Family Budget

Money saving tips

Kidspot Top 10 Budgeting Tips

Kidspot mums and dads are full of great ideas when it comes to saving money. Here, we've put together the Top 10 Budgeting Tips for everything from household bills to groceries and birthdays.

Banking and Bills

I have a 'Bills' book and each page has its own 'bill' to cover. For instance, there is a Car Repairs page, where I put $15 a week into, every week. When the car needs a repair or a tyre or whatever for the WOF, I deduct this amount from the balance and rebuild from there. I also have a page each for: WOF; Road user charges; Car rego; Family clothing; Family hair cuts; School extras; Water rates; Doctors visits/scripts; Dentist; Special occasions; or anything that is important to you ie: Family holidays etc. This means that there is always money for what you need, when you need it. Another good thing about this is that the money going in each week builds up quickly so when (not if) you have an emergency, you can 'borrow' off yourself rather than putting it on the credit card or HP purchases. Both of my teenage children have paid off their own cars using this system. They also pay for their own car insurance, rego, wofs, repairs etc and all because they have a 'bills book' that really takes care of itself!  Just keep it up to date, that's all!

Tip provided by Dizzles

With bank accounts, make sure you have an account that fits what you need. My bank offers an online account, when the paper statements are stopped there are no monthly fees - because all of my banking is done online, and I dont need to have a monthly statement (I can always check online) I pay zero bank fees monthly!

Tip provided by lmiln003


Think venue, think free! What about a fairytale romp through your local bush? A mermaid and sea creature-theme foray at the local beach? A hip-hop/boombox BBQ at your local skate park? There are millions of ways to capitalise on our free parks and reserves for kids' birthdays. If you've got the venue on the cheap, you're practically there.

Tip provided by erenakelly

I have a birthday box that contains candles, table cloths, napkins and plastic plates so when it is time for the kids parties they are already brought. now that I have done 16 parties (eek) there is always something that can be reused.

Tip provided by Catzombie

Our Kids

We all know the feeling of thinking our kids have far too many toys but never play with any of them! A free, easy solution is to get together with one or two Mums that you trust and have a toy swap. Each bring a box of good condition toys from your home, that your kids are no longer interested in and switch them with the other mums. Each family ends up with new, exciting toys (for free!) and your kids will think it's just like Christmas! Then every few weeks swap again. You can keep a list of where your toys are if you think you'll be wanting them back, or just go with the flow and see what you end up with as no one will be swapping toys that their kids really love.

Tip provided by KimH

Use your social networks: Before you go out and buy something, see if you can borrow it first. I wanted to try my daughter in a bouncer, but not being sure if she would like it, thought it would be a good idea to see if someone had one they could lend me or sell to me (hopefully for cheap). I posted a message on Facebook and in 20 minutes had about 10 responses! We are now borrowing one from friends, and it's a good thing as DD isn't too sure about being in it. (Ed - you can also see recommendations from other parents and read product reviews at Mums Say).

Tip provided by Guest Member

Grocery Day

How to keep the groceries cheap AND healthy for the kids:

1. Make cheap low sugar yogurt by getting a regular powder yogurt sachet but only use a third of the sachet and mix with luke warm milk - not water. The sachet will now make 3 litres instead of 1 and the result is better as low sugar but high in all the good stuff. Now you can avoid the expensive baby yogurts.
2. Bake. Choose ingredients that are cheap and leave expensive bits such as walnuts. Add wheatgerm to muffins and even chocolate slices for added B vitamins.
3. Buy filo pastry. It looks expensive but makes heaps of bacon and egg pies, chicken parcels, mince pies. Excellent and cheap.
4. Buy extra eggs and get a small amount of bacon from the deli. A little bacon makes a meal of eggs. Eggs are a great fall back for protein meals.
5. With fruit and vege the following are always cheap: carrots, peas, bananas, oranges and apples. With these staples some extra greens can be added or some different fruit for the wee ones and gives variety without breaking the budget.
6. Buy oats for baking if the kids won't eat porridge. Cheap and good for them.
7. Use oil and yogurt in muffins instead of butter to avoid saturated fat and butter isn't cheap these days.
8. Look at the unit price as it may be cheaper to spend $10 to save $3.
9. FINALLY We always take a calculator - usually the one on the cellphone to save embarrassment. It is better to go shopping alone (except for the small helpers). Two of us means two people throwing things in the trolley. One is always cheaper. Happy shopping!

Tip provided by lilylie

1. Make your own biscuits or sweet treats for the children. It works out cheaper (although start up cost sometimes doesn't feel like it).
2. Make a double batch and freeze if making cakes. Either cut in half and freeze half un-iced and use the other half or if you've just had a birthday with ample cake to spare cut into pieces wrap and freeze ready to be put straight into lunch boxes.
3. Don't buy jelly and fruit salad packs, make your own. You save money plus they usually make enough for six people. It's worth investing in containers to do this.
4. Make mini quiches from scratch. These add variety especially when kids don't want sandwiches everyday.
5. Also muffins, pikelets and scones are perfect to freeze and then remove individually as needed. It takes but a moment to double a recipe and saves you so much time in the long run.
6. Yoghurt maker: We love making yoghurt berry crunch, yoghurt with berry sauce (make your own or buy) and then muesli on top. Perfect as you can portion the exact amount you know is right for your child, so no wastage!
7. Make a shopping list and a rough menu planner, not just for dinner but also lunch, breakfast, and snacks.
8. Check what is on special first at the local butchers & markets. Sometimes its cheaper to go to two places than the supermarket.

Tip provided by IceKiwi

School Days

See if your child's school will let you set up an automatic payment to them. By paying $10 a week or fortnight during the year the school fees, trips, stationary, camp etc are taken care of at the start of each year.

Tip provided by Rosebud

Family Fun

Keep an eye out for competitions to win prizes such as movie tickets, free passes to the zoo, Motat etc. Good places to go are radio station websites, Facebook, cinema websites etc. So many businesses and organisations have things to give away and you have to be in to win. (Ed - and don't forget the fabulous competitions on Kidspot!).

Tip provided by Cathyj