Mireille Salloum, spokesperson for Cha-Chingwww.cha-ching.com.au offers some tips on how to be smart with money so you can enjoy time with the family and save at the same time.
Plan to save
Groceries can be a family’s biggest expense each week but it’s also one of the easiest expenses to reduce. All you need to do is spend a little time planning and have some self-control. To avoid impulse buys, always make a list of what you need to buy. We all know there are many lovely sweets and dips and chips to distract your attention. Eat something before you go shopping and your basket will have more products from the list than those on your hungry mind.
Eating out less
With the cost of living on the rise, takeaway food, drinks and coffee can take a large chunk out of our budget. A coffee for $4, sushi bento box for $9 or an ice-cream for $5 every day will lighten your purse. If you don’t have time to prepare lunch at home, go for cheaper take away options or reduce portions and bring something from home (e.g. something you bought a day before in the supermarket for half price such as fruit snacks, crackers and vegetables). Collect points from your café to get a coffee for free and stay aware of discounts for kids and family meals.
Tighten your utility belt
Electricity, gas and water are a large part of your monthly expenses. During the seasons expenses will change but with simple changes you can make big savings. Turn of all your lights, the TV at the power point, put on another jumper or blanket before turning on the heater, close the windows when it’s hot outside before switching on the air con and take shorter showers. Plan a regular walk to the playground on Sunday afternoons as an exchange for watching TV.
Get organised and set your foundations
It’s important to know where your household budget is going. But are you really a person keen on putting every single action down on the paper to make your spending clear for you? If not, use Cha-Ching’s My Money Manager feature, which can track all your spending in one simple and easy to use place. You’ll be aware of all items you spend your money on and see a clear picture of what you’ve spent in fields such as groceries and personal care. The best way to solve a problem is to identify where the problem really is. Are you spending too much on eating out? Can you cut back entertainment?
Keeping the kids happy for less
We know keeping kids happy and entertained can be expensive but it doesn’t need to be. All kids want to spend quality time with us and often it’s the simple things such as going for a ride, throwing a ball or Frisbee, playing a board game or colouring in. Will your kid be happier to watch cartoons or beat you in a game of checkers?
Dealing with school haze
Getting kids ready to head back to school is time consuming and expensive but with a little planning you can save a lot. Make sure you do your research before the “back to school specials” ads hit. Try and buy online. This will save you time and money.
Looking great on a shoestring
Many of us face a time where big spending on fabulous fashion items is no longer an option. Here are 3 simple tips: try using clothing exchanges, factory outlets or Second hand shops.
Getting your pet priorities straight
If you have pets you know how valuable they are to your family but unfortunately some of the habits we’ve fallen into where our pets are concerned are apparently not good for them. A great place to start is with making your own food. Dogs love rice, meat and vegies.
One of the best ways to save money is by not wasting it on unnecessary fees and charges. By remaining organised you will avoid late fees. Even if you can’t make the full payment call the provider (before the payment due date) and set up a payment plan. Many providers allow monthly payments. This will ensure you avoid late fees and you don’t have to worry about large unplanned bills destroying your weekly budget.
Use a coin jar
This is one for the whole family. Encourage everyone in your family to use a coin jar. Put all your coins into a coin jar. When it is full get the family to sit down and count it. Take it to your local bank and use the money for a great family outing.