Household Budget Tips & Tricks

You have a family.  You need a household budget.  That’s not rare, and not a crazy concept.  The problem is, many of the “best” household budget tips out there require drastic changes to your lifestyle.  You may have to take that family vacation every few years, instead of annually.  Planting and maintaining a garden becomes your source of produce to save at the grocery store.  The truth is, the majority of us just want to find easy, sustainable and plausible ways to save money and stay within a reasonable budget.  There’s no need to overhaul your entire lifestyle or change the way you live.  These household budget tips and tricks will help save your family money, and keep you on track easily.

  • Rewards & Loyalty Programs

You could be passing up some serious savings without even realizing it!  Everything from grocery stores to drugstores and movie theatres to restaurants have rewards and loyalty programs. Quite often, the perks of the programs take a bit of time to be ready for you to use.  However, if minimal effort is required for you to eventually save some money, why pass that up? In fact, if you were to add up all of the savings from every rewards program you use, you’ll find that you’ve saved quite a bit of money at the end of the year.  If you aren’t sure if the businesses you frequent offer a program, ask! Whether you’re using the store’s app to score coupons, or scanning your loyalty card for short term perks, you’re saving money. Little bits add up, and lots of little bits add up even quicker.

  • Download YNAB

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is perfect for the non-traditional household.  Tracking your spending is great, but it won’t stop you from overspending.  YNAB takes care of that problem for you!  Every single dollar from your income is accounted for and given to something specific.  Living expenses, savings, investments, debt payments… every part of your spending, no matter how small, is included.  You’ll keep every single dollar you spend in the forefront of your mind when every dollar is accounted for with YNAB. This is a great option for those that need a little more discipline, when everyday household budget tips don’t cut it.

  •  Budget Review

Every 6 months, sit down with your monthly budget.  Glance over your bills and expenses.  It might help to create a spreadsheet or chart to help you track your spending. You might find that some of the money you pay out each month, could be put into savings! For example, after a few months you might realize that because of Netflix, you just aren’t watching cable TV. That monthly bill is still being charged, regardless of your usage. Seeing this might prompt you to shut off that cable and save that extra money. That gym membership you pay for every month that hasn’t been used in 3 months? Either get your bootie to the gym or cancel that membership.  Giving your household budget a good look-see twice a year will show you what you really use and need, and what you’re wasting money on every month.

  • Purge & Sell

This is one of those household budget tips that anyone can easily accomplish.  Once a year, evaluate your belongings.  Are you using them?  As Marie Kondo would ask, “Do they bring you joy?”  If not, it’s time to purge. That’s not only a refreshing task, but you can make some extra cash! Sites and apps like OfferUp, Craigslist, eBay and LetGo all allow you to upload photos and details, set a price and sell your unwanted items.  If you’re more old school, you may consider a good old fashioned garage sale one weekend.  No matter how you get rid of your items, it should be an annual task. Take the money made from selling your junk, and put it in the bank.  Use that for emergencies, travel plans or splurging on your birthday!

  • Save on Electricity

Texans know that the weather seriously dictates the use of our A/C and heating systems.  And the weather is extreme, unpredictable and all over the place.  Therefore, we also know that saving on electricity however we can is one of the best ways to stay on budget. And that’s where Energy Ogre comes in. Energy Ogre finds the best deals for your personal energy usage, so you aren’t overpaying for electricity.  Just go to the Energy Ogre Savings Calculator to see how much you can be saving.  Most customers save up to 40% on their electricity bills – and that’s significant for a family on a budget! You may also want to check out these tips for saving on your electricity bill, as well!

  • Get Mint

The same company that makes Quickbooks and TurboTax, created Mint. Mint is a universal budgeting app that offers a huge variety of tools.  After you plug in your information, it will automatically start working for you. Mint categorizes transactions from your debit and credit cards and keeps your spending in check with your budget. You’ll get alerts, advice and a great overview of where your money is being spent each month.  If you need a bit of extra help tracking where your cash is going, Mint is a great option and an easy app to use.

  • Pay with Cash

One of the most old school household budget tips is also one of the easiest to follow. Pay with cash.  Yep, it’s time to hit that ATM, buy a box of envelopes and start making stacks of bills on your kitchen table! Paying with cash will give you a non-negotiable budget. If you have $100 to spend at the grocery store, that’s your limit.  You won’t be tempted to overpay or buy in excess.  There’s no wasting money when you pay with cash.  The same method can be used for any shopping experience, eating out, traveling, and family entertainment.  It’s the best way to limit what you spend to what you literally have in your hand.

  • Be Realistic

You won’t clear your debt in a month.  Your savings account won’t accumulate $10,000 in one year.  And you don’t need to eat beans out of a can every night to stay within your budget.  The beauty of household budget tips and tricks that each of them is customized to YOU. Be realistic and let yourself breathe.  You only live once, right?  Give yourself a break, allow for splurges once in a while, and allow the time it takes to get used to a new household budget. You’ll find it’s easier to manage when you have room to move around in a budget.

No matter how big your family is, or how much debt you’ve accrued, there are household budget tips and tricks that can help. Take the time to get used to your new budget and make it a permanent part of your daily life. You’ll save more money, get out of debt faster, and feel better about your family finances when you stick to a great budget plan.

Be sure to stop by and check out the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge, and The Best Apps for Homeowners (Save Time & Money).