By the time your little bundle of joy turns 18, it is estimated that you will spend over $233,000 for childcare, according to the Department of Agriculture. So beyond making sure that you take good care of yourself, you'll have to get a stronger handle on the family finances. That being said, what budgeting tips can help you make every dollar count?
The average U.S. family spends about $2,200 on utility bills per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They also noted that half that amount is taken up by heating and cooling alone. A good option is to check if there are alternate energy providers that offer better rates. For example, households that use natural gas have an average monthly bill of $82. So if you find that there are better energy providers in your area, do a bit of research so you can compare rates and plans they may offer you. That way, you determine what option offers more savings down the line.
Only 25% of Americans say that everyone should have a budget, according to Debt.com's poll. Not having an organized look into your finances is a good way to start overspending and losing track of where your money goes. A good way to combat this is to have a budget calendar. It's an effective financial tool that provides a visual reminder of important monetary commitments. Having a budget calendar helps you plot out where your money should actually be going. It can also help you plan your goals like a dream vacation or something that's needed around the house.
When you're trying to save money, you need to plan any purchases wisely. A good way to get massive savings and get things you need is to do your shopping off-season. For example, if you need to buy new sheets or bedding, the best time of year to do so is in January. Most places have a "white sale" that offers up to 50% off the retail price. If you need furniture for your kid as they grow, September is the best time to buy as it approaches Labor Day weekend where most things are on sale. Off-season shopping schedules can give you time to plan what else you may need so you can compound your savings.
Enacting small yet effective money-saving measures in your home has both short-term and long-term benefits. So the sooner you start, the better your chances of obtaining more savings that you can use for other things for your family. Just take your time to figure out if you need to do any additional adjustments so you can maximize your savings.