5 Ways to Keep Family Costs Down

One of my biggest worries these days is making sure we don’t overspend unnecessarily. With the cost of living on the rise, it’s so easy to go over budget what with a few coffees here and there, parking, not to mention the cost of when nursery suddenly decide that they’re having a party and they need your child to dress up or supply some food!

This sudden stress also came from the realisation that the price of our weekly shop is on the rise and has been for several months. The other day, whilst doing said weekly shop, I saw several of my favourite ‘staples’ had almost doubled in price – resulting in having to leave a few things on the shelf until next week, otherwise we’d have gone over budget. I don’t know about you, but I’m now finding it incredibly difficult to find a balance between making sure we have enough in the cupboards whilst also trying to enjoy life a little!

How do you do it?

Making Some Savings.

With all this in mind, we now have to try and make savings elsewhere so that we can still enjoy the little things in life AND get some bang from our buck when it comes to food shopping. Here are a few of my own money-savings tips, but I’d love to know how you make savings.

Choose supermarket brands.

With previous experience in brand marketing, Sharon has often told me that one brand of crisp will often be the same crisps as the one with the supermarket label on it – but often with a lower price tag! The same also goes for cheaper cars and electronics, who often have identical inner workings as the more expensive, well-known brand. They’re often always made in the same factory!

Compare, Compare, Compare!

It’s very rare that we accept the first price of anything these days, especially when it comes to energy or mobile phone tariffs. As soon as we need to renew our broadband for the year, for example, Sharon is online looking at broadband deals. She will also often visit comparison sites just to check that she’s getting the best deal. In our most recent saving, we saved over £30 per month just by changing the length of the contract. On other occasions, we’ve gained freebies such as gift cards or data boosts!

Budget and plan ahead.

Before I met Sharon, when I lived with friends, I thought I was pretty organised when it came to money. I never got into debt, I didn’t overspend (which is easy when you live with friends who like going to the pub!) and I was very good at making sure I had got a good deal with the utilities, however for some reason it was rare that I had money left over at the end of the month, and I think it’s because I didn’t budget ahead. I was very much in the now and spent what I had.

Now a days, we have a massive spreadsheet where we put our incoming and outgoing money onto, as well as extra spending, and using Sharon’s magic formula we can see into the future and take a look at what our situation will look like in a month, six months, a year’s time. It’s incredibly useful and it gives us the encouragement not to spend when we don’t need to. It also means I can see what month we’ll be able to buy T some new shoes or replace something around the house (rather than suddenly having to find the cash).

Buy second hand.

I love a bargain, and places like Facebook selling pages are a hive for deals (and sometimes freebies!). More often than not, the seller just wants rid, so they’ll sell their often decent wares at a low price for a quick sale. Over the past 12 months, Facebook has been my go to place for buying T’s nursery clothes as well as bits for the garden.

Declutter and make money!

On the same note, why not sell a few things and declutter yourself. We’ve sold T’s old toys that are good as new, shoes that he’s grown out of too quickly but barely worn, as well as old furniture and gadgets such as games consoles. With the money, we’ve then put it into savings for holiday spending money (which has meant we haven’t had to find the cost ourselves) or some items for the home (again, a cost we haven’t had to find).

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