When your kids are young, saving money can be hard. There are so many expenses: daycare costs, diapers, food, mortgage or rent, and a never-ending mountain of bills. It’s no wonder that 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey from Bankrate.com. However, even tight budgets usually have some wiggle room. Here are five simple ways to cut back on your spending.
Skip the Restaurant
Eating out is unnecessary–and expensive. Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that Americans spend more money in restaurants than on groceries. It may be more convenient to pick up dinner for the family from a drive-through, but it can hurt your budget in the long run. Instead, plan meals ahead of time, and keep easy-to-microwave favorites in the freezer for nights you don’t feel like cooking.
Need Something? Buy It Used–or Get It Free!
Many of the things you need for your family can be purchased used for less money. This includes cars, furniture, toys, books, sports equipment, and clothing. Try shopping at second-hand stores before resorting to buying new items. Also, ask your friends and family if they have items they’re not using. Many people would love to pass on baby equipment and children’s items.
Change Your Cell Phone
How much is your cell phone bill? A survey from Cowen and Company showed that the average American spent $110 per month on their cell phone in 2015. Look for a cheaper plan when your contract expires, or opt for a prepaid phone.
Use Your Library
For free entertainment, look no further than your local library. Nowadays, libraries have more than just books. They also have entertaining and educational programs for children and adults. Many libraries offer online access to music, audio books, and magazines.
Keep Your Home Safe
You might think it’s a good idea to skip home security to save money. But think about what would happen if someone came into your home and took your possessions. Insurance would cover some of your losses, but what about the psychological trauma? Home security isn’t something to skimp on. How much home security can you afford? Plans vary according to services provided. In general, expect to pay an initial set-up fee, with monitoring costs around $30 to $100 per month. For your home and your peace of mind, that’s money well spent.
Cutting out unnecessary spending can help you enjoy life on a shoe-string budget. Try these tips to control your spending and save money for your family.