Savvy Strategies for Parents on a Budget

Cut the Frivolous Expenses

Just about every family has some unnecessary expenses mixed into their monthly bill. Most don't even notice them. Some people wouldn't even think of living without some of these perks. But just about every family can give up a few things that they've gotten used to without a lot of pain and suffering. Take a good look at everything you spent money on this past month and figure out if there are any areas in which you may be able to start cutting corners a bit.

Here are some common areas where families may be able to cut back:

  • Movie rentals: Find out if your local library offers videos that you can borrow with nothing but your library card. Why pay Blockbuster if you can watch a movie for free?
  • Activities: Look through your local paper. You will find many free activities or events that don't cost very much. Call your Chamber of Commerce to ask if they can drop a calendar of events in the mail to you.
  • Internet connection: You may love that DSL line or cable modem, but unless you do a great deal of work from home, you can get a basic Internet connection for as little as $9.99 a month.
  • Cable TV: Unless you're an avid TV watcher, the basic network channels can provide tons of entertainment. Remember those TVs with the antenna ears? They still work, you know.
  • Gifts: Are you one of those people who always want to give the best gift at the party? Well, you still can -- at a fraction of the cost. Consider creating photo albums or picture frames filled with photos of the gift recipient or her family. Or create a theme basket giving tribute to the event. These gifts will get more attention than an expensive piece of clothing -- guaranteed!
  • Newspapers: You may just love sitting back and reading the Arts and Leisure section of the local newspaper every morning. But a daily newspaper can cost you up to $30 a month and you can get those same articles online for free!
  • Baby clothes: It's hard not to fall in love with some of the adorable baby clothes on sale nowadays. But you probably have a neighbor or relative whose baby outgrew those same clothes last month and doesn't know what to do with them. Don't be afraid to accept hand-me-downs. Your baby will never know the difference.
  • Credit cards: It's so easy to buy things with your credit card and worry about paying for them later. But that can only lead to late fees, interest rate hikes, and ruined credit. If you are unable to pay your bill in full on time every month, consider cutting up those credit cards and forcing yourself to pay in cash.

Sources: The Dollar Stretcher, Inc.; FrugalFamily.com

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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