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Frugal Tips for Large Families

Frugal Big FamilyIt is not easy to save money, especially when providing for a large family. Lots of kids means lots of driving, activities, and doctors’ visits. Fortunately, there are ways that big families can reduce their spending. Below is a list of tips that will help as you get started on a budget.

Buy in Bulk

Shopping in bulk can save a lot especially if you have a large family to feed. Stores like Sam’s, BJ’s or Costco specialize in larger quantities. Rather than selling a single stalk of celery they package them in sets of three. Likewise spaghetti sauce is bundled to include two or three large jars and cereal boxes are jumbo size. So if you buy packages of 36 eggs or rolls of toilet paper you will save significantly over buying only a single dozen in your regular supermarket. But be sure to compare prices to be sure you are really getting a good deal.

Buy Used Clothing

While everyone wants to have a brand new wardrobe, you can save a lot of money if you purchased used clothing. You can find used clothing at thrift stores and yard sales, and you can also save money on clothing with hand me downs. Make the dollars stretch by buying durable fabrics and pants that can adjust sizes as kids grow.

Ditch the Cable

Today the cost of cable television continues to rise. Your family can potentially save hundreds of dollars per year without cable, and there are so many other ways to get the entertainment you crave. Rent or stream movies and TV from providers like Hulu or Netflix. Your local library might also allow you to borrow or rent movies for a small price.

Bring a Calculator

Food is one of the biggest expenses for large families. In fact, a large family can very easily spend over $300 per week on food. One of the simplest ways to reduce spending on food is to use coupons but don’t forget to compare store brand prices. Often the store brand is cheaper even when you take the coupon into account. So it is important to always have a good calculator with you when shopping. One advantage of a large family is that often the larger quantities are cheaper but not always. Calculate the cost per ounce or per liter or whatever (simply divide the price by the quantity) often you will find that the one that looks cheapest isn’t really a bargain. So if one 16 oz box of macaroni is $1.60 and a 14 oz box is $1.50 the one that is $1.50 isn’t cheaper. The 16 oz box is 10¢/oz ($1.60/16) while the 14 oz box is 10.71¢/oz (150/14). The stores are supposed to label their shelves with this information but often they will label one as cents per ounce and the one next to it as dollars per pound or something else, so you still can’t accurately compare.  So you still need an easy to use calculator if your phone calculator isn’t easy to use carry one that is.

Cook at Home

It is also a good idea to try to cook at home as much as possible instead of eating at a restaurant. Try to avoid throwing out leftovers by creating a system in the fridge. The most recent leftovers being in the bottom and rotate to the top as they reach an expiration. Single pot meals like casseroles, homemade Mac & Cheese and spaghetti are generally fairly inexpensive and are easy to store the leftovers.

Buy a Used Car

If your family is in need of a new car, then you may want to consider purchasing a used one. Used vehicles typically cost a lot less than new ones, and depreciate at a slower rate. If you absolutely need a new car, make sure you compare prices carefully. Today it is easy to compare prices online for both new and used vehicles. You can go online to a website like the one at  Expressway Dodge and browse their entire inventory. If you are looking for a specific model it can pay to look at a site like Kelly’s Blue Book  to get an idea of what the price should be. Then you can shop within 50, 100 or even 200 miles of your home. It can be worth driving a little extra if you save a significant amount on your purchase.

Take Public Transportation

If you live in an area that has public transportation, take advantage of it by using it on your daily commute or during weekend activities with the kids. You can potentially save thousands of dollars per year by using public transportation, and can help reduce your carbon footprint.

Many large families struggle to save money. Fortunately, purchasing a used car, taking public transportation, and using coupons for groceries can help you on your budget. Get on the right track by taking a hard look at what your family spends the most on. Try to cut back where you can and be smart with how you save.