Everyone needs a few penny pinching tips on occasion to help make ends meet, but especially those families trying to live on a single income. We work hard to get great deals and work on ways to save, but there may still be some days when there is too much month at the end of your paycheck. These tips are designed to help you realistically save money and make ends meet even when it seems impossible.
Practical Penny Pinching Tips That Will Change Your Family
Utilize simple frugal menu plans.
I mention this all the time, but it really is a huge way to save money on your grocery budget. Generically I can tell you that a menu plan will save money, but let’s look at some real facts about how it can.
If you plan, use what’s in your pantry and freezer that has been bought already. Then if you take advantage of the sales in your store, you can easily have a lower weekly grocery budget. That budget will include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day. Planning what you will have each day will help you to utilize things like leftovers for lunches, or even using a large pot roast for one meal and cutting the meat up to put into a stew the next night. One cut of meat can make 3-4 meals for one low price when you cook it the right way. Instead of $10 per night on meat, you can make that $10 last 2-3 nights.
Eating out for a family of four can cost $20-$50 easily. $20 twice a week is already $160 a month. The same $160 can feed your entire family for more than a week with your menu plan in most cases. Over the course of a year, you can save over $2000 just by not eating out twice a week.
Utilizing free or low cost items from your pantry that you have bought with coupons or on sale, can work easily into your menu plan and save even more money.
If you find menu planning to be a struggle, I suggest you take a look at $5 Meal Plan. It happens to be my favorite meal planning service. It’s just $5 a month (the first two weeks are free!), and you get menu plans sent straight to your email along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This service allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.
Evaluate your housing situation.
Where you live is important for many reasons, but there are a lot of single income families that can easily downsize. It’s one of the hardest penny pinching tips out there, but putting aside the idea of a dream home or larger space for a time to focus on saving that extra money for paying off other debt or putting into savings can be beneficial. There are some easy ways to make a smaller home or apartment work for your family.
Have kids share a bedroom to save space
Put larger furniture that isn’t needed for daily use into storage for a fraction of the difference in rent (curio cabinets, China cabinets, etc.) Or consider selling the pieces.
Purge any items you don’t use regularly that can easily be replaced (gym equipment, guest room furniture, clothing, toys, electronics.
Utilize attic and garage space for storage.
Change how you view necessities.
I’ve talked about this a lot, but it is vital to financial success for anyone who is really trying to learn some penny pinching tips to effectively change their budget. What you feel you have to have, is not always a true necessity. Look at your budget, your regular expenses and how you spend your money. There are many things you may be able to cut out, make on your own or even replace with something less expensive.
Grow your own food.
A backyard garden or even raising chickens, pigs or cattle may seem crazy, but it can save you tons of money. While you may not have a farm for raising animals, you will find that many areas have many farms that sell a side of beef at a much lower price per pound than your grocery store. It’s a large up front investment, but the overall savings is significant enough to really be worth your money. A garden is an easy small investment way to have your own food available and easy to can or freeze.
When it comes to following basic penny pinching tips, we keep coming back to the same basic concepts. You really have to look realistically at what you are spending, and find unique ways to change the costs. Whether it’s stopping the spending habit all together, or finding something new to replace it a lower cost, it’s vital to your ultimate financial success.
If you’re a single income family, what are some ways that you have changed your family’s finances for the better? I’d love to read in the comments below!