Only ⅓ of families make a budget, but this is a great way of keeping track of your finances. You can even work out how to save money to go towards holidays, days out and family treats. The first thing to do is identify exactly how you are spending your money each month. The biggest portion of every family’s expenses go on rent or a mortgage; these are generally set in stone. However, savings can easily be made on groceries, energy bills and transport. You will be surprised how much you can save.
Looking at Grocery Spending
Your grocery shopping is a good opportunity to make some big savings. The average spend for a family of four is $289 a week. However, by following some thrifty planning guidance given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you could bring this down to $146. It’s an easy concept – instead of buying the more expensive fruits and vegetables, go for the basic range – it really doesn’t matter if the apples are misshapen: the children will still eat them. You can still buy meat, fish and cheese, but you should be making the most of your leftovers and using them for meals at least once a week. Leave the luxury items off your shopping list: you’ll appreciate desserts and alcohol much more as treats, and you don’t need them every time you go to the store. Shopping in this way could save you a massive $572 a month.
Change Your Energy Provider
Your electricity bill is the most expensive utility bill that you have to pay each month. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, this equates to roughly 9% of the monthly budget. In the central states, the average electricity bill is $126.75 a month. However, in Hawaii, this figure rises to $190.36 a month. The rates that energy companies charge aren’t set in stone, and do vary. Changing electricity provider could save you money each month. Do a little research, and visit a utility company near you to get some competitive quotes. Make sure that you keep an eye on the rates of your energy provider too, as depending on your tariff or scheme, the kilowatt hour may go up or down. Research has shown that you can save 27% off your current bill – this is a saving that is definitely worth the effort.
Change Your Family Car
How much do you think it takes to run a car? Research done by AAA found that we spend $146 a month on gas, $99 on repairs and maintenance, and $98 on insurance. If you drive an SUV, these figures are far higher. When you are looking at your family budget, think about your transport needs. Is it really necessary to have that Ford F-Class? If you change the family car to a four door Honda Civic, your monthly running costs could be two thirds less. And at the end of the day, you will still be getting from A to B.
The first step towards saving your family money is going through your spending habits. You can then make some changes in your budget, and you will be well on the way to being able to saving for a holiday.