With the ups and downs in the economy, the volatility on Wall Street, and uncertainty in the job market, it’s crucial for families to conserve savings and get the most out of their budget. While the costs of raising a family are not going down, there are several tips on how families can avoid overpaying for everything from diapers to tech equipment. With a little bit of common sense, research, and know-how, there’s no reason to pay full price for anything.
It goes without saying to always look for the sale when it comes to groceries and other necessary items. Stock up on your favorite dry good items when they’re on sale. Buy the amount your family will use for a month or two, and then again when the store rotates that item on sale. Obviously, this won’t work for perishable foods, but there are other strategies to use for preventing food waste. Again, focus on sale items, and try to menu plan around them. Rutabagas on sale? Get the kids to help find a recipe they’d like to try with foods with which they may not be as familiar. Menu planning will also help to avoid buying too much asparagus or cod fillets, wasting money. Keep impulse spending to a minimum. Remember to make a list before you go to the store and stick to it! Stores know how to market expensive items enticing shoppers to spend more than planned. Stick to the list.
As tech needs get more complicated and more expensive, and tech users get younger and younger, technology can be a major financial drain for families. It pays to shop around. Most walk-in stores, anxious for business, will match online prices or offer something comparable. Warranties can also result in significant savings. Are you hard on your laptop or cell? Then a warranty may save the day if you drop it in the bathtub or run over it in the driveway. Another tip for keeping phones protected is to invest in a higher quality case. An initial investment in iPhone cases for the whole family can save you the trouble of repairing or replacing broken ones. Given the price of a new smartphone, this is an investment worth making.
Many stores have customer loyalty and reward programs. Take the time to sign up for these. Most are free and can offer significant savings for loyal customers. They will often email or text coupons that can be shown directly from a cell phone. Your purchases can also add up to store rewards worth real money. Stores sometimes even offer discounts on gift cards, whether their own brand or others they may sell at a kiosk. This is always a good deal if you truly plan on shopping at the locations. Nothing says you must give them away. Buy a $200 gift card at 20% off, and then turn around and use it on your next grocery bill and save $40. Not bad when you’d be shopping there anyway.
Health insurance can be a major drain on the family budget. However, not having it can devastate a family’s finances. There are many options to consider when getting health insurance. It’s worth putting the time and effort into researching different companies and the policies they offer. Some companies don’t offer insurance themselves but will help figure out the right coverage for your family keeping your budget in mind.
Online shopping has opened a world of possibilities for saving money as well. There are multiple apps showing items for sale in a nearby location. Many items are gently used, but there are also countless items that are brand new. Wrong size, wrong color, or an item someone just can’t use can all be sources for saving money.
With so many options, there is no reason to pay more than needed. A little creative shopping can go a long way and put many happy returns in your bank account.