Creating a family budget is one thing, but sticking to it and making sure you don't end up spending more than you should every month is a completely different thing. It is a daunting task, indeed, but as with any mom duty, careful planning is key. Think of how you spend your money and plan where you can cut back. Start with these small steps:[ads:1]
Take advantage of free trials and promos
Don't get tied down to a monthly subscription, whether it's for cable or on-demand music and video streaming services. Sign up for free trials to see if the service is suited for you and your family. Trying out services first will allow you to see where you can get the most value. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully so you don't get billed for any charges. For mobile plan subscriptions, ask your service provider for a family package which gives you free calls to pre-registered numbers.
Groceries take up a huge chunk of your budget, so next time, do it smarter. Before heading to the store, check what you have in your refrigerator and pantry and make sure you include them in planning your menu for the week. Save your shopping list on your phone to be sure you have it on you—and stick to the list. When you know what you have at home, food is less likely to go to waste. Plus, if you've got the entire week's dinner planned out, you won't be tempted to eat out as much.[ads:5]
Remember NOT to go grocery shopping when you're hungry. You're more likely to take more than what you actually need if you do your grocery on an empty stomach.
Get rid of unnecessary expenses
And by that, we don't mean just the impromptu purchase of a nice bag you find on sale. If you still head to the payment center to pay for your bills, scrap it from your itinerary. Use a bank app to make online payments and save yourself the time and effort of having to line up. You also save on parking and gas, and it keeps you away from the temptation of making unplanned purchases.
Get better mileage
Keeping your family car in good condition means you don't need to spend for sudden repairs. Make sure that car tires are properly inflated, and take note of how your car can use fuel efficiently: minimize idling and remove unnecessary weight from your car. Remember to bring your car in for regular maintenance and check-up, as scheduled.[ads:10]
Avoid wasting resources
This goes for food and everything else your family consumes at home. Watch expiry dates on food items, and keep leftovers in sealed bags or containers for future consumption. Get creative with dinner leftovers and whip up omelets and fried rice for breakfast. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, and make sure lights are turned off in unused rooms.
Looking for simpler ways to manage your family's budget? Learn from the experts! Discover more money strategies at the Smart Parenting Money Strategies for Smartmoms event on October 22! Click here for more details!