By Nigel Bowen
There are a range of relatively painless cost-saving measures that big families can easily implement.
Many of the strategies your grandparents swore by, as well as a host of new ones facilitated by modern technology, can be used to trim the monthly outgoings of those with large family units.
Tackling the basics
The first step to tightening those purse strings is distinguishing between needs (food, clothing and shelter) and wants (Foxtel, restaurant meals and overseas holidays). It goes without saying that, if you can’t afford them, anything in the latter category should go. But what about the costs involved in simply keeping a big family fed and clothed?
When it comes to food, make your own meals rather than buying prepackaged ones and always buy home brands. If it’s feasible, start a home garden. Australia’s supermarket chains are locked in a price war, so investigate how you can get the most out of their sales and loyalty schemes.
Life has never been better for fashion lovers on a budget. Quality garments can now be purchased from online stores or auction houses minus the exorbitant mark-ups charged by local retailers. There are also a number of unique sites that allow you to rent a designer outfit for a special occasion, or even view and swap clothes with others.
Determine what is and isn’t worth your while
Too few people realise that doing everything themselves can be a false economy. If you can earn $200 spending four hours working and get someone else to spend half a day cleaning your house for $100, you end up making $100 by outsourcing the vacuuming and devoting the saved time for income-generating activities.
On the other hand, paying professionals to do things such as fix a leaky tap or change your car’s fan belt can set you back hundreds of dollars for something you could do yourself in a few minutes. Leave the complicated stuff to the experts, but do a quick online search for guides and step-by-step videos on how to undertake basic repairs.
As with diets, the hardest part about cost-cutting isn’t starting it, but maintaining it for an extended period. Keep everyone motivated by using at least some of the money you save on treats the whole family can enjoy, such as a fun weekend away.
Lastly make sure the money you saveÂ works hard for you. Instead of leaving it in your transaction account open a high interest account and transfer it there. The extra interest soon makes a difference even after just 12 months.
If you have a goal like a rennovation, a holiday or a car you might be looking for more savings tips.
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