From looking for deals to learning how to pinch pennies, pretty much everyone is trying to save a little money! If making a budget and sticking to it is not your strong suit, don’t worry. Changing your money habits has its challenges, but with little effort, you can cut down on unnecessary purchases and start building up a sizeable savings account.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the absolute best (not to mention relatively easy) money saving tips for families. Don’t forget one of the easiest ones – shopping through Splender to earn cash back on every purchase. You can find everything from fashion and beauty products to office supplies and electronics – even travel, we offer hundreds of vendors to cover your family’s every need. And check Splender often for member-exclusive offers, deals and coupon codes.
1. Entertain at Home
One of the easiest ways to save money is also one of the simplest. Stay home. By staying home, you have more time, spend less money and accumulate less clutter. It can be tempting to head out to the movie theater or bowling alley just to get out of the house when the kids are driving you crazy, but these little trips could be spelling disaster for your budget.
Instead of blowing a chunk of your budget on outings, find ways to keep the kids entertained at home. Don’t discard family time all together; instead, pull out that stash of board games, take a run through the sprinkler or have a movie night at home (complete with popcorn and other snacks) to keep the kids occupied for pennies.
If you absolutely MUST venture out, wander to the library for some books that are sure to get everyone’s imaginations going – most libraries have free story time for kids of all ages and some even have free classes for both kids and adults. Check out your area museums and parks, too. You can learn more about local history and possibly get a little exercise in the mix.
2. Go on a “Staycation”
Instead of taking an expensive trip to Disneyland, see what fun things you can do nearby,
or even take a day trip to a different town not too far from home. Chances are, there are still a lot of tourist attractions you haven’t seen right there in your hometown. And a lot of those things are probably free: historic sites, hiking trails, museums or cheap daytime admission to the movie theater. Any of these things can be a nice break from your regular routine.
There’s no shame in relaxing close to home, plus there’s no hassle or time taken away from your vacation just to get to your destination. If you can take a few days off of school or work, a “staycation” can feel like a real vacation, even if you’re sleeping in your own bed.
Speaking of, think about all of that money you’ll save on hotel accommodations that you can put toward activities. Maybe there are some local eateries your family has wanted to try, but you’ve never gotten around to it. Or perhaps there are new attractions in your area or an event you want to check out. Stay in the know – and get great deals – by signing up for Groupon (with 5% cash back) and Living Social (with 4% cash back for Splender members).
When times are tight, it’s fine to nix the yearly vacation trip for something new. Vacations are about spending time and making memories together—do you really have to go out-of-state (or out of the country) for that?
3. Buy Household Items in Bulk
Buying items in bulk can be a great way to save money. If you can reduce the cost-per-unit of a purchase, you can open the door to reducing your household spending over the long haul. Non-perishable items like toilet paper, shampoo, laundry detergent, trash bags, cleaning supplies, dry rice, pasta, etc. are all smart bulk purchases.
Having said that, it is best not to buy any items in bulk that you have never tried before. You may find the product doesn’t meet your needs, even if you expect that it will. So, it’s best to go for products that you know and love – and that you know you’re getting a bargain on! Don’t be afraid to whip out that calculator and figure out the cost-per-unit, either. Sometimes, larger packages don’t save you any money and are actually more per unit. Read those labels carefully!
While bulk buying really can save you a lot of money, you shouldn’t just charge in. Plan things a little in advance and you’ll be very glad that you did. Comparison shop with vendors online – Target (where Splender members can earn 1% cash back), Walmart (with 2% cash back), drugstore.com (with 6% cash back), Overstock.com (with 4% cash back) and even Staples (with 4% cash back) are great places to start shopping.
4. Utilize Coupons and Special Deals
Another money saving tip for families is to use coupons and special deals as often as possible. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it takes a little homework. If you can match an item on sale with a coupon, you can really increase your savings—and sometimes even get free products!
One insider tip is to stack your coupons. Stacking is using two or more coupons together to save even more. This is allowed when you have both store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. Add in Splender cash back and a special offer, and you’re really optimizing your spend to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck!
5. Plan Your Meals
One of the greatest spending mistakes even the most frugal families make is an impromptu trip to a fast food restaurant in lieu of a home-cooked meal. You end up splurging on both calories and money instead of cooking a healthy meal for under $2 a serving to feed your family. This is an automatic budget buster.
By taking the time to plan out and make your family’s meals at home, you remove the excuse of not knowing what’s for dinner. Plan a month or week ahead of time, so you know which ingredients you’ll need and how to prepare the meal without worrying about it the night before – or worse, the afternoon before. There are several free online resources that can help you plan your meals, such as Food on the Table or Plan to Eat.com. Using a meal plan helps you spend less because you’ll go to the store less often, and you‘ll be able to make your meals go farther.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a drag or require drastic steps. Instead, small, simple methods can make all the difference in your family’s bottom line. It might take some getting used to, but getting your family on board with your money saving efforts makes it easier to have a little wiggle room in your budget or add more padding to your savings account. The reduced stress is worth the extra effort, we promise!
Plus, shopping through Splender is another great way to save. Find great deals and receive cash back rewards with every purchase. Become a Splender member today!