Simple Budget Tips – Save More Money

Having your family on the same page in regards to spending and savings is a great way to get ahead.  Finding ways to learn new budget tips to assist this process can be difficult.

Please see Family Budgets on the needed steps to setup your own personalized family budget.

Below is the first installment of various tips which can help reduce your variable expenses in any given month to give your overall bottom line a much needed BOOST!

Restaurants, Groceries & Meals

Food, I don’t think there is anything more cost prohibitive in a family budget. Our kids are only nine and seven but with two dogs added in, it is clear to see where the bulk of our spending will be for the next ten plus years.

Here are a couple quick tips for reducing your food bill this month:

Vegetarian Meals

If you review your receipt from the grocery store, I think you will be amazed at the percentage that goes towards your protein.

Roughly four years ago, my wife and I challenged each other for going a month as vegetarian. Not to save the animals but as part of a health kick.

The healthy side effects from eating vegetarian are huge as it reduces risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

After one successful month, we increased the challenge to a year. This had both pluses and minuses. They included feeling much better after meals as compared to those around us that ate meat but in certain restaurants the only vegetarian options included french fries or onion rings, not exactly the model of health. But the major difference was seen in our wallet.

In lieu of paying the insanely high prices for beef and chicken, we were paying less for much more healthy options of vegetables and beans.

Vegetarian
Non Meat Once a Week Pays Dividends

So a challenge that will benefit your budget is to select one day a week to eat meat free. It doesn’t need to be a gourmet vegetarian meal but simply soup and salad would suffice.

For great ideas in regards to meals that are healthy and budget conscience, please see below:

Limit the Restaurants

After a couple months of reviewing our budget, we started to notice how busy sport nights turn into easy stops at Subway or the like.

Fifteen years ago when it was only my wife and I and prices were much less, dropping a couple dollars here and there on busy nights was no big deal. Now with a full family, even the fast food bill totals almost $40!

Our new house rule is one restaurant meal a week, maximum. If Tuesday is going to be busy with soccer and baseball, we can pose it to the kids that if they want to stop for an ‘easy’ meal, that will be it for the week.

It is working great as our kids fully understand and respect the decision and you can see them starting to value the food as well.

Discount Days

The era of coupon cutting may be grinding to a halt but having the ability to shop on a busy night may pay off.

Most large grocery chains offer a discount day once a month. Try to line up major purchases to this time. Even if you don’t do your weekly shopping on the first Tuesday of the month, simply note any large purchases that don’t typically go on sale.

Or in the spirit of family, bring your parent or grandparent shopping on a senior’s night and simply combine your purchases to save a little and have some time together walking around the store.

Track Sales

You do not need to be Rain Man and know when and how all sales will be coming up but take note that if the frozen chicken breasts you family purchases sometimes go on sale for 50% off, try your best to wait for the next sale before restocking your freezer.

Nothing is as frustrating as to buying something expensive which cannot be returned and then it goes on sale the next week.

Use Credit Wisely

My New Year’s resolution a few years back was simple but profitable. I made the conscious decision to put away my debit card and to make all purchases with my cash back credit card.

Seems simple but it went against my typical thinking that using credit was bad. But that could not have been further from the truth. As long as you spend within your limits and can afford to pay off your credit debt, you can reap the rewards offered to you.

There are many websites devoted to summarizing and comparing the various cash back credit cards to make it a simple decision on which is best for you.

Savings
Keep the Bank Full

Limit the Gas

All you need to do is Google ‘gas costs’ and hit News. Each day will be numerous press releases regarding the upcoming doom and gloom of how high fuel may eventually cost per litre.

For that, attempt to put down your keys and fill up the tires on your bike. You do not need to become a bicycle commuter to work but instead, set your sights to a manageable level.

Leave a few minutes early for your kids home soccer game and have some family exercise at the same time.

Any and all accessories required to make cycling a fun event can be found here: cycling.

Following these steps will lighten the load on your variable expenses each month and help ensure that you always end the month with a few extra dollars in your wallet!

Update: Please see More Simple Budget Tips and Even More Simple Budget Tips.

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Mike Page

Michael Page studied electrical engineering and is currently a project manager for a major utility. These skills also help him manage his family life. He has a wife and two kids that he keeps on track. He is a master at planning everything such as vacations, budgets, schedules, menus and home projects.

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