Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Budgeting Tips for Financially Struggling Families

Recently, CNN Money did a report on the rising cost of raising a child. The report stated the cost shot up 40 percent in the last decade. It will run parents an average of over $233,000 per child from birth until they reach 18. 

If you were to sit down and factor in the cost of food, education, clothes, shelter and miscellaneous items, your bank account would suffer from being hit with the exorbitant amount of money it takes to raise a child along with taking care of other family needs.

On top of all of those expenses, there are hidden expenses we fail to budget in too. It is easy to see why your family bank account and wallets are empty by the end of the month. 

It must be incredibly difficult for struggling families in times of economic uncertainty. The good news is there are ways to cut costs, and here are four great ways for your family to do so.

Choose More Economic Energy Choices

Nearly every family knows how difficult it can be to maintain their heating and cooling bills. 

If you use just too much heat during a snowy month, then you’ll be paying for it a lot and that’s why a lot of families keep switching to new energy companies, such as Lumo Energy

They keep comparing prices until they can find the one that best fits them. If this seems like something that you definitely need to do, then choose a few different companies and look around on their websites for their prices and see what they offer. 

Whichever one is the most affordable and satisfactory to you, go with it!

Buying Food on a Tight Budget

There are certain instances where brand foods taste better than generic, but they do not taste that much better to justify the cost—which is why your family should turn to generic brands. 

Also, don’t buy the foods that are already prepared, like vegetables that are already cut up or food that is already cooked for you. Doing so will raise your grocery costs. By preparing and cooking your own food, your family will be able to scrimp and save a lot over time. 

As for snacks, which everyone loves, don’t go for the expensive ones. Buy in bulk and, again, try to go with a generic version of that favorite snack.

Mass Transit and Carpooling

If you are married with children and one of the parents is the caregiver while one the other works, then choosing to use a bus and train will save a ton of money. 

According to APTA, using mass transit saves nearly $10,000 on average, and it can save even more depending on what city you live in. 

Often, it is annoying and beyond inconvenient, but it offers incredible savings, especially in areas where living is generally more expensive.

Saving Money While Having Fun

Most cities, especially bigger ones or metro areas, have a lot historic or fun things to do for free, donations or special attractions with a modest price. 

They are generally known as amenities. Do some research on your city's amenities or the ones in the closest metro area to you. For example, Saint Louis lets locals and visitors attend the history museum, science center, beautiful parks and the zoo free of charge with the exception of parking close by and special, rare attractions. 

On a personal note, I consider reading a leisure activity, and I certainly enjoyed playing outside as kid. Library cards are free, and a good imagination is too. Board games are very cheap, and they are a great and bonding family activity.

Using these four tips might lead you on the trail to other assistance avenues like medical help until you or your spouse can catch a needed break. They are practical, common sense and fun. 

Finally, even if you have money, these are kinds of the things that help you keep it, and some can educate and bring your family closer.

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