Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
You donít have to search hard and you donít have to change much to help your family live more frugally. Your efforts will teach your children and show them how to spend wisely. Here are some simple ideas for changes in the home:
Make your own. It is so easy and cost effective to make your own household cleaners and shampoos. Recipes are easy to find online. Baking soda and vinegar can be used as is to effectively clean laundry, remove mildew stains, and mop the floor. While youíre at it, think about making your own bread. Not only will you save money, youíll be able to provide your family with healthier options. You may think bread baking is a difficult task but it gets easier and easier as you continue to do it.
Menu planning. Like bread making, menu planning may seem like an overwhelming task. Once you dive in, however, youíll be pleased with the money savings and the relief from knowing what you are going to serve for dinner all week. Menu planners can take advantage of sales in the stores, working their menus around items that are on sale. Planning ahead also ensures that you will use leftovers rather than throwing them out when you discover them at the back of your fridge.
Family activities There are so many things you can do that will not only be easy on the wallet but will help you create quality moments with your family. Going for a walk or bicycle ride before dinner is a great way to get the family exercising and talking. Board games are great (and inexpensive) family activities, and there are definitely games that appeal to a wide variety of ages. Looking through photographs or watching family movies is always a fun way to spend family time. Children love seeing themselves when they were younger! And, how about family movie night? We spend many Saturday nights at home together, watching movies and eating popcorn.
Always keep your eye open for a sale Start shopping early for birthday and holiday gifts. When you are always on the lookout, you can spend time looking for deals and items on sale. You can also stock up on school supplies based upon sales. When you shop ahead and on sale, you will be able to give good gifts at better prices.
Date nights and girlsí night out. Both of these events can be money savers when you plan ahead and pick an outing that is low cost or no cost. Instead of going out for dinner, try meeting for ice cream or coffee. Instead of going out at all, take a walk, window shop (though that could be dangerous depending on who you are and who youíre with) or volunteer at a soup kitchen together. Invite friends over for a meal rather than meeting at a restaurant. It will cost you less money, and you wonít have to cut back on your socializing.
Other ways to save money
Cut household expenses by drying clothes on drying racks or using an outside clothesline.
Think about shopping at second hand shops or yard sales when you need an item for your house.
Expand your utility consciousness. There is a lot of information on the Internet and on your utility companyís website about how to reduce your costs. With a little effort, you will see the impact on the monthly bills.
Reducing, reusing and recycling are not just good for the environment. Itís good for your bank account as well. Think about what you are using and how you are using it, and make some changes that are more environmentally conscious. This will, in turn, save you money.
Your efforts to become more frugal will benefit your familyís savings, the quality time you spend with your family and friends, and your childrenís spending habits in the future.