Being frugal isn’t just for moms who are looking to stretch the family budget a little further, or people who have a limited income and want to live as well as possible as they can with what they have – it’s for everyone. Kids, grandparents, teenagers – there isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from being a bit more frugal with their money. Doing so will make it less likely that they get into debt and increase their chances of living comfortably in the long-term.
With that in mind, here are some frugal living tips for the whole family:
Shop to List
One of the simplest aspects of frugal living, which can be applied to anyone who buys food is to shop to a list. Check your pantry and your fridge etc., before you head off to the store, note down only what you need to see you through the week and just buy that. You’ll eat perfectly well without wasting money.
Become a Scratch Cook
Teaching your children to cook is one of the most important life skills you can impart upon them because, no matter how young or old you are, cooking from scratch is a great way to save money and eat a healthier diet. If your kids can cook, then they’re less likely to put on the dreaded freshman 15 by eating convenience foods all the time.
Extend Health Insurance
Extending your health insurance so that it still covers your kids when they’re an adult is a great way to look after them and ensure that they can get the help they need should they get sick. It’s typically less expensive than them taking out their own policy, which means they might be able to contribute towards your policy when they can’t afford their own, and it will give the rest of the family greater peace of mind.
Get Life Insurance
If you’re thinking that paying out for another insurance policy is the opposite of being frugal, then you obviously haven’t been very frugal in the past. You see, having insurance policies, whether it’s the best senior life insurance policy out there, a policy for parents or even a policy for children, it ensures that other members of the family aren’t burdened financially should the unthinkable happen. When a person dies, there are a lot of expenses to deal with from the funerals, to paying the bills they might have been responsible for. So, if you’re a responsible family member, you will insure yourself and anyone else who warrants it.
Have a Piggy Bank
If everyone in the family has their own piggy bank or even a communal one, and they learn to put their spare change in there every day instead of squandering it on expensive coffees or a little candy, then you could easily save hundreds of dollars each year and use that money to save for college, repair the roof, or even treat yourself to the occasion family vacation or some other longed-for treat.
Grow Your Own Food
If the cost of keeping your family in food is getting too much to handle, why not start supplementing with some of your own? Depending on where you’re based, there’ll be a whole host of fruits and veggies you can grow at a fraction of the cost of buying them, and gardening is a great family activity, which has also been shown to teach kids about nature and healthy eating, improve symptoms of depression and help seniors to keep physically and mentally fit. If you have the land, it really is one of the best things you can do to be frugal and take good care of your family. You can have a beautiful garden with the basic gardening tools.
Give the Gift of Time
As a frugal person, take the time to speak to the other members of your family and come to some sort of agreement on gifts whereby it is time, not material possessions that are given. As you will probably know, lots of family members, particularly grandparents, like to spoil younger family members with toys and gadgets. The thought is certainly a good one, but what this does is raise the kids’ expectations about the kind of things they should have and cause much more money to be spent than necessary. Anyway, grandparents, aunts, etc., would probably prefer more quality time doing a simple, frugal activity with the ones they love than simply exchanging extravagant gifts!
Give Crafty Gifts
Alternatively, you could bring in a rule that any gifts given have to be handmade. Hand Making things can be a lot cheaper than buying them from the store, and it encourages the whole family to get their creative juices flowing. Little kids will be particularly happy about this because it will mean that they can give a meaningful gift to gammy or big sister and they’ll feel totally included in the process.
Buy in Bulk
If you have an extended family who live close by and who you’re close to, you can make really huge savings by buying in bulk. Work out all of the foods and supplies that you all buy on a regular basis and then make a big bulk order, which should be significantly more than buying separately. Then, simply pay for your share and decant the goods into your own containers. You’ll be amazed exactly how big the savings can be!
If you don’t have family, getting together to do this with friends and neighbors is also a possibility, and actually, the more people who get involved, the bigger the savings will be at the end of the day.
Whether it’s encouraging your teenager to repurpose her old clothing into some unique outfits that will impress her friends, having your toddler craft with old paper cups or upcycling your old furniture, so it’s as good as new, there are countless ways to reuse the things you already have, so that you don’t have to waste money on new stuff that, probably won’t be as good, and certainly not as much fun, anyway.
Install Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats can save money by adjusting the settings according to conditions even when you forget to do it yourself. That’s why you should install on in your home, and the home of any seniors, or less tech-savvy members of your family. They’ll appreciate the gesture a whole lot, especially when they see how much smaller their fuel bills are.
Rent Board Games
If you’re looking for a fun, frugal activity that will also bring the whole family together, then you can’t go wrong with board game rentals. There are lots of places, including libraries, that will rent out all of the family favorites for a small fee (sometimes no fee at all) and it’s a great way to spend a few hours that isn’t as expensive as eating out or going to the cinema, and certainly nowhere near as expensive as cable!
If you have a big family, and you all enjoy an annual vacation, you might find that if you do so together, in one big group, you’ll get a discount if you book a package vacation. Obviously, this will only work out if you all get on, but bear in mind that just because you travel together and stay in the same villa, it doesn’t mean that you need to be in each others’ pockets all the time, and actually, having more family there might mean you get more time to yourselves. Why? Because you can take it in turn to entertain the kids; grandma and grandpa can have them one day, you the next, uncle the day after and so on. It might actually be one of the best vacations you’ve ever had!
Utilize Online Education
Whether your teenage son wants to learn how to code, you want to learn how to make dresses, or your mother wants to take up art to keep her occupied during retirement, you can find all manner of free tutorials and classes online. You can also find some low-cost paid for classes if you want to get really into it, and it’s almost always cheaper than paying for classes in the ‘real’ world.
Create an Emergency Fund
If you are the main breadwinner in the family, then you should be setting aside a little cash each month with a view to building up an emergency fund that covers at least 12 months’ salary. That way, should you end up out of work, not only will you not have to worry about paying the bills, but you won’t have to worry about asking other members of the family for health. In fact, even if you aren’t the main breadwinner, starting your own emergency fund is probably a good idea because it gives you a little more independence should your financial situation change for the worse.
If you and your family do even a fraction of these things, then you will notice that, not only do you have more money in the bank, but you have a lot more fun together, making memories that will last a lifetime. It just goes to show that being frugal can be fun!