How to cut the family budget

When you’re on a tight budget, it’s handy to arm your family with simple saving measures – so you can all afford to shop and save money at the same time!

Cut the cost of owning a car

  • If you have a six-cylinder fuel guzzler, down-size to a smaller car that’s cheaper to run.
  • If you have a second car, can you survive without it? Save on running costs plus maintenance and repairs by becoming a one car family.
  • Don’t drive if you can walk or catch public transport. It’ll save you money and will keep you fit.
  • When you fill-up the car, use regular unleaded fuel instead of the more expensive premium brand.
  • Check petrol prices online and buy fuel when it’s cheap.
  • Regularly service your car to keep it running efficiently and to ensure no major (and costly) mechanical problems develop.
  • Learn how to change a flat tyre so you don’t have to pay someone else to do it.
  • Resist the temptation to use a car wash – get out the bucket and sponge and do it yourself instead.
  • And, avoid speeding and parking tickets. They really can make driving expensive!

Set up a car pool

  • Ease the pressure on the household budget – and do your bit for the environment – by organising a car pool in your neighbourhood.
  • Gather a group of mums together and draw up a roster so you share ferrying the kids around.
  • You can take turns driving the kids to day care, doing school drop-off and pick up runs, or getting to and from after-school activities.
  • Work out a timetable and then set up a group chat for you all on Facebook Messenger so you can communicate at the same time and streamline the planning for car pool duties. Or you could try one of the online car pool websites.

Make your own cleaning products

  • Save more of your hard-earned money by tossing out your expensive household chemicals and start using homemade cleaning products instead.
  • There are lots of different easy-to-use recipes for natural cleaning products for all rooms of the home.
  • Most people who’ve made the change to natural products swear that two common ingredients – bicarbonate soda and white vinegar – will do the job! To make an everyday cleaner, mix a small amount of bicarb soda with vinegar and keep the solution in a spray bottle.

Buy generic medicines

  • Sometimes it seems like you’re always at the GP with a sick child and the bills and prescriptions can add up.
  • You may be able to save money using generic rather than name brand medicines for your children.
  • Seek the advice of your family doctor or local pharmacist about switching to a generic brand and save.

Book appointments at student hair and beauty salons

  • Everyone deserves a little pampering now and then, but it need not blow a hole in your carefully crafted budget.
  • Student hair and beauty salons are run by qualified beauticians and hairdressers who supervise students in their final year of training.
  • Not all treatments will be available all of the time but you’ll get big discounts and may be able to plan return visits if finances allow.


This article was created for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading parenting website.

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