As fathers, we all want to provide the best life possible for our families. However, after all the necessities we have to cover; food, utilities, taxes and so on, it leaves very little wiggling room to provide the people who matter most with some of the finer things in life. Many people think that in order to save the money they want to, they need to completely overhaul their lifestyle, and make changes that will turn their comfortable household on its head. However, this isn’t the only way to free up a little more capital to spend on some of life’s luxuries. Here’s a list of just some of the simple habits you can adopt to provide more for your family.
Plan Meals in Advance
One of the biggest leaks in the average family’s budget is impromptu calls to their favorite pizza place and trips to the drive-thru, in lieu of a home-cooked meal. Rather than serving up a healthier meal at $2 a serving (or even less!) a lot of people wind up splurging on expensive and calorie-heavy foods, leading to a glaring hole in the household budget. If you take the time to plan out your family meals for the week, you’ll immediately rub out the excuse of not knowing what’s for dinner. Of course, you can plan in any timeframe that suits you, but most people will find it easier to plan a week at a time. When you already know you’re going to be serving chicken on Wednesdays, for example, you can shop for it in advance, and avoid chewing your lip as you stare into the refrigerator, or even worse calling the family’s favorite takeout.
Grocery and clothes shopping represents a fairly big chunk of every household budget, and you need to take a proactive approach to these things if you want to ensure you save as much money as possible. When it comes to groceries, make sure that you go in with a shopping list, and get everything you need for the week ahead in a single trip. If you’re constantly nipping back to the store for things that you forgot, you’ll find yourself impulse-buying and overspending week after week, not to mention wasting a lot of gas. If it’s at all possible, leave the kids at home. You’ll probably know from experience that it’s much harder to stay focused and buy smart when your kids are constantly clamoring for candy and other treats. When it comes to buying clothes for the whole family, one of the best ways to do this is keeping close tabs on the sales at your local stores, and timing your shopping trips to take advantage of these. It’s also a good idea to discover hardcore couponing. There are countless websites now where you can access coupons from Elder-Beerman and other big department store brands. In any kind of shopping, the most important thing to remember is to avoid impulse buying and spontaneous, trivial purchases.
Have a Greener House
You’ve heard it a million times, but once more won’t hurt: when you save energy, you save money. Obviously, you may not have the means to install your own tankless water heater or low-flow toilet. However, there are several more old-fashioned ways that you can use to conserve energy and free up more money. Turning off your lights and electronics, timing your showers, and adjusting the heating more can all do a lot to lower your usual utility bills, all the while teaching your kids an important lesson about conserving energy. As you can imagine, you might have to nag from time to time to get your kids to follow the new, frugal habits you’ve come up with. However, after a little while, energy saving can quickly become habitual for everyone in the house. One of the increasingly popular ways that people are saving on their utilities is through smart thermostats. If you weren’t already aware, these can be programmed so that your heating comes on and off at a certain time, ensuring that you’re never paying for heat that you don’t actually need. You can buy smart thermostats and learn more about using them efficiently at Vivint.
Entertain at Home More Often
If you’ve got a day off and the kids are driving you crazy, it can be tempting to go for a quick outing to the bowling alley or movies just so that they can burn some of that energy! While this is a quick way to solve your problem, making a habit of it can quickly represent a major drain on your budget. Obviously, you don’t want to rub out family time altogether. Instead, come up with a few ways to keep your kids entertained from the company of your home. Some lawn games or crafty little projects, along with family game and movie nights, are great ways to keep your kids entertained and happy for pennies, or nothing at all if you’ve got enough of the apparatus already. On days where you need to get out of the house, head down to your nearest woods for a family bike ride or walk. You’ll not only be able to save more money, but when you do pay for those big experiences, they’ll be so much more memorable than the days out you usually have!
Buying second-hand items is something that takes some getting used to, especially if you’re already used to getting everything brand new. However, there’s all kinds of things that can be purchased used without any difference to the quality you get out of them. If you’re an avid reader, for example, you can frequent second-hand stores and make buying books much cheaper. Outdoor bikes and scooters in decent working order are much more affordable from garage sales and thrift stores. Games and DVDs carry the risk of being scratched, but a lot of stores these days have pretty high standards in what they’ll accept on their shelves. Shop around, and you’ll be amazed at the things you can buy used without sacrificing your family’s enjoyment.