In 2014, the United States Census Bureau reported that the median income for families with head of the household between the ages of 25 and 44 was $54,305 to $66,700 (Frankel, 2016). For a single person household, these numbers may not seem that low, but for a family of four, it may be difficult to live on such an income. It is important that families with children understand how to save money while also not sacrificing their children’s needs and the family’s quality of life. Follow these tips to save you more money!
Cut Costs on Food!
If you’re a parent you’ve been there, on your way home your child is demanding fast food, you tell them there’s food in the house but they aren’t taking no for an answer and you cave in. You think to yourself it’s just a dollar cheese burger how could it hurt? Well, the Average American spends $1,200 annually on fast food alone! (Lake, 2015). That money could go to that family vacation you’ve always wanted to go on or a special treat you’ve always dreamed of having. By cutting down on fast food and eating more meals at home you save more money in the long run. Here are some ways to cutback on the cost of eating in your household:
- Plan All Meals: Planning meals for throughout the week is a smart way to save money and prevent food waste. Create a weekly, and/or monthly “meal board” where members of the family can submit ideas of what they would like to eat for the week. Make sure to set a budget and choose meals that are within that budget. Have “pasta nights” and “taco Tuesdays”. By making the meals fun, your family won’t realize the small amount of money you are spending too feed them. Store leftovers in Tupperware containers and distribute them to your family members for lunch throughout the week.
- Reserve one day out of the week for “Fast Food”: Unless your family is traveling or on vacation, fast food should be avoided at all cost. By reserving one day out of the month for fast food or eating out at your favorite restaurant, eating out becomes a treat for your entire family. Growing up with my Aunt and Uncle, we would have Chick-fil-A Fridays, everyone was so excited to eat Chick-fil-a after weeks of eating home-cooked meals. Your family will not only appreciate it but your wallet will too!
- Don’t skip breakfast!: In some households, breakfast has become more and more irrelevant. Cereal sales have been on a rapid decline since 2012 and are still declining. Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day but saves money for your family’s household. Eating in the morning will decrease the chances of you or your family grabbing an “afternoon snack” which in the long run saves you more money. No matter how busy you may get or how late the kids are to school, taking two seconds to have them a grab and apple or a pop-tart can make a load of a difference to how much money is spent on food throughout the day.
Now this may seem a bit vague, but I mean just that. Save everything you possibly can, money, time, clothes, energy you name it! Check your monthly bank statements, find the thing that you spend the most money on that is not included in your necessities to live and cut back on it. You will be surprised to see how much money you’ll save. Does your family enjoy going to the movies every weekend? Opt for a movie night in, grab some store popcorn, dim your living room lights, and turn your home into your own cinema! There are so many ways to save additional costs for the household. Here are a few:
- Don’t throw away old clothes: I know when we were younger we all dreaded getting our older sister or brother’s “hand-me downs” but I’m starting to see that our parents had the right idea. The cost of new clothes can add up immensely over time. If the clothes aren’t severely worn down but your children have grown out of them, save them for their younger siblings.
- Cut back on Utility Usage: Monitoring utility usage throughout your household might sound more difficult than it actually is. Reminding your children to turn of the water while brushing their teeth, keeping all lights and electronics off when their not being used, using electric blankets in the winter to save heat. These are just a few of the things you can start doing to minimize utility bills. Also look into energy saving and “green appliances” that can also save you additional money.
- Plan a Staycation!: That yearly trip is always fun, but the money you managed to save all year long goes out of the window and the saving process has to start all over again. Plan a vacation on a smaller scale, find local campsites in your area, take a trip to the “World’s Largest Mall in America”. Whatever you do, remain in your budget. There are so many cost effective things for children to do, make a list and do as many as possible. Your kids won’t be disappointed and you’ll save additional money in the long run. Here are links to free things to do in Pittsburgh, Ohio, New York and Philadelphia!
Lake, Rebecca. (2015). Fast Food Statistics: 23 Shocking Facts and Habits. CreditDonkey. Retrieved Online: https://www.creditdonkey.com/fast-food-statistics.html.
Frankel, Matthew. (2016). Here’s the Average American Household Income — How Do You Compare? TheMotleyFool. Retrieved Online: