No one knows how to budget money better than parents. #realtalk
Managing the daily expenses, the weekly extracurriculars, and the monthly rent (not to mention the little ones running around) is not easy at all. While their budgeting superpowers are hands down impressive, parents would still agree that they still need a few more tips and tricks up their sleeves, or perhaps a nudge in the right direction.
If you’re a parent looking for ways to stretch your family budget, you can start with these money-saving tips! Just like how it takes 21 days to form a habit, let these 21 tips transform your spending habit for the better. Challenge yourself with one tip a day for 21 days. Ready?
Day 1: Track your spending
Get a notebook and pen, or just download one of those money-saving apps. Start listing down your expenses, down to the last item. When you put things in writing, you can stop asking where’d your money go.
Day 2: Prepare your child’s baon
Sure, it’s easier to just give food money. But it’s also easier to lose money that way. Preparing your child’s baon isn’t only cheaper than buying from the cafeteria, it also helps you watch over what your kids eat.
Day 3: Buy grocery items just enough for a week
Although this depends on your schedule, it’s best to stock up on food (especially the perishables) good for a week. You don’t want to feel sad over spoiled food a.k.a. wasted money, don’t you?
Day 4: Find the best route to your child’s school
Everyone loves an efficient transpo! Try different routes every now and then. Find out which one works best for your child, time and money considered.
Day 5: Proactively search for scholarships
Day 6: Memorize the golden formula
Here’s the trick: income – savings = expenses. Setting aside savings is ALWAYS a good idea, especially if it’s the first thing you do before doing anything with your money. By doing so, you are prepped whatever happens in the future!
Day 7: Invest in quality school supplies
There can never be enough lost pencils and broken crayons around the house, for reals. Choose better quality items. It may be slightly more expensive, but at least there’s higher probability your child can still use it next quarter. #qualityoverquantity
Day 8: Always bring bottled water
The point of this one isn’t really just so you’re hydrated 24/7 (though that’s great!!), but deliberately trying to avoid unnecessary expenses throughout the day.
Day 9: Take advantage of sale and discounts
Whoever doesn’t love discounted items are missing out on the world! Not to encourage more spending, but there are big savings with marked down items. Just make sure, it’s a need and within your budget!
Day 10: Ask which school activities are compulsory
There are a ton of school activities your child can join throughout the year. However, not all are required. Check which ones you can opt out, and save money from.
Day 11: Upcycle your child’s school stuff
Master the art of upcycling! It can be a preloved school uniform or a half-used notebook from last quarter. Be creative, and transform it to make it look good as new!
Day 12: Carpool
Is your neighbor’s child going to the same school as your child’s? Instead of riding separately, go together and save up on gas! Plus, it’s good for our daily traffic.
Day 13: Say no to impulse buying
Do you need it? Do you really need it? To be honest, there are many expenses filed under wrong decisions. Think through every transaction. Every centavo counts!
Day 14: Be an early bird
There are perks to being early that people in a rush would never know. For starters, you and your family have more time to figure your way around the place that doesn’t involve sky high transpo prices (read: peak hours base fee).
Day 15: Fine dine at home
It isn’t always Christmas, so there’s no need to eat out all the time. Save your expensive meals for actual occasions, and enjoy dining at home. You’ll love it as much, plus it’s cheaper!
Day 16: Score secondhand finds
New clothes, new stuff are great but finding quite the same thing for a cheaper price? Now, that’s a steal! Of course, it’s important do some #qualitycheck before every purchase.
Day 17: Study the school’s payment plans
Tuition fees and other payables are set at the start of the school year. Ask about the available payment plans so you know if it’s wiser to pay a big one-time amount up front or gradually pay through installment.
Day 18: Buy wholesale
Buying items per piece is convenient, but buying in bulk almost always gives you more bang for your buck. Know which items are best bought wholesale, so you can enjoy those big savings!
Day 19: Maximize your work benefits
If you’re currently employed and covered by work-provided benefits, you can check if your spouse and children can be beneficiaries, too. This will help save money intended for healthcare, gym memberships, or meals— expenses that are usually given free or subsidized by companies.
Day 20: Explore food options
While it’s ideal to prep home-cooked meals for the family, there are times when buying from a nearby food house is the best way to go. Calculate your allotted budget per meal to know when it’s okay to cook or just buy.
Day 21: Spend in cash
A cashless society seem perfect for this day and age, until you find yourself paying way above your budget (hello credit cards!!). Put enough cash in your wallet to pay only for what you need.
As a parent, you have a bird’s-eye view of your expenses. While these tips are generally helpful, there are more than 21 ways you can save money and you know best when these tips apply to your family situation.
As you develop these money-saving traits, you’ll definitely see a change in your spending habits, which can then rub off on your kids’ perspectives about finances. A win-win situation, don’t you think?
Keep the habit with this 21-day Money Hack Challenge calendar guide… or make your own!