Tips to help you stretch the dollar further and budget for a family. Written by Daddy to 2 Little Girls and an Accountant
Banking Tips for your family
- Know what the fees are for your bank account or credit card and plan your banking around this to avoid fees and charges.
- Only use your bank’s ATMs, to avoid withdrawal fees from using other bank’s ATM.
- Get cash out at supermarkets when shopping as there are generally no fees attached to this.
- Shop branded credit cards may be easier to get or have good bonuses; but these often have higher interest rates than standard bank credit cards – know what you are signing up for.
- Consider using a Visa debit card rather than a Visa credit card, as you are using your own money. This will avoid debt and potential interest costs.
- Pay off your credit bill in full each month to avoid ongoing interest charges.
- If you have spare cash in your day-to-day savings account, consider an on-line savings account which has higher interest rates. You also have flexibility to transfer money back to your day-to-day account when needed
- If you are saving for a large purchase, consider a bonus interest account which comes with higher interest rates if you make regular deposits with no withdrawals. These sorts of accounts are popular for children’s savings.
Shopping on a budget for a family:
Grocery shopping for your family on a budget is a skill that takes practice and research. Take time to research catalogues, find the sales of products you need.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. This will save you from impulse buys.
- Make a meal plan for the week. This will help you to determine the exact ingredients you need, hopefully reducing waste. This will also save valuable time if you are able to make fewer visits to the shops, especially if you have children in tow.
- Buy fruit and vegetables in season. Fresh produce in season is generally cheaper, and you will get the freshest stock for your growing family.
- Go shopping after you have eaten. This is another tip for cutting down on impulse buys.
- Buy items in larger pack sizes. The larger the pack the better value. Also avoid buying individually wrapped portions for children’s snacks (eg cheese, sultanas & yoghurt). While the packaging is convenient and appealing to children, you pay much more for it! If you buy a large block of cheese this can be cut into smaller portions as required.
- Take time to read labels – compare products and save! Supermarket shelf labels contain information about savings and price per kilogram, use this information to get the best value for your money.
Insurance budgeting for family:
There are many insurance companies in the market. Don’t just pay your renewal notice when it is due – take the time to find the insurance policy that is right for you and you could potentially save hundreds of dollars!
- Shop around. Take the time to get 3 quotes and compare premiums.
- Find out what discounts are available. Insurance companies will have discounts for a range of reasons including new customers, combining policies, age, loyalty etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!
- Consider getting a lower premium having a higher excess.
- Pay for what you need. Check the fine print and what it covers and make sure it is appropriate for your needs. Make sure your property is correctly valued and you have adequate cover.
Reduce The Frequency of Your Purchases:
We all love those little luxuries but remember to treat them as luxuries and start purchasing them less often.
- If you or your partner buy takeaway coffee every day or every playdate try to take a bottle of water and only purchase every second time. Don’t forget to use the discount cards most coffee shops offer when you do buy a coffee.
- If you or your partner buy lunch every day, start to pack lunch from home and only buy once a week as a treat.
- Facials, massages etc are a nice luxury however if you have them regularly start to try and reduce the frequency
- When you do the washing don’t use a whole scoop, try 1/2 – 3/4. It’s better for sensitive skin and you won’t need to purchase it so often.
- Magazines are a great treat, however try buying them every fortnight instead of every week. Perhaps even find a friend to swap them with.
- Lotto tickets….that 1 powerball is a long shot. Consider buying lotto tickets less frequently. Takeaway dinner or dinner out as a regular occurrence can add up, start cutting back how often you go. Instead make pizza at home, or make a picnic and take it to the local park.
Can you feel your purse getting heavier with loose change, it all adds up!
Note: This advice is general in nature. Speak to your bank or financial advisor for specific advice to suit your individual needs.
What one change has made the biggest difference to your family budget and savings, comment below?
Daddy to 3 little girls is an Accountant and has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, a Post graduate Diploma of business, and is a Certified Practising Accountant