Times are hard, and it’s no surprise to learn many people are spending more than they earn. New research has found one in 10 people spend more than they have in their current account at least seven months each year, and this is one of the reasons that you need Dadsnet’s money saving life hacks for families.
Of course, with prices still rising at a rate of knots, it is becoming more difficult to make efficiencies. But these tips will help you find other ways to save that you might not have considered or that you need a push to try.
Money saving life hacks
We all know that branded goods are more expensive than supermarkets’ own versions. But many of us are hesitant to discard our favourite items for fear that the alternative will be substandard. And maybe once, this was the case, but nowadays, the major chains are creating high quality products for a fraction of the cost of the big brands. More often than not, they are also made in the same factory that the brand uses.
If you genuinely prefer the branded version, then that is one thing. However, often there is a mindset that the brand as a stamp of good quality. But this isn’t always the case. If you look at the food industry awards, you’ll see many own-brand and cheaper products are actually superior. At least give them a go. You might like them and the savings can add up.
Get the kids involved with cutting energy bills
If they’re old enough to understand, talk to your kids about why it’s important to switch off lights when they leave a room. It is one thing continuously reminding them to turn the lights off, but it is more important to explain the reasons for doing so. Be honest about the cost implications (and the environmental impact) and let them know that it is a great way they can help out.
Smart meters also provide a fun way to bring cost-saving to life for kids, as they can see the impact of switching off lights or turning off appliances that aren’t being used. Gamify the process and create competitions around who’s being the most energy-efficient.
Keeping your eyes firmly on a budget is the first step towards stopping overspending. And that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time slaving over spreadsheets. There are some good budgeting apps that can help you balance the books every month.
Keep your budget in mind when you go to the supermarket to protect yourself against clever in-store marketing ploys that culminate in you spending cash on stuff you don’t want or need, just because it is marked as a ‘bargain’. Have a set budget and shopping list, and ringfence how much you want to spend on groceries.
One of the best money saving life hacks here is to do your big shop online. It can help because you can see how the costs are totting up as you put them in your virtual trolley. It also reduces your chances of being tempted by impulse purchases and kids pestering you for extra things you don’t need.
After-school clubs are a necessity for some parents, but the cost can be prohibitive. With after-school childcare costing anywhere between £8-£15.50 per session, five days a week for the 39 weeks of the school year can cost as much as £2,925 per child per year. Thanks a big chunk of most people’s household budgets.
But you can cut that cost completely by getting a group of trusted parent friends together and taking it in turns to have all the children over after school for one night each a week. This frees you up to work the rest, knowing that your children are safe and happy.
Although it’s often tempting to use the car for short trips like the school run, if you don’t have to then you can save yourself some money and reap other benefits too. Walking the kids to school is not only good for your pocket, but for the planet and your health. It also gives you more face-to-face time with your children, so you have more time to know how they’re feeling and what’s going on at school.
With petrol costs as high as they are, this is one of those money saving life hacks that requires a shift in mindset, but which can pay off. Of course, there are many reasons why parents cannot ditch the car from the school run, but if you can it is great for cutting down expenses.
Beware of hobby stacking
Hobby stacking is when kids develop a passion for a particular pastime, and then forget it and move on to another within a few weeks. Before you go out and buy all the kit and gear for something which is essentially a phase, try and borrow it from a friend, or make do with what you have until you’re sure this passion is a long-term investment.
For example, if your child wants to start gymnastics, they don’t need the official group leotard right away. A t-shirt and shorts will suffice until you know they are serious about it. Many of these groups can also provide second hand kit too from other members who have grown out of it.
Cut nappy costs
If you’ve got a baby, nappies can cost a small fortune, but you can save money by buying them in bulk or signing up to a subscription, which are often discounted. One big bulk hit can save you cash over time. But don’t purchase too many, as you could be left with nappies that are the wrong size as your baby grows.
In addition, compare the price of nappies at different retailers. For an even cheaper option, use reusable nappies. Not only are they cheaper (in the long run), but they’re better for the planet too.