Money Saving Tips For Families

We’re always asked for money savings tips. I think we should all be aware of the most common ones by now – turn off the lights, short showers, brown bag your lunch, etc. etc. Serious savers are doing these already.

Here are a few other tips you can consider.

1. Stop wasting food

Food prices are on the rise again, so why are we so wasteful with what we do buy? If you look in your freezer will you find three packs of chicken or ground beef completely freezer burnt? How about those aluminum foil-wrapped packages you prepared when you decided to do some bulk cooking?

Related: 35 ways to save money

It’s easy to forget what’s in your freezer when everything falls to the bottom or gets pushed into the back. The solution is to keep a freezer logbook. The log shows you what food you have on hand and when you purchased (or froze) it, reminding you what to eat before it goes bad.

This can save you a ton of money on meat alone.

2. Plan for the future

When there are major sales at the mall it’s hard to resist splurging. Buy for next year’s season. Styles for adults won’t change that much from year-to-year. Buy sandals, shorts and tank tops for next summer and a new swimsuit for your winter vacation. Can you tell the difference between last year’s athletic shoes and this year’s new arrivals?

It’s can be a little tricky buying clothing and footwear ahead for kids, though. You never know when they will have a major growth spurt.

Related: A calendar of saving money

However, the same thinking applies to any seasonal items that you may need the following year – school supplies, holiday décor, entertaining supplies, to name a few.

3. Organize a community swap

Many newly built communities are full of young families with small children.

Arrange with another parent to share a babysitter if you’re desperate for a night out, or better yet swap babysitting duties.

Consider trading toys, games, and DVDs a few times a year. Try a clothing or sports equipment swap. You can share large tools or gardening equipment with your neighbours and friends.

4. Home improvement

Learn how to do minor home repairs and remodeling jobs yourself. There are tons of online demos and instructional videos for home improvement projects. If you like a more hands on approach, home improvement stores like Home Depot always have classes on such things as fixing a leaky faucet, painting, and laying ceramic tile.

Related: Organic food gardening

Instead of spending a bundle at the garden centre each year on a few trays of annuals, plant perennials. As they grow they need to be divided, so you can swap plants with friends and neighbours. Some community centres set up plant exchanges.

5. Review your benefits at work

Check out low cost, or free, benefits from your employer over and above your insurance and medical plans. Many offer tuition for educational courses and gym memberships to name a couple.

Many employers have partnerships with companies that will provide their employees with good discounts on goods and services – car rentals, tickets to family entertainment, travel, computers and cars. The offerings are usually available online, or in a booklet you received when you started the job. Most employees don’t bother to even look.

Related: Time to review your employer sponsored benefits

I’m guilty of this myself. I could have received a $500 discount on my new iMac if I would have checked.

Final thoughts on money saving tips

Most people aren’t willing to make huge sacrifices (like skipping vacations) to save a few dollars. However, with a bit of effort and some small changes in your routine you can reap some worthwhile benefits.

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  1. Bhav on September 8, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    For #1 – I use those glass storage containers + permanent marker. I personally like pyrex snapware because they are stackable. I also use a permanent marker and write directly on the plastic what it is that I am storing and the date that I put it in the freezer. Permanent marker comes off easily with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. I have tried freezer tape (too much work), dry erase marker (flakes off at the slightest touch) and clear tape (don’t even try) and a logbook (I stopped updating after a month). I have used the permanent marker method for 2+ years with the same containers with no ill effects now and it works great for me.

    • boomer on September 9, 2015 at 9:52 am

      @Bhav: You may not use a log, but organizing your containers is the same idea isn’t it? The point is you’re not wasting your food.

      I read that Canadian households waste up to 40% of the food they buy. That’s throwing a lot of money away.

  2. Emily @ on September 9, 2015 at 7:45 am

    One of my favorite family money-saving tips is to use your town’s free resources for entertainment. The library, parks system, free concerts and events all are great for keeping our entertainment budget in check. You’re already paying for these things with your tax dollars, you might as well enjoy them.

    • boomer on September 9, 2015 at 9:56 am

      @Emily: Depending on where you live there a lots of free activities to enjoy. The public library is fantastic not only for borrowing books, mags, CDs, movies, etc. but they also have loads of programs for every age.

      I live in a new area now and one thing we do is visit all the parks and rate them according to their features.

  3. Cool Koshur on September 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Food wastage is epidemic in North America. Benefits at work easily add 30% to our basic pay package. If you dont use them, you loose them. I am surprised most people leave the employee matching on table when it comes RRSP contribution. Over Coverage of medical benefits when both spouses have full benefits from their employers.

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