Guest Post: How To Creatively Manage The Household Budget, Cymplified!
This guest post on How To Creatively Manage The Household Budget is brought to you by Hilary Smith.
Every mother has heard these dreaded words, “I’m bored” from their kids during summer vacation and “stick to the budget” almost every day from either her spouse or herself. The first one is easy enough to solve with a new toy or a treat for a restless child, but that can make the second scenario even more agonizing.
Balancing a budget often means going without those little extra treats, like avoiding pricey trips to that expensive coffee shop, when you can brew a perfectly good cup of joe at home for a fraction of the cost. Face it, as moms we’re all used to making all those little sacrifices and are always on the prowl for a good deal, searching out online coupons, promo codes and other extra savings…
But what are some other more creative, less obvious ways, that we can shave some extra dollars on an already tight budget?
I was once guilty of this one myself, falling for discounts that were more deceptive than practical. For example, we may be going to the “Dollar Store” for some extra savings, but they might not be actually what they seem. On Halloween, I figured I’d stock up on a bunch of buck bags of candy and save a bundle. But those teeny-tiny, dollar-sized bags of treats just didn’t add up when compared to bigger bundles that I could get on sale at my neighborhood grocery store.
It depends on the situation and the circumstances when it comes to places that seem like we’re saving big when it might not be the case. Take those big membership warehouse discount stores, while it seems we’re saving a bundle when buying in bulk, we have to remember the cost of the annual membership, extra time spent wandering around their huge store, additional gas and wear & tear on our vehicles driving to a more distant location. Many neighborhood grocery chains are offering specialized deals for in the form of customer loyalty programs that can be just as competitive price wise.
BONUS: The grocery store where I regularly shop offers a gas discount in conjunction with their customer loyalty program that saves me huge at the pump.
TV and Technology
Many consumers are swapping out their expensive cable or satellite providers for much cheaper alternatives. Streaming services like Amazon’s Fire TVStik, Hulu, Google Chromecast, and Netflix are offering almost all the same shows we love, including network television programs and new movies that we can watch on our own time schedule instead of theirs.
While checking prices on technology, take a good, long, hard look at your smart phone plan and see exactly how much data and lines you’re using and why. There’s likely a better deal out there, but be careful of those “blanket” offers that can have many hidden charges.
BONUS: Check prices when they’re advertising special offers and they may be willing to pay off early termination fees or are offering free equipment for more substantial savings.
Ask and You May Receive
My spouse refuses to give up our expensive cable provider (I know I just whined about it before) and since I’m not the one footing the bill, I don’t complain or argue that fact. We have a deal, I pay the grocery and household-related expenses, while my better half takes care of the mortgage and other bills. But recently, when someone had surgery and was out on disability for several weeks, I accidentally took a look at the cable bill, and my mouth fell open in shock.
Since my spouse refused to budge on making the switch, I called the provider, asked to speak with a supervisor and compared prices with them over the phone. I pointed out that we could be paying much less with one of their many competitors and told them a little white lie … that I was prepared to jump ship … right then and there. The manager was happy to put me on some kind of discounted plan with the same services we already had for much less … if I committed to signing on for another two-year commitment.
BONUS: By the way, when the two years is up, guess what, I’m calling them back!
There are more ways we could save money when we think hard about it. We might discover them when reflecting on our daily habits and routines. Being mindful and intentional in each thing we do could save us resources like cash, effort and especially time.
How about you? How do you creatively manage your budget?
Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist and a mother of two. She has a passion for writing about business, but since becoming a stay at home mom, she has been writing more about family, homes, and money related issues.
Budgeting is really hard. Good thing my husband and I are committed to work together. That’s very important to have the same perspective and goal when it comes to finances.
Mommy Maye recently posted..Monday Inspiration: Love and Appreciate Your Parents
Nice guest post by Hilary Smith. I am a penny pincher myself (no cable TV, no expensive shoes and bags, I travel on a budget, etc) but I splurge when it comes to food. I know where to buy quality products at low prices. That’s how I save a lot. 🙂
Shelly recently posted..Online Shopping in the Philippines
That’s wonderful! I don’t watch TV so I think I could live without cable.
MY wife used to prepare her household budget by listing down all those necessities, all those we used to pay every month like electricity, water, installments, among others. And we discuss them and share ideas on what to make them manageable.
Gil Camporazo recently posted..What Should You Look For In A Powerpoint Presentation Company?
It’s wonderful that you discuss these things with your wife and you share ideas with each other on managing expenses.
Budgeting and keeping the family activities flowing has always been a challenge for me. This definitely helps me loads in that section. Thank you for the tips.
When I go shopping, if I could go by myself, meaning not having the kids around, I tend to save more. Also, I try to stick to a budget when grocery shopping for the week. I also buy fish and vegetables in the wet market since they are really cheaper there. But you know, sometimes I still go over the budget especially when the kids need to buy something extra, like for a school project.
The one about fish and vegetables is a good tip!
Managing household budget is not easy especially if we only rely on single income. But it really helps to write down all our expenses so I will know where the money goes and to avoid overspending.
Michi recently posted..So You’d Like to Visit to Western Australia?
Yes, that’s right!
Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
Great tips on how to manage the budget. We also changed cable provider because of the rate.
Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen recently posted..New Ramen Flavors and Dessert Bar at Tokyo Tokyo
Mommy and I used different strategies on budgeting but most failed and we ended up spending more.
Now, we had another strategy. We had our grocery weekly and buying only what we need for a week. With this, we avoided buying things in bulk where others are only stored at home for more than a month before we start consuming it.
Allan recently posted..Opiates: Addiction and Withdrawal
I guess it’s really trial and error, learning from experiences.