With stagnated wages failing to keep up with the pace of inflation, raising a family from a financial point-of-view has never been harder. With that said, working families continue to find ways to not only make ends meet but strengthen their own financial situations in the process. It starts with utilizing all available resources, but will ultimately require families to be conservative when it comes to using those resources going forward.
Here are the principal ways in which modern families are maintaining and even improving their finances:
Working with the Government
In many western countries and indeed in many nations around the world, governments provide financial assistance to families in the form of tax breaks and credits. For example, families in the United States are offered the EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a program that provides a tax refund check each year for working parents who meet certain criteria. The amount of the refund may vary depending on the size of the family. It’s best to check before filing. Many libraries offer access to free help with tax returns. For large families with multiple incomes or other situations involving complicated filing, tax management services may be required. They can help applicants determine the probable amount of the final refund.
A Frugal Grocery Budget
Another way to help improve the family budget is by paying close attention to the grocery budget. Careful shopping is key. Homemade foods are far cheaper than items that are ready made. Large families with many children can benefit from shopping bulk. Bulk shopping enables parents to store staples and thus get a better price per pound. It also makes meal planning easier. A parent who takes a Sunday afternoon to plan out the rest of the week’s meals is likely to stick to the confines of their budget and save money.
Parents who buy large quantities of essentials when they go on sale can also store them in a freezer and use as needed. For example, chicken can be turned into many meals including chicken soup and chicken sandwiches. Children can also be taught to help to spot bargains and plan meals. This has the additional benefit of teaching children real-world skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Reducing Energy Use
In addition to grocery bills and government refund checks, parents can also think about plans for reducing energy use at home. Homeowners can opt for items such as weatherstripping around all doors and windows that reduce heat leaks. Insulation upstairs can also reduce heating bills by keeping the house warmer. Many homeowners find it possible to decrease heating bills at night and during the day with the use of a smart thermostat that can be programmed to heat the house only when the family is present and when they wake up in the morning. Homeowners can reduce energy use during the summer by using appliances that are known to use as little energy as possible.
The costs associated with raising a family are higher than they’ve been in a long time. With that said, families are finding ways to make it work. Give these and other ways a try to ensure your family’s finances remain stable and perhaps strengthen in time.