Raising a family these days isn’t cheap. In fact, your kids could set you back nearly a quarter of a million dollars (yes, you did read that correctly) by the time they reach adulthood. According to figures released by the US Department of Agriculture, children born in 2013 will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000 to raise to the age of 18. Ouch. There are ways to cut household costs though. If your family is feeling the financial pressure, it’s worth paying attention to the following money saving suggestions.
Improve your home insulation
Energy bills are a major expense for many parents. One top tip if you want to bring your heating costs down is to make sure you have proper insulation in your property. A good place to start is your loft. According to energy efficiency specialists the Snug Network, a quarter of household warmth can escape through the roof. This means it’s important to ensure that this part of your home is well insulated. You might also want to improve the heat retaining properties of your walls, and consider lagging water tanks and pipes to cut your heating and hot water bills further. Even simply blocking any drafts around doors and windows could help to make your home more energy efficient.
Get a better boiler
Did you know that boilers can account for over half of households’ annual spending on energy? This means that, if your current boiler has seen better days and is causing you to run up big bills, you stand to make major savings by replacing it with a new, more efficient design. By getting a condensing model, you should be able to shave a sizeable sum off your yearly energy costs. For the best results, make sure you get accurate heating controls too, including a boiler thermostat, programmer or timer and thermostatic radiator valves.
Be a smart shopper
Being a smart shopper is also a good way to keep your spending in check. When you’re looking for anything from insurance policies to TV packages and phone contracts, make sure you scour the market to uncover the best deals. Depending on what you’re looking for, a few minutes of research could end up saving you hundreds of dollars. Make the most of vouchers, loyalty cards and reward schemes too. Meanwhile, for some things, it can pay off to buy used goods. For example, yard sales and thrift stores are great places to pick up anything from books to kids’ toys.
Plan your meals
Mealtimes are a major expense for most families. To slash your food spending, try to plan your meals in advance and write a list of groceries before you take a trip to the store. This should stop you from making impulse buys and it could cut your food wastage. Another money saving tactic is to resist the temptation to eat out in restaurants. A pizza night with your family in the comfort of your lounge can be just as fun as dinner in a restaurant and it’s a fraction of the price.
Make the most of low-cost leisure activities
As a mom, you’ll want to spend lots of quality time with your kids. Don’t be fooled into thinking this has to mean shelling out for trips to theme parks and other pricey attractions though. Instead, save your money and plan cheap days out to parks and beaches. There’s also plenty to keep your brood busy at home. From sports to board games and movie nights, you should be able to come up with a range of fun and inexpensive activities for your family to enjoy.