Handy Tips To Help You Manage On A Tight Family Budget

It’s no secret that costs of living are rising, in particular around 21 million of Americans now spend approximately one-third of their income on housing. Food prices have risen by 5 percent the past year and with these rising costs, households across America are feeling the squeeze on their paychecks. For those with kids, they face increasing college tuition costs, childcare costs and the question of entertainment during the school holidays (and the price tag that goes with it).

More families are finding it difficult to manage on reduced disposable incomes and as a result, an increasing number of them are seeking ways to make their dollars go further.  If you are one of the thousands of families affected, there are simple ways you and your family can make the most of your budget.

Start In Your Kitchen

If you want to keep your expenses under control, look no further than your kitchen. Did you know that around 40 percent of food is thrown out by consumers in North America? For the United States Of America, that equates to over $160 billion dollars in food each year. One of the largest expenses for a family is their food bill (both groceries and dining out). Start with shopping smart by planning ahead and taking stock of your pantry before heading to the supermarket. Meal plan before your grocery shop so you are able to use your leftovers in the most efficient way and finally, skip the brands. When shopping, take a second look at generic or supermarket brands. Many of them are made with the same ingredients as branded items and you can end up shaving hundreds of dollars off your family’s food bill.

Another great tip to cut your dining out bill is to embrace meal prep and batch cooking. On days off, spend a few hours cooking ahead for the week and freezing meals. On busy days when you are tempted to order out, frozen ahead meals will be easier on your wallet and healthier for your family.

Get Comfortable With Budgeting

When you are living on a tight budget, getting comfortable with your finances can make all the difference. Take the time to do some research and become familiar with budgeting and more importantly, implement it within your household. According to a U.S Bank study, only 41 percent of Americans use budgets. Budgets are quite handy since they allow you to see where your money is going and expenses that you can cut to save money. Budgeting tricks such as separating your income into dedicated bank accounts or utilizing mobile tracking apps widely available today could help you stay in control of your spending.  If you do need to finance items or find yourself in an unpredicted cash flow shortage, take the time to research the pros and cons of different personal lenders available on the credit market today. Taking the time to not only compare and get the best rates but also to gauge how you can incorporate it into your current household budget will tell you if you can afford the costs that come with financing.

Get Creative With Entertainment

For families with kids and those leading active lives outside of work and school, entertainment costs for holidays and weekends can be right up there with the highest costs incurred by families today. Americans spend approximately 10 percent of their annual income on vacations and most families of four can expect to spend upwards of $4,500 to take a summer vacation with their families. In addition, weekend and special event activities, entertaining and dining out with friends can all quickly add up to a large chunk of your income.

This is a great area to get creative and get the family involved. For entertaining guests and couples’ activities, think of entertaining at home. Americans spend on average $3008 on dining out each year. In comparison, you can head to the supermarket and purchase the ingredients for the same five-star meal at a fraction of the price. In addition, cooking a meal together is a great bonding activity for you and your partner or even your kids. It provides the opportunity to get them involved and also experience different, new foods.
Above all, remember to relish in the memories you create with your family. There is no rule that you need to spend large amounts of money to have a happy and fulfilling family life. Using these tips and some planning ahead, you can ensure your family is well-taken care of, and your bank balance stays out of the red.

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