10 Ways Parents Can Save Money in 2014

The holiday season hits like a hurricane, often leaving behind a financial mess in its wake. But the real damage has occurred long beforehand through poor planning and decision- making. Parents can get ahead this New Year, though, by thinking about household budgeting now and setting forth plans to save your family money. Here are ten ways to preserve your finances in 2014:

Develop a Budget

The most vital step toward money saving is to budget. Begin by gathering bills and receipts to create a budget that you can use on a monthly basis, tracking both fixed and unfixed expenses. Forbes offers a number of options for budgeting software, if a simple spreadsheet does not suffice. Most importantly, of course, is to follow through with your budget, making adjustments as needed.

 Set Goals

Sit down with your spouse or partner and decide short and long term financial goals. Planning a family trip in 2014? Start planning to save for it. Need to purchase a tablet for your child’s school studies? Plan for that as well. Goal-setting helps prepare you and your budget for when these expenses come due.

 Pay Off Debt

Credit card debt can be crippling to a savings plan, since you find yourself accumulating more and more debt due to interest. Among your goals, consider making it a priority to pay down your debt, even if only in small chunks on a monthly basis.

 Consolidate and Eliminate Expenses

When was the last time you used your landline phone? Save money in the new year by eliminating unnecessary expenses, like your home phone. Also look for “all-in-one” savings packages, where you roll several services you already use into one.

Shop Online

Online retailers often offer better prices on the goods than do brick and mortar stores. A number offer free shipping or membership programs that offer further savings. Browse the Internet for big purchases as you comparison shop to save money this year. Check out the Valpak blog for more savings tips.

 Buy Second-Hand Items

Remember the $250 coat you purchased for your daughter last winter? It’s money down the drain if she’s already outgrown it. Instead, consider buying gently used clothing. You might also sell back your children’s items at one of a growing number of consignment stores.

Shop Smartly for Groceries

How many times have you gone to the supermarket for one or two items and returned instead with a cartful of groceries? A simple way to save money is to create grocery lists and commit to sticking to them. You may be able to also save by buying bulk and couponing.

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Eat Homemade

Easier isn’t always better, nor is it less expensive. By cooking more meals at home, you’ll be accomplishing two valuable actions at once: saving your family money and helping them become healthier.

Learn to Say No

It’s often hard to say “no” to a child’s requests, but consider that you may be doing something helpful for your child by leading them to focus on the toys they already have instead of replacing them with new ones before they’ve even mastered the old. Your kids will also be forced to focus on their creativity as they discover new ways to use the toys they already have.

Save as a Family

Your kids might want to know why you’re employing the above changes, especially when they discover you putting the kibosh on item purchases that you normally would allow. However, by involving them right from the beginning and making this a family priority, they’ll better understand the reasoning behind your household budgeting, and they might even enjoy participating in your plans.

Saving money is hard for everyone, but it’s a particular challenge for parents, who need to balance their children’s well-being with money responsibility. Working these tips into your everyday life will help you manage your finances, and more importantly, will help you manage a happier household.

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