Everyday Tips for Frugal Family Living

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It can be hard for families with young children to save money and cut costs, especially when it feels like there is always something you need to pull your wallet open for – activities, social events, school fundraisers, and clothing that is constantly being outgrown. But you really can cut costs and save more by making small, every day changes. Whether you are swamped in bills, saving for a family trip, or just looking to cut your expenses in general, some of these tips may help you keep more money in your pocket.

Prepare double batches of food for multiple meals using seasonal produce and sale items. Freeze ground turkey found on sale and use later to make a huge batch of turkey chili with in-season sweet potatoes and canned kidney beans. Throw extra portions in the freezer for last-minute meals.

Ditch disposables. Diapers, paper towels, napkins, throw-away containers, paper plates, and other disposables are best replaced with reusable stuff – linen napkins, cloth diapers and glass containers all work great and last a long time. Most often, they can even be reused for something else when they are past their prime for their original purpose.

DIY cleaning products can save you a lot of money. Everyday items such as homemade dishwasher tabs can be found on Pinterest along with household hacks to help you save on supplies and repair services. Little things like keeping your dishwasher filters clean and sanitizing garburators and sink drains regularly to avoid clogs can minimize visits from the repair company.

Spend less on personal care products. Search Google or Pinterest for recipes and mix together your own bath and beauty supplies using very basic and natural ingredients. They can also do double-duty as gifts for friends and family.

Plan your purchases by season as discounts on many items are offered at the same time each year. Buy new skates and skis in the spring when shops are blowing out last year’s inventory, pick-up Halloween costumes right after the holiday, and purchase a new barbecue during a mid-summer sale.

Say no to kids’ requests. Before you head out the grocery store with your children in tow, be clear about your purpose and let them know what you will and won’t be buying that day. You may also consider letting them choose one item per visit, so non-essential items don’t get out of control! Learn why it’s good to say “no” to your child.

Find fun and free events in your community. Instead of paying to go to the movies or indoor play centre, take your kids skating outdoors, to a craft workshop at the library, or a free concert at your local cultural centre. Pack your own snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate instead of giving your money to the local coffee shop.

Don’t stop here. Look at your everyday spending habits to see where you can nip-and-tuck to save more. You will be surprised at some of the things you do, that you don’t even think twice about. Some things are as easy as making your own coffee at home, or getting books from the library instead of the book store. Who knows? Maybe you can take that spring trip after all!

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