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5 Basic Money-Saving Tips for Families

By • Mar 27th, 2010 • Category: Budget

With the economy still on the mend, many families are becoming more knowledgeable about the importance of budgeting and saving than ever before. There are literally dozens of ways the average household can cut expenditures and save more money each month. To help you get started on the seemingly overwhelming task of reigning in your family’s spending, here are seven basic money-saving tips to abide by:

Distinguish Between Needs and Wants – For many families, the line between needs and wants has become increasingly blurred. But you’ll be surprised by how much you can save once you learn not to mistake wants for needs. Needs are simply the items your family needs to survive including clothing, food, shelter, and transportation. Wants are the items that would enhance or improve your family life but are not inherent to your survival. So while your family probably needs a car, it probably doesn’t need the luxury SUV to get around. This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have the things you want but purchasing wants when you really don’t have the money is a recipe for fiscal disaster.

Use Credit Cards that Pay – If you are going to use credit cards, switch to cards that pay you back in the form of cash dividends, miles, gas, or other goods you’ll use. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full before a full billing cycle (to avoid paying interest) and never charge something you can’t immediately pay off. If financial control isn’t your strong suit, you may be better of simply making purchases using cash.

Track Monthly Expenditures – Determine just how much it costs to run your household by tracking expenditures for exactly one month. Not only will this help you devise a budget, it can also help you pinpoint areas where your family can save more money.

Budget, Budget, Budget! – Let’s face it… no one really likes budgeting; it can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and for many, a rude awakening to reality. To make it easier and more enriching, make budgeting a family affair by involving your spouse and children. This will make it easier for everyone to stick to the budget and it can be a valuable learning experience for your children.

Read Consumer Product Reviews – When it comes to big purchases (think kitchen appliances or even a new car), everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck.  To help you find the best models and products within your price range, consult consumer product reviews which can yield rich insights into how well a particular product works, how long it lasts and whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

Some more useful reading:

  • Mint Wins TechCrunch40 Top Company Award; Takes $50000 Prize – Mint is a personal finance application that lets users track and monitor their financials in one place without the need of routine maintenance or accounting knowledge. Their application tracks bank, credit union and credit card transactions and alerts users to upcoming bills, low balances or unusual spending. Mint’s patent-pending technology automatically categorizes transactions, so users know with precision where they are spending money, what their bank and credit balances are, and how much interest they have earned.
  • “We never got our wedding photos!” – Dear Money Helps: My husband and I were married in March 2006 in California. It was perfect except for one thing: We still haven’t received our wedding album! We hired a photographer a friend recommended and paid him $2300 up front. …
  • Blog for Bites – Although it may seem a bit out-of-context blogging for meals can actually be a great starting point. For those who are seeking alternatives to high-priced recipes, usually found in mainstream recipe books, a good blog-spot can be worth …
  • Top 5 Professions With Unprofessional Websites (Local Examples … – In this day and age, everybody has a website. You have a website, I have a website… even your mom probably has a website. Whether it’s just a page on Myspace or a professionally-designed web masterpiece, nearly everyone has some sort of …
  • What should a single guy do with a budget surplus? – I am not a financial or investment advisor. The extent of my training is “seat of the pants” or through reading on my own. However, over the past five years, I have probably quadrupled my financial knowledge. …
  • Net Worth Update: March 2010 – I sincerely hope you enjoyed yesterday’s April Fool’s Day prank, and that if you did fall for it, you’re not pissed at me! Yesterday’s post was a heart-wrenching goodbye that was 99.9999% true. That’s the key to a good April Fool’s …
  • Personal Finance Software to Help You Survive Financial Crisis … – Do you know how to avoid getting caught in the financial crisis? This question addresses one of the biggest fears most everyone has today. If.

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  1. Switch from a contract phone to a pay-as-you-go cell phone. Net10 has phones at Target for $30. You pay 10 cents a minute and 5 cents a text and don’t have to worry about paying an arm and a leg for minutes you don’t use. Simple to use and super easy. Definitely recommend Net10 cell phones for the whole family.

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