Having kids is expensive! Did you know that the average kid costs over $200k between birth and age 17? Let’s be real, that is just the average, and it can be much higher. Having four kids, we are always looking for ways to save our family money. I know that we may have cars to buy and college to pay for in our future. So, unless we hit the lottery, we have to start saving now!
There are a lot of different ways that I manage our family finances and save money, but there are five that I want to share in this post. These five things are everyday things that save us money here and there. Those savings really start to add up over time. If you can find a way to save $2 a day, until your child is 17, you will save over $13k. That is the car that you may end up buying!
Often times, saving money is much easier than you think. Many people think, “oh it’s just a dollar” but those dollars add up! These five little savings techniques are realistic, simple, and can help you save with little effort.
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Use Reward Programs and Apps
Using reward programs is something that is so simple but can save a ton. Usually, it is as easy as downloading an app or scanning a card. We have an app or rewards account for almost every place we shop. Food, groceries, clothing, etc.
Did you know that just placing your fast-food order on the app, before you arrive, can save you money? Not to mention it takes off the stress of panic ordering for a large family in the drive thru line. For example, we placed a family order for a fast-food place, in the app, the other day. We had enough points for a free kid’s meal, or they offered me a 30% off coupon. We saved about $12 on that meal, just by ordering in the app!
Tip: Look online or in the app for a coupon before you check out at places. Most places will have an online coupon or special offer in their app to get you in the store. We even do this with oil changes! Who doesn’t want $20 off an oil change?
Shop in Bulk
I know that there are many reasons people say they do not shop in bulk but, hear me out. Shopping in bulk is not only for large families and it can save you a ton of money. Even if you invest in a deep freezer, you still save money in the long run. Their prices really are better, and I have shown that in all of my grocery comparisons.
Check out my recent post on how you can save on your family’s grocery bill. This post has a FREE printable comparison chart. By doing that comparison, I realized that we could save our family $150 per month by shopping at a Costco in bulk. They have organic offerings, trending products, and they are stocked well. We drive 25 minutes to get there but it is worth it!
Weekly Menu Planning
I used to be one of those people that just winged dinner time. After years of doing that, I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of stress and money. I started using this great menu board and planning out our weekly meals. This helps create a grocery list, alleviate the what’s for dinner question, and ultimately saves you money.
When you plan out your weekly menu, you know exactly what you need from the grocery store. You don’t have to buy all the other random things that you “may” need or order out for dinner because you don’t have anything to cook. It cuts down on food waste in your home too.
So, create your food list and stick to the list. I even shop online so that I don’t see all the other things I “may” need. I can’t even calculate the amount of money we save by doing this. We actually eat at home now and only eat out once a week. Eating out is EXPENSIVE!
Buy Gently Used Stuff
Everything does not have to be new! Consignment sales, thrift stores, and yard sales are all great places to find deals on gently used stuff. I don’t know about your kids, but mine never know whether something is new or used. They really don’t care either.
We sell our old items at kid’s consignment sales and then shop at them for “new to us” stuff. Kids grow so fast, and they move through different phases in life quickly. If we bought new clothes and toys every time a kid grew, we would be broke.
So, try shopping at a consignment store or a yard sale. Yard sales are fun too. Kids love finding treasures! Most of all, you will be shocked at how much you save. I am talking about hundreds of dollars. A new Nike sweatshirt is $40 but you can find one at a consignment store for $15.
Take Simple Vacations
Vacations create some of the best family memories. But ask yourself, do your kids really care where every vacation is or how much it costs? Can they tell the difference between simply going to the beach four hours away versus going to a tropical island in the Caribbean? Maybe they can but, most kids don’t care. I know that YOU know the difference and maybe you prefer the tropical island.
My point is that most times, vacation with kids is really just having family time at a location outside your home. Kids usually are just happy to be on vacation and have a different daily experience. So don’t overcomplicate it and rack up a huge bill every time. You can save a ton by simplifying vacations. Go somewhere within driving distance to save on flights or try camping at the beach instead of renting a house.
I am definitely not saying don’t take a nice vacation or splurge every now and then. There are times that call for wonderful lavish vacations and we have saved up for a few of those. However, all of our other trips are pretty simple. We actually bought a camper so that we could just visit a variety of campgrounds and have simple fun vacations. Those camping trips cost us about 30% of what a normal hotel stay vacation would.
We have saved thousands of dollars by driving instead of flying, renting a place with a kitchen instead of eating out, and going on vacation in off season. Vacation doesn’t have to break the bank.
Hopefully, these five money saving tips have given you an idea for your family. I know they have helped our family save money and better manage our finances over the years. I wish I had kept a running tally.
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many