Finances can be tough anytime but can be especially hard when you have a large family. Here are some tips that I have learned over the years through trial and error. Some of these things are sneaky and will derail your financial goals and dreams.
- Moving. Sometimes moving is definitely necessary. Sometimes moving can be avoided and if this is the case, not moving can save you a bundle of money. We have moved our fair share (maybe more than our fair share, haha) and I have definitely seen how much it negatively affects our finances. The extra cost for moving supplies, gas, moving trucks, deposits or loan costs, time off work to move, and sometimes new things necessary for the new home, the list can be long and costly! If the move isn’t necessary, it’s best to wait if you are trying to improve any area of your finances (building up savings, or paying off debt.)
- Amazon. Amazon is something that has become as common as eating. Need this? Amazon. Need that? Amazon. It adds up so quickly, and before you know it, your budget is way out the window from $20 purchases made throughout the days and weeks. It seems so unharmful when it’s one thing at a time until you add it up! The same with Amazon Subscriptions. Notice how you NEVER can find a total number of the money you’re spending on Subscriptions?! You will also only be charged in small amounts at a time on your bank account so you never see THE BIG NUMBER of what you spent. Well, my friend, that is done intentionally so that you aren’t aware of just how much you’re spending. It seems like such a great deal, but if you examine how much you spend on Amazon, you might be shocked and feel like you need to own some stock for being such a valuable customer! I will purge my subscription lists regularly and I will also go on Amazon diets. Amazon is great to have around for hard to find items, but I have discovered that it’s actually more expensive for most items than can be found in other places…for most things (especially food-related items!). Not everything, but in general. You pay for convenience.
- New Clothes For Every Child. This is something that has been really hard for me. I didn’t have nice new clothes growing up, and out of guilt, I have felt like my kids need to have new clothes. I have never wanted them to feel like their siblings got new things but they never did. This is something that I have tried to work on mentally for many years. I don’t have any hard-set rules, but the way that I handle it in general is, I save all the clothes from the oldest children that are not damaged or stained. I select a few that have sentimental value and I put them in a special box to keep for the future. I put the rest of the undamaged clothes in a labeled bin to hand down. The clothes become “new” to the child who receives them. I also do buy new things for younger children as needed or for special occasions. If anyone asks me for ideas for gifts, new clothes are a great idea (needed, fun to receive for my kids, and no clutter). I used to spend way too much on clothes for all my kids because I didn’t want to feel guilty for not buying for them all. But, it’s necessary for them (and our family budget) to know that we don’t need to buy things that aren’t necessary. We buy and get things when we need them and that’s what makes it fair. This all applies to shoes as well (shoes have become darn expensive!)
- Eating Out. Oh my, eating out is crazy expensive for my family of 7! Even if we want to do a quick fast food run and do it cheaply, the bill is usually around $30 for one meal! If we are going on a trip, can you imagine the total food cost for one week, plus snacks?! That could be up to $500 in just 5 days! And that’s just for fast food! We often will buy sandwich things for many of the meals and bring a propane grill with hot dogs when we are traveling. There are a lot of options for food on the go that are so much cheaper (and better in all ways, in my opinion) than fast food. Not that I am saying that we don’t occasionally get food out. We do. It’s just not something that works for our family of 7 if we want to stay within budget.
- Don’t Purchase Things On Credit. This one is pretty obvious and many people talk about this one. Paying interest is a killer and will not help you financially at all! If you can avoid it, don’t do it. I can see my washer and dryer are getting close to kicking the bucket and I have started saving up. No way am I going to put them on credit.
- Avoid Shopping Pitfalls. Advertisements have really grown with the times! No longer of the days where we have to sit through ads while we watch our favorite shows. Now we have influencers and ads on social media at every turn and seeing our friends get new things on social media (keeping up with the Jones’) that make us want to buy more things! I also find that the more I go to the store, the more things I buy (even if I don’t necessarily need them.) How I avoid these pitfalls is by having social breaks when I feel like I am wanting to buy all the things and by taking fewer trips to the store. That might mean meal planning (a GREAT way to save money) and only going to the store every 2 weeks.
It’s 2021 and this can be the year that you start making some financial gains you’ve been dreaming of. I hope these tips help you as they have helped me!