Are you a big family on a small budget? Do you fear that you won’t be able to make ends meet this month? Fortunately, the most expensive items never translate into bliss and happiness. Indeed, frugality can be your ticket to a simple and fulfilling life.
Draw up a saving plan and focus your attention on free and cheap activities that bring fun to your family. Having a few useful money-saving tips up your sleeve will help you raise a large family on the cheap. Consider our practical hacks below and start using them to make every dollar earned count.
Table of Contents
- 1 Stick To A Budget
- 2 Dine In
- 3 Shop In Bulk
- 4 Shop Online
- 5 Shop At Thrift Shops Or Second-Hand Stores
- 6 Meal Prep In Advance
- 7 Find Free Or Low-Cost Activities
- 8 Be A One-Car Family
- 9 Live In A Smaller House
- 10 Visit Your Local Library
- 11 Get Rid Of Cable
- 12 Sign Up For Free Online Courses
- 13 Grow Your Fruit And Vegetables
- 14 Be Energy Efficient
- 15 Switch To Reusable Items
- 16 Bottom Line
- 17 FAQ
Stick To A Budget
Parents with kids are responsible for their families’ well-being and, therefore, must have a robust budget to stick to. To keep your budget realistic and viable, split it into three segments: needs, wants, and savings. Once you get your salary, set money aside to settle bills and mortgages, procure food supplies, and other essential items.
Of the remaining income, decide how much you can spend on wants for the month. The best strategy is to save at least 10% of your monthly payment. This percentage can vary depending on the circumstances, but the more you save, the easier you can overcome emergencies and financial crises.
Never spend more than you earn to remain on the positive side of the balance. Prudent budgeting will further help you curb impulse buying and excessive spending on unnecessary items. You can also find these 15 money-making strategies for couples useful and applicable for larger families.
Whenever possible, dine in or at least limit your dining-out experiences to once or twice a month. This way, you’ll spare yourself the pressure of going to restaurants with little kids, which tends to be everything but enjoyable.
Having a meal out will cost you over the moon even at less expensive restaurants. Imagine the savings if you circumvent the habit of visiting your local dining place every second day!
Keep a list in your kitchen cabinet with healthy yet cheap meals, and you’ll see how savings increase each month. Even better, organize special family gatherings like a pizza night or a Taco Thursday. Indeed, family traditions will be more memorable and significant for your children than fancy restaurants.
Shop In Bulk
Buying goods in bulk when there is a special promotion or discount is a smart way to significant savings. Before anything, focus your attention on cheaper when procured in bulk products with a long shelf life. Bulk shopping doesn’t necessarily have to involve unhealthy food and fatty snacks. We highly recommend buying healthy food such as dried fruit, canned vegetables and fish, nuts, dry beans, and lentils.
However, always calculate the cost per unit so that the bulk price does not sway you. Wholesale discount stores are also not always the best option as consumers believe. Often, they have the same prices as regular retailers, so check whether what you’re buying in large quantities is a good deal.
Avoid buying perishables like fruit and vegetables more than you can consume in a few days. The likelihood that you’ll buy more than you need and then throw the rotten products away is high. Last, consider buying considerable qualities of nutritious foods that remain usable for long periods in stores like Costco.
If you’re an impulse buyer and find it hard to stick to your shopping list, switch to online shopping. This way, the chances that you stay organized and avoid impulse cart overfilling is much more realistic. Plus, with online buying, you save time and gas on every trip to the supermarket.
Online stores offer customers relevant coupons and codes to apply to your shopping cart. Hence, subscribing to your preferred store’s service is key to saving money. We also suggest you shop during the week to snag some more discounts. Use apps like Honey that find coupon codes on your behalf and then automatically apply the available coupons to your shopping cart.
An insider’s tip is to keep a watchful eye on hidden costs like shipping, taxes, etc. Moreover, compare the prices both online and in-store to ensure you’re not overpaying for ordering from the comfort of your home. Though online shopping has its temptations, too, it’s generally a smart way for large families to stay within budget.
Shop At Thrift Shops Or Second-Hand Stores
Large families enjoy the benefit of passing clothes and toys down to younger children without investing in new items. Though this might not be feasible for underwear and t-shirts, expensive items like snow boots and winter coats can get used second-hand. Moreover, take better care of baby gear and toys to last longer and get used by as many kids as possible.
Moving on, if you want to keep your children well clothed, consider visiting stores that sell gently used clothes. Indeed, you might get surprised at the variety of high-quality items in thrift shops. There is a reason why most kids’ clothes are well preserved, and that is because toddlers outgrow apparel very quickly.
When hand-me-downs don’t work for your kids, check whether there are places where people donate items in a usable condition. The concept of free use and swaps can operate to ideal lengths with friends and family, too. By swapping clothes and toys with your closest family, you can take your savings portion to a much higher level.
Meal Prep In Advance
The golden rule to avoid splashing out on impromptu dinners out is to plan your meals. This way, your family won’t be starving, and you won’t get forced to eat hefty fast-food meals. The best approach is to have a meal plan for the entire week. You can draw up a meal schedule on your own depending on the dishes you prefer, or go with an online app.
Before you prepare your menu, set off on a shopping trip for items on sale. Use coupons and special promo codes to get additional discounts on the products you’re buying. After you stock up on the essential supplies, make a weekly meal plan. If you have time, you can prepare some food in advance and then freeze it for busy days.
There’s no need to worry even when it comes to home-organized parties. By putting these cheap party food ideas into practice, you’ll keep both the money in your wallet and the guests happy. Last, keep your kids’ birthdays low-cost but memorable by organizing inexpensive activities. Consider a thematic party at the beach or the nearest park and make it a one-of-a-lifetime experience.
Find Free Or Low-Cost Activities
Escape the traps of expensive vacations and entertainment for large families. Neither travel nor entertainment must be extravagant to be unforgettable and fun. There are endless free alternatives for big families on a budget. Indeed, you might enjoy a local history site or hiking trail much more than a hefty Disneyland trip. Also, check these cheap entertainment options for your family.
What kids enjoy and appreciate the most is spending valuable time with their parents. So, what can you value more than a nice camping trip or a day in the park? Swap the trip to the amusement park with a bike ride along the river. Also, follow favorite museums and zoos on social media and make use of no-admission days.
Your best shot is to plan well in advance and snag some early booking deals when it comes to vacations. If possible, avoid the crowds and travel in the off-peak season to save money both on accommodation and admissions. When traveling, focus on eco-friendly, local means of transport, or budget airlines if you’re flying. Also, prepare both plane meals and for your daily excursions and beach trips.
Be A One-Car Family
It’s understandable why a family with three kids or more would rather rely on two vehicles than one. Particularly if you want to get on time for all those school and after school activities, plus birthday parties. Multiple daily trips make it seem impossible for a large family to get transported by a single vehicle.
However, if you think about the expenses that a car incurs yearly, you’ll be appalled at the sight. Apart from gas, a vehicle needs insurance, regular maintenance, and registration. So, imagine the savings if you eliminate one car from your comfortable life on four wheels. The Earth will be thankful if you decide to become a one-car family, too.
To give up on a vehicle usually means that some family members will have to switch to less expensive means of transport. Consider taking public transportation to work or, even better, cycling when your company is within a range of ten kilometers. You can also arrange a carpool for you or your kids’ extracurricular activities.
Live In A Smaller House
There is nothing more heart-warming than leading a happy, simple life. A large family doesn’t mean you have to live in a gigantic house with a huge yard. What you need is to be organized and flexible in terms of space, items, and time.
In case you’re thinking about alerting things drastically, downsize to a smaller house or even an RV. Alternatively, consider renting out a room within your home for extra income. Selling or giving away unnecessary items can earn you some additional cash, too.
A smaller home means lower bills and maintenance expenses. Your annual taxes and mortgage will become more bearable as well. Last, teach your kids to value togetherness over lavishness. This way, not only will you trim your spending and economize, but children will also learn the real values in life.
Visit Your Local Library
One of the perfect ways to entertain a large-sized family with kids is to head to the local library. Such an outing will allow you to bring home free books, magazines, and audiobooks to enjoy throughout the entire week. Libraries are your best friend when it comes to tacking overdrafts and excessive fees on costly activities.
Instead of subscribing to Netflix, the whole family can enjoy free films from the nearest library. Apart from saving tons of money on entertainment, you’ll have your hands full of assets to avoid your kids being bored.
Today, libraries organize a myriad of free events, fairs, and festivals for children. The same goes for your nearest city recreation center. They also offer super-interesting digital content and courses for kids and teens. Nevertheless, bear in mind that a couple of free extracurricular activities weekly for your kids is enough. You don’t want to burden the whole family and strip yourself from quality family time at home.
You can prepare cheap party food for family celebrations and enjoy unforgettable moments without breaking the bank.
Get Rid Of Cable
Have you ever considered cutting the cord and seeking cheaper options than cable TV? It’s illogical to spend over $100 a month when you can enjoy the same shows and programs with numerous cable replacements. Start by watching shows on FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC for free online. Check this article for other alternatives to cable TV that’ll save you tons of money in the long run.
Moving on, if you’re serious in your intentions to get rid of cable for good, go with Netflix. There, you’ll find endless movies and shows while your kids enjoy cartoons for an introductory fee of only $8.99 a month. Check out other local cables such as Showtime, Starz, Disney+, and HBO Now. Sports fans can relish unlimited excitement at ESPN+ for only $5 a month.
Finally, if you can give up the convenience cable TV brings to your family, shop around for better deals. Once you gather several relevant offers for the services you need, contact your current provider. Attempt to negotiate a lower price or a premium package for the same subscription fee. You know what to do if negotiations fail, right?
Sign Up For Free Online Courses
The net is full of free and cheap courses to keep your brain active. Regardless of whether you’re keen on wellness, astronomy, or art and design, there are free learning resources for everyone. Moreover, the entire family can have extreme fun by learning languages for free via Duolingo.
Start by signing up for Khan Academy, an online learning platform for kids and adults. Its vast range of topics urges students to keep learning and exploring new things. Then, try the Smithsonian’s Fun Stuff for Kids Online that offers DIY projects, readings, videos, and games.
Indeed, why would you pay over the moon for a handful of classes for a new skill, language, or topic? Nowadays, you can polish your skills online and for free at a time when suits your family the most. Apart from learning courses, you can also enjoy free brain games like puzzles, chess, strategy, and memory games.
Grow Your Fruit And Vegetables
Planting a garden is another frugal living tip for large families if you have a yard and some free time. Indeed, growing your orchard or a vegetable garden is a real money saver. With a little caretaking, planting, and watering, a family can yield outstanding proceeds that are both healthy and economical. We suggest you start by planting easy to maintain vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.
Apart from spending valuable cash, buying and consuming produce from large grocery stores is bad for the environment. Also, store-bought food is nowhere near as tasty or nutritious as locally grown fruits and veggies. In reality, nothing could be more local or economical than fresh produce grown in your backyard.
Once you get experienced with fresh produce, learn how to can, and freeze food. Also, set money aside on herbs by growing them year-round indoors, if possible. Last, use the goodies you cultivate in your lovely garden to make delicious home-made meals for the whole family.
Be Energy Efficient
Before you wash your clothes, wait until the laundry gets full or, at least, almost fully loaded. The same goes for your dishwasher, as half-empty washing cycles waste energy, time, and money. When using machines responsibly, you economize both the amount of water and energy you’re spending, plus you protect the environment.
Moreover, get accustomed to run your laundry at lower temperatures to save energy and reduce the electricity bill. Washing clothes at 30 degrees also protects the environment. We highly recommend you invest money in Energy Star Appliances as they cut the cost of utility bills. They can be a bit pricey, but energy-efficient appliances are more durable and of higher quality.
When it comes to electricity, think about installing LED bulbs as they are incredibly efficient. Today, LED lamps are more glamorous and produce a superb level of light. The same goes for your yard, and this means you need to procure solar path lights. Solar energy is for free, so you’ll have your yard well-lighted at night for no cost at all.
Last, don’t underestimate the power of programmable thermostats. Such powerful devices let you control your AC or heating before you come home or when you’re out. Besides, if you believed electronic equipment consumes no power when in the off position or overnight, you were utterly wrong. The smartest hack is to put all devices on one power strip and switch it off by one unplug when going to bed.
Alternative entertainment like picnics in the park or renting movies can also generate significant savings in the long run.
Switch To Reusable Items
Disposable items and goods are cheap and convenient, but do they pay off in the long run? Your large family surely uses a ton of paper and plastic products monthly, so there’s no point in prolonging this money-wasting tirade. The ideal solution is to switch to reusable goods and start saving big!
For example, if you’ve been using paper towels in your kitchen, it’s high time to turn to washable cloths. Invest some money in cloth napkins, which apart from being more durable, save you in the long term. Consider giving up wet wipes, too, but if you can’t, at least stick to recyclable paper, which is beneficial for the environment.
Moving on, the use of plastic bottles forces you to spend excessive amounts of money and produce waste. Thus, it’s high time to ditch this habit as bottled water is ridiculously expensive and non-essential. Most tap water is still drinkable, so it’s smarter to buy a water filter or distiller to ensure it’s clean and safe.
Find a BPA-free reusable bottle for each family member and use it always when you’re out. Finally, when you’re strolling between store aisles, always ask yourself if there’s a reusable solution for the items you’re purchasing.
Being a large family doesn’t have to mean you should live on the verge of survival. On the contrary, implementing insignificant changes in your daily routine can drastically reduce spending and enlarge savings. With extra planning, cutting back, and creative simplifying, you’ll soon get used to a more frugal lifestyle. So, remember our tips and start saving right away!
Do you have some secret hacks that help you cut the cost each month and set money aside? If yes, we’re looking forward to reading them in the comment box below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our ProMoneySavings Newsletter to get all our latest tips straight to your inbox.
How can a large family save effectively?
Any large family can benefit from growing their fruit and vegetables. Then, invest some time in procuring the necessary food in bulk, particularly in local shops. Install energy-saving systems in your home, such as programmable thermostats and LED lighting. Reduce household water consumption by taking shorter showers and installing low-flow showerheads and toilets. Last, invest in plastic containers and reusable water bottles for schools and work lunches.
How can a family of 4 save money?
When the family extends, and kids come, spending habits change, and so do our financial priorities. That’s why it’s essential to conceive a saving plan even before the kids arrive. Buying reusable items and second-hand goods is nothing you should be ashamed of and can save you a lot over time. Invest in entertainment in your home to avoid forking out on daily activities outdoors. Finally, plan all your meals for the week and avoid the temptation to pick up takeaway meals.
How can I save a lot of money fast?
There is no single strategy that will save you loads of money on a short note. What you need is a mix of several penny-pinching methods and determination to reach the set targets. Start by restricting your trips to the restaurant and buying coffee on your way to work. Then, examine all your memberships and subscriptions and cancel those that drain your finances. Last, earn money by selling unused items and find a side gig.
What are the three main ways of saving money?
Food and utilities take up the most significant part of your income, so start making minor changes by setting small amounts aside. Leave those lavish and costly birthday parties behind and keep upcoming birthdays simple and meaningful. Then, focus on free or inexpensive fun activities and day trips for the family. Also, plan your family holidays in detail to avoid unexpected costs that’ll tap into your savings. It’s equally important to teach your kids about the importance of frugality and budgeting to have allies in the saving process.