Not to mention that the delivery person will bring the shopping in to your house and put it on the kitchen bench. Winning!!
5. Look through your statements! Every now and then I go through subscriptions your don't need. You can easily log onto apple accounts and they tell you everything you've subscribed to via apps etc, and with a click of a button it can cancelled. I'm sure other brands have similar access, I only have experience with apple. Pay Pal also can show you what you have subscribed to so you can work out what you need to keep and what you need to cancel.
6. Make sure you're not over insured. Last year I did a big overhaul of our insurance. I now pay $150 less a month for our family! I used iSelect, but there are lots of comparison companies out there who can help to get you then best deal.
7. Pocket Book App. There are lots of apps out there that can help you budget. I use the Pocket Book App because it's free and does everything I need. It connected to my online banking and automatically categorises transactions so I can see what areas I need to cut back on. It also automatically predicts bills and due dates, making sure you don't have to pay those late fees.
8. Make your coffee at home! We used to go across the road to the cafe EVERY morning to get a coffee for my husband and a soy chai for myself. (I can't stand coffee). If 1 coffee averages $5 and you get 1 a day, that's $1825 a year! Now times that by 2 if you both like a coffee in the morning! YIKES! Coffee machines can be pricey- but they will save you time and money! I have a little milk frother from kmart- $29, and make my own chai's. Matt prefers instant so that makes my life VERY EASY!! And not to mention, a hell of a lot cheaper.
9. Bills. Know what your paying and why. Last year Matt and I got new iPhones. I talked to the lady at telstra and asked her how much data we had accessible and how much we were actually using. Because I am at stay at home mum, my phone is usually linked to the home wifi. Matt doesn't use his phone much as work and doesn't have time to scroll through instagram. We were using about an eighth of our data usage, so by lowing that amount we were able to save loads on our phone bills.
10. Implement a Spending Freeze. Give yourself a goal of a week, two if your feeling brave, and stop spending. The only things I can pay for are groceries and bills. Nothing else. No coffee's out (soy chai in my case), no trips to kmart, no lunches or drinks out, nothing. It's amazing to see how much money we spend on those little items, and how much they can amount to.
This is it for today. Let me know if you want to head more budgeting hacks and if you have any great ones please let me know. I'm always looking for ways to save money!