10 great family budget tips you can apply today

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Fast and easy ways you can save cash and boost your budget

If you’ve got a family you’ll know how tough it can be to make ends meet, especially if you’re on a low income, are unemployed or receive Centrelink benefits. There just never seems to be enough cash to go around.

So if you haven’t already got a household budget – you need one! Here’s a simple guide to setting a budget.

And whether you’ve got a budget or not – there’s always a few quick and clever ways you can squeeze more out of your family dollar.

Here’s some quick and easy budget busters you can start using today!

  1. Go through your bills with a fine toothed comb
  • When you’re busy with the demands of a family and running a household, it’s easy to fall into the habit of paying bills without really looking at them.
  • But take a moment to read through your bills and look at the details.
  • You’ll be amazed at the errors or opportunities for savings that you might uncover.
  1. Check your bank statements
  • And while you’re scrutinising your bills, take a close look at your bank statements.
  • You may uncover some fees and charges you didn’t realise you were paying, and if that’s the case, negotiate with your bank for a better deal.
  • You might also discover some old subscriptions and services you’re paying for without realising it – if so, cancel them!
  1. Never pay full price
  • Keep an eagle eye out for the sales. Nowadays there’s no such thing as sale season, there’s one every other week!
  • So for those things you must buy new, head online and to your letterbox for deals and sale catalogues, and save your spending for sale dates.
  1. One person’s trash is another’s treasure
  • Embrace op shops – you won’t believe the wonderful things some people give away!
  • Clothes with the tags still on them, accessories, homewares, books and toys…the list goes on.
  • Check out charity stores near you and save yourself a small fortune.
  1. Shop around
  • Break any bad shopping habits you may have fallen into with your weekly grocery run. Could you get more bang for your buck elsewhere?
  • Competition for your grocery dollar is hot! Keep an eye out for great specials and consider investigating the prices on offer at other nearby supermarkets.
  • And beware of these 10 sneaky supermarket tricks that make you spend more!
  1. Don’t spend – swap!
  • When your kids grow out of their clothes or you have stuff you simply don’t need anymore, trade it!
  • Build a stuff sharing network with friends – you could even organise a swap meet at someone’s place where you can all bring your hand-me-downs along and benefit from one another.
  • Best of all, you all get new stuff without spending a cent!
  1. Love your library
  • Speaking of free stuff – when was the last time your checked out everything on offer at your local library?
  • Nowadays your library offers much, much more than just books. From internet and computer access, millions of online movies and DVDs, music and ebooks.
  • And there’s free entertainment and educational sessions including kids story time sessions, after school activities for older kids, and author talks and computer courses for adults.
  1. Car pool
  • Not only does all of that running around in Mum’s taxi drive you nuts, it costs a bomb in petrol.
  • Build a carpool network with other families who live nearby, and share the driving to and from school, sports and other events.
  • Set a roster to share the load. You’ll each get a break and a moment’s peace here and then, as well as save on your car running costs.
  1. Free babysitting!
  • Chances are you don’t get out much because of the huge cost of babysitting.
  • Why not start a babysitting club with some other parents, and look after each other’s kids?
  • This way each family gets a night out every now and then, and you rotate the babysitting duties between one another.
  1. Holiday for free
  • Dying for a holiday but just can’t stretch the budget to pay for a hotel? Consider a house swap.
  • Start your holiday dreaming today – check out websites like Aussie House Swap and HomeExchange, and have a holiday in someone else’s home, while they holiday in yours!

The opportunities for squeezing a little more cash out of the family budget are endless. What’s your top tip?