As a single father of two healthy young children, our food costs alone can go through the roof at times. With summer now here that cost will surely rise as we like millions of other families love to cook out, which is not cheap. Even hot dogs and hamburgers add up when living on a budget in a bad economy. I have learned some tricks to making my our money go a lot further than the vast majority of people that I know. When you include our regular monthly bills such as a house payment, insurance, phone, internet, cable television and trash bills, combined with fuel costs and clothing for two growing kids there is not a whole lot left for anything else. Therefore, knowing how to save a few dollars here and there is essential in having any kind of “quality of life”. Here a few things that I do in order to save a little money at a time.
1. Always check the clearance racks when buying clothes, even the top department stores have them. This way you and your children can still wear name brand clothes, sometimes for up to eighty percent off or more.
2. Skip the fast food restaurants if you are close to home. It’s a lot easier after along hectic day to just hit the fast food drive thru, but even the dollar menu items add up. Think about how many times a month you eat out and add up what you have spent. Now cut that amount in half, that is the amount you could save just by cooking at home a little more and eating out a little less. It adds up.
3. Find cheap or even free activities for you and your family. Things like going to the movies are a lot of fun but, the cost adds up as the ticket prices these days alone are through the roof and rising. Places such as a park with a playground are free. Often times you can find a park with decent nature trails to walk and spend time showing and teaching the younger children about nature first hand. Along with the previous activities mentioned, most parks now offer splash pads for kids to play in on those hot summer days.
Essentially, these steps are all based on the same idea; make yourself be thrifty. Frivolous spending is almost an addiction. Buying items and spending money on the sole basis of convenience is an easy and even lazy way to go broke. Buy sticking to the three basic rules above my children and I are able to do have a pretty stress free life when it comes to our finances. We go without things we really do not need at times and by us doing that we get to go on vacation each year, which we are also very thrifty about when choosing were to go and what to do. We will plan vacations closer to home as to save money on gas needed for travel, so we have more money for the fun stuff. All in all, you really can save big money by skipping the small stuff.