How To Be A Frugal Family

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It’s often unfortunately the case, that as your family grows, your income does the opposite, being affected by things such as maternity pay reductions in salary, moving to live off one income or needing to pay childcare costs. 

This can sometimes lead to a need to live a bit more frugally, to save money and stretch the budget a bit.

You might also want to live more frugally to be able to put money away for your children, or simply need to cut costs in one area to cover increased costs in another.

The good news is that with a little creativity there are plenty of ways to become a more frugal family, without compromising on quality of life.

Here are few simple money saving ideas for families.

Use A Budget

I probably bang on about budgets too much, but they really can make so much difference! Knowing what money you have and being able to be intentional with how you spend it really lays the foundation for saving money and keeping on top of family finances.

Read More: How To Build A Family Budget >>

Make Use Of ‘Hand Me Downs’

The phrase hand me down can sometimes feel like it has stigma attached, but for families trying to stick to a tight budget, hand me downs really are a perfect way to save money!

Reususing items rather than buying new is thrifty, not cheap. We saved so much money being able to use the same cot, car seats, pram and other baby essentials for all three of our children, and since we had all girls we’ve been able to save a fortune on clothes as we’ve been able to pass them down from the oldest so haven’t had to buy much new.

This can work well between families and friends too if you can borrow and loan out things as and when you need.

We were able to borrow a carrycot from my brother in law that my nephew had grown out of when we had our oldest, and more recently we were able to pass on our bedside crib to my sister in law to use with her new baby.

If things are still in good condition and working well, the more use you can get out of them the more value for money you get, and the more you save.

Grow Your Own Veggies

Growing your own fruit and veggies is a great way to save a little money and can be good fun for the kids to get involved with too.

This hasn’t worked out so well for us this year as my daughter accidentally drowned all her seeds while ‘watering’ (note to self: watch more carefully!) but previously we’ve done really well growing carrots, sweetcorn, radishes, raspberries and strawberries.

Seeds are relatively inexpensive to buy and there’s lots of free advice online about how to get started growing your own fruit and veg at home.

They taste so good when you’ve grown them yourself too! 

If you don’t have much outside space you could try growing your own herbs on the windowsill.

Lower Food Waste

Another way to be frugal as a family is to try and reduce the amount of food waste you create. One of the easiest ways to do this is through meal planning. Knowing what ingredients you need in advance and sticking to buying just those means less food should be wasted. Obviously this doesn’t take into account your 6 year old suddenly ‘hating’ the carrots she loved last week, but generally it can really help to both save money on groceries and help you throw away less food.

Read More: 11 Easy Tips To Reduce Food Waste >>

Save Energy

Encouraging everyone to save energy where possible can also help with your frugal efforts! Even simple things like switching off lights when leaving a room, washing up in a bowl instead of under running water and switching things off instead if leaving on standby can make a difference.

Read More: 16 Simple Ways To Cut Down Your Energy Bill >>

Shop Second-Hand

We live in such a throwaway society that you can often pick up stuff in really great condition for much cheaper than new. If you’re happy buying second hand try searching for a bargain on local selling pages, Facebook Marketplace and other buy sell platforms such as eBay and Gumtree.

Freecycle is great too for finding freebies from people who just want to pass things along. 

We had a lovely moses basket and baby swing offered for free on a local Facebook group, and were able to pass them both on when our daughter outgrew them to someone else who needed them. It’s a lovely way to both help others and receive help when you need.

Buying second hand is not only good for saving money but helps stop more items ending up in landfill so is a more eco-friendly choice, especially for clothes.

Make Do And Mend

Another ‘old-fashioned’ type frugal saying, but still a good one! Trying to repair things rather than replace them is a great money saving habit to adopt. 

Obviously not everything will last forever and some things will inevitably be unable to be repaired and need replacing but it’s worth considering if something is salvageable before heading for the bin.

Teaching children how to fix things can be a fun activity too – my daughter loves to watch and help with things like fixing her bike up, re-gluing bits of dolls house back together and anything involving screws!

(Despite our best efforts to try to teach our kids to look after things they are still pretty wild so things do often get broken, I’m sure we’re not alone in that!)

Choose Frugal Or Free Activities

Another great way to save money as a family is to choose free and frugal activities and days out where you can or use good value options. If you’re lucky enough to live near beaches, parks, woodland etc, those can all make fun days out. 

When things get back to normal museums often offer free entry and local libraries often put on events for children.

If you like visiting attractions that are paid, it’s worth looking at membership options to see if you’d save money with a pass versus the cost of multiple admissions. For example, a family membership to The National Trust costs £126 a year, and the cost to enter one property for a family averages around £35, so if you’re likely to visit more than three times it works out better value to buy the membership.

Final Thoughts

Being a frugal family doesn’t mean having to be cheap or not have any fun! Hopefully from the ideas above you can see it’s just about being thoughtful with the way you use the money you have to help to achieve your family goals.

Not every frugal measure will be right for every family; it’s all about finding the balance for what works for you.

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How to be a frugal family

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