Young families often feel squeezed by the need to manage monthly bills on the one hand, and longing for an occasional splurge on the other. What do frugal families do to keep from missing out on much while living within their means?
The Frugal Shopper bloggers at U.S. News and World Report offer creative strategies shared with them by dozens of successfully frugal families:
Take advantage of online deals – Shopping online lets you compare prices and read customer reviews without paying for gas or parking. Look for sites with no shipping fees and/or available discount coupons.
Learn to say, “no” to the kids – Avoid tantrums at the check-out lines by discussing with kids before you go to the grocery store what you will and will not be buying. Better yet, leave kids at home with the other parent.
Spend less on the family pet – Buy pet food in bulk, bathe and groom the pet yourself, and arrange for pet care exchange with friends or neighbors before you head out of town,
Spend less on personal care and cleaning products – Try generic brands of shampoo or window cleaner at the supermarket. Shop the dollar store to save on name brand toothpastes and paper goods.
Pay less for the family car – Shop for best loan rates before you begin to look. Buy last year’s model from the dealer or choose a gently-used car instead of a new one.
Romance your partner with cheap dates – Date night can be as much fun at a neighborhood bistro as at a pricey restaurant – as can a moonlight walk. Even a rented movie on your sofa can be romantic if you farm out the kids.
Plan ahead for seasonal purchases –Take advantage of what you know will be seasonal clearances to buy anticipated home goods, sports gear, clothing, and gifts.
Cash in on free local events – Be aware of concerts, story times and other free family fun activities scheduled at local libraries, parks, and community centers.
Search for personal finance tips – If you pick up one good tip from reading articles and/or watching online personal finance videos, it will have been worth the search.