6 Way to Save Money on Family Expenses

by Spero Financial

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We're sure you would agree that your family is a top priority in your life. But as our families grow, there's no denying our budget has to grow as well. From shopping for daily essentials to indulging in the occasional splurge, most of us are always looking for ways to save money while raising our family.

Good news! We have a few simple money-saving tips that can stretch your family's budget and allow you to enjoy the little moments with the ones you love most. They may take some time to get used to, but in no time, these intentional spending tips will become second nature. And, you'll wonder how you ever spent your money any other way.

Let's get started!

1)   Show some supermarket savvy.

According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, the average American household spends more than $1,000 per month on groceries. That’s a lot of money and doesn’t even include out-to-eat dollars. Food is a necessity, so there’s no way to eliminate that part of your budget — but there are definitely ways to reduce it.

Start by creating a weekly meal plan for your family. This will help you know what specific ingredients to buy for each meal and see if there are overlapping ingredients you can use for several recipes. With your meal plan in place, create a grocery list and commit to sticking to it. The more prepared you are when walking into a grocery store, the less likely you are to make impulse purchases.

Pro tip: There are a ton of online resources to make this step a breeze. For example, Passionate Penny Pincher was created by a mom looking for ways to crunch her family’s food budget. She now sells pre-made weekly menu plans (including the shopping list) to help other families do the same thing.

You can also save by shopping the weekly sales, looking for store-brand alternatives, and buying in bulk where your budget allows. With these strategies in place, you’ll be able to maximize your grocery runs, promote healthier eating habits, and save money while you’re at it!

2)   Avoid paying full price.

Have you ever gone into a store and, within 30 minutes, left with two items and having spent over $100? We've all been there. This often leaves us wondering if that was the best use of our money.

The good news is that when it comes to shopping, it’s not all or nothing. Secondhand stores are great places to shop for clothing, household items, and more. And if you’d rather shop online, countless online marketplaces offer deals on lightly used items with a lot of life left in them.

If secondhand is not your vibe, consider looking for a coupon or waiting until the item is on sale. Most stores run annual sales at the same time every year. For your go-to store, keep this top-of-mind and hold your purchase until then. Your wallet will thank you!

Pro tip: Check out this “Best Days to Shop” list by U.S. News to get the best bang for your buck.

3)   Keep track of memberships and subscriptions.

We live in a world where nearly everything requires a membership or subscription. $5 here and $10 there can add up, and next thing you know, you’re spending over $100 a month on subscriptions.

Take some time as a family to list out your subscriptions. Then, decide which ones you can live without. You don’t have to cut everything out all at once. Start by picking one or two subscriptions to cancel and work your way up from there.

4)   Be mindful of utility bills.

Along with food, utility bills are an essential part of your monthly budget. Being mindful of how your family uses water and power can make a big difference. Practice turning off the water when it’s not needed, such as while you’re brushing your teeth or loading the dishwasher. When you leave a room, turn the lights off and unplug any devices. And be aware of your thermostat settings. You might consider using an automatic setting to regulate the temperature.

Practicing these sustainable practices in your home can create a habit of mindfulness that helps you save on utilities. Be open with your children about how water, power, and heat all cost money and how using them excessively can be costly.

Pro Tip: If your utilities vary dramatically by season, ask your utility company whether they offer equal payment plans. While they don’t provide much in the way of savings, these plans can help you plan your budget more consistently and avoid skyrocketing energy bills in the summer or outrageous gas bills in the winter.

5)   Plan ahead for big expenses.

Major expenses are bound to happen, whether they be holidays or long-awaited purchases. You don’t have to avoid them altogether, but a little planning can prepare you to spend a little extra money when the time comes.

Start saving early for birthdays and big holidays, and don’t be afraid to snag deals months in advance. And if you know that you’ll need to make an expensive purchase in the near future, such as new appliances or significant auto repairs, setting aside money every month leading up to the purchase can help lessen the shock on your budget.

6)   Use rewards programs.

Have you gone to a store or restaurant recently and been prompted to enter your phone number or email address when checking out? As annoying as it may seem, these retailers likely offer some type of rewards or loyalty program. So, if there’s a place you shop at often, you might want to consider signing up for rewards. You could get some pretty big discounts or even some free items.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want your email flooded with promotional offers and product announcements, set up a separate email address that you use only for your point-of-sale transactions. This will let you get the best rewards and savings without endless emails in your main inbox.

You should also look for any opportunities to get cashback. At Spero, we have a checking account that lets you earn cashback rewards on everyday debit card purchases. So, you can shop and earn at the same time!

Your family’s journey to financial wellness is unique, so be sure to celebrate the victories along the way. Whether it’s remembering to turn the lights off or finding a coupon for your next grocery run, every little step matters.

At Spero, we’re passionate about setting you up for financial success. Your family is our family, so we’re ready to provide you with the care and attention you deserve.

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