Being a single parent means having to rely on a single income to feed, clothe and take care of the whole family. In the times we live in today where prices and commodities seem to skyrocket faster than you can turn on the TV for the nightly news, every peso is worth saving. However, here’s the brighter side of being a single parent in a world that really needs to spread the money around a little more, you have full control on the family’s budgeting and planning. Here are a few tips on how to cut on the spending and focus more on the saving.
1. Plan your meals This is to avoid buying food at the grocery store only to find out that you have no use for it or that the kids have grown tired of it. This will also help you know how much fresh food you need to get and will avoid any spoils. Plan your meals ahead and come to the grocery better prepared; which also bring us to the next item on this list.
2. Don’t bring the kids grocery shopping Kids in the grocery store is a credit card’s nightmare. You start out with an empty cart and before you know it, it’s filled to the brim with several packs of chicken nuggets, a myriad of chips bags and five different boxes of cereal (whoever thought of putting toys in cereal boxes is a marketing genius and is also the enemy of every parent who decided to bring their kids grocery shopping with them). If you don’t want that mini-heart attack at the cash register because your bill is a few thousand Pesos out of your budget, then don’t bring the kids.
3. Teach your kids how to save on utilities like water and electricity Take a moment to explain to your kids how leaving the lights on or the faucets running wastes money your family would have otherwise used for other purposes – purposes like bulking up the family savings or even splurging on the occasional treat like a lunch out. Teach them that they should turn the tap off when they’re brushing their teeth; that they should turn out the lights when leaving the room or that they shouldn’t forget to set the timer on the air conditioner before they go to bed. Most importantly, set a good example yourself.
4. Pay your bills on time Late fees can pile up overtime and can turn into hefty amounts when added up. It’s also a big hassle to find out that your telephone line, including your internet, has been cut off because of late payments. Create a system, set up reminders or pin your bills on the fridge to make sure you don’t forget to pay your monthly dues. With the all encompassing bayad centers set up on almost every kanto, paying bills becomes much more convenient as well so there’s even less reason to be late.
5. Don’t get tricked into buying things your family doesn’t need This is especially true for sales. Everyone loves a good sale. Whenever a big sale comes up here in the Philippines, you can expect the malls to be jam-packed with people. Sometimes, however, you end up spending more than saving. Sales fuel impulsive buying; just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need it. Before heading to the cashier, inspect every item in your shopping basket and think what exactly you’ll be using each item for, when you’ll be using it and if you have enough storage space to keep it.