How to Manage Family Expenses and still have Fun

In a poor economy, everyone looks for ways to save a bit of money. Fortunately, there are ways to continue to enjoy your current quality of life without sacrificing your future or your bank account. Below are some quick tips to help you stretch your dollars.

Track Your Spending

Create a spreadsheet detailing your expenses. Use your banking records and credit card statements at the end of the month to make sure that you have a complete listing of your expenditures. Then take a look at what you can cut out of your spending. For example, if you are drinking iced coffee to beat the summer heat, you may save money by pouring the remainder of your morning pot of coffee into a pitcher, which you can then refrigerate.

Manage Childcare Expenses

When it comes to expenses that you cannot get rid of, there may still be ways to save money. For example, if you are used to spending a certain amount on babysitting each month, talk to your friends about a barter system in which each family babysits one night out of a month. If four families collaborate, this can reduce the cost of babysitting.

If you don’t want to put your babysitter out of work completely, arrange to have one friend bring his or her kids to your house one week, and alternate so that your friend’s babysitter watches your kids the following week. Another alternative is to host a game night in which the kids play one game and the adults play another.

Manage Entertainment Expenses

If you find that you are spending a fortune to take your family to the cinema, look into membership in a company that offers DVD rentals by mail for a flat monthly fee. Many of these companies feature online movie streaming that will allow you to stream movies to your TV. There is usually a great deal of children’s programming, both movies and television shows, available for viewing as part of these memberships. They are also an excellent way to access the classics that you grew up with and share them with your children.

Manage Family Activity Expenses

Finally, do some research to determine whether any of the museums in your area are sponsored by corporations. These sponsorships often provide free access to the museum once a month, such as the first Monday or last Thursday of the month. These free days are a great way to view both exhibitions and permanent collections and to share the experience with your family.

These are just a few quick tips to help you on the road to managing your family finances and have money left over at the end of the month; all without sacrificing enjoyment and fun. If you follow these strategies you will soon begin to see your nest egg grow.