Planning a family budget can be a daunting task, especially if you are trying to save money. You might not realize it, but one of the best ways to save money is to cut spending on things that are right in front of you. Take a look around your house to see what items you can trim—even cutting a small percentage of your normal household spending each month can add up. Here are three ways to trim spending and leave more room in your family’s budget:
Maintain your car. Spending a little money to proactively keep your car in good working condition can save lots of money in the long run as you avoid costly repairs. This includes getting regular oil changes and maintenance checks. You should also stop by a tire store or gas station to check your tire air pressure once a month. This is typically a free service, and keeping your tires at their optimal pressure can lead to big savings at the gas pump—every two PSI of air you add to tires can improve gas mileage by 1%.
Be smart with appliances. Most people don’t realize how much money they are unnecessarily spending on their energy bill. There are the obvious things to do to cut costs, like turning off lights and unplugging electronics when you aren’t in the room, but there are other simple actions that can have big rewards. Switch your standard light bulbs to LED lights, which last longer and are up to four times more energy efficient. You can also invest in a smart or programmable thermostat that can regulate your home’s temperature better and change the conditions based on who is home, the weather, and other factors.
Tone down entertainment. It might be tempting to have a great cable plan or to go to a new restaurant every week, but entertainment costs can quickly add up and take a big hole from your budget with little show for it. Instead, try cutting your cable service and turning to online streaming services, which tend to be much cheaper. You can use coupons, frequent diner, or daily deals for discounts at local restaurants and entertainment centers. And of course, it can pay to get creative and have fun at home without paying to be entertained somewhere else.
There are lots of places to save in your family budget. Start with these areas and expand to categories that are most helpful to your family. Happy saving!