5 Tips for Reining in the Family Budget

5 Tips for Reining in the Family Budget
  • Opening Intro -

    You have attempted to balance the family budget, but you continue to come up short.

    Hundreds of dollars separate what your bring in and spend each month with the spending easily outstripping what you make.


Saving money and cutting expenses.

Your family budget is in crisis and there is only one thing you can do: find ways to rein in your costs.

Let’s take a look at several ways you can master your budget and bring financial harmony to your family.

1. Utilities — Three main utilities — your phone, television and Internet connection — are costs that you can control. Certainly, you can turn off lights, control the thermostat and use less water, but the first three utilities can bring even greater savings. If you still have need of a land line, then bundle it with your television and Internet access through one account. Your cable company and your phone company are battling for market share and are offering special deals. For $99 you can get what you need and cut your bill accordingly. Potential monthly savings: $100.

2. Insurance — You own a home and you also own two cars. The insurance for your home is not with the same company that insures your cars. That is a big mistake there. If you were to bundle your insurance you can save at least 10 percent on your premiums. Moreover, drop collision coverage on your oldest car especially if it is worth $3,000 or less. Potential annual savings: $300.

3. Groceries — Food costs continue to rise, a fact that the federal government seems to mask. Your local supermarket continues to run sales, but that isn’t enough. Perhaps it is time to fork over the $50 to pay for an annual membership in a warehouse club. You’ll get that money back the first time you shop and you can expect to save at least 10 percent on food each week. Spend $5,000 on food each year and you’ll save up to $500 per year.

4. Medical — You can’t and shouldn’t drop your medical coverage, but when it comes time to choose your plan at work, spend some time examining your options. You may find that Plan A and Plan B offer the same coverage, but deductibles are different. Estimate what you spent on health care this past year and if your costs are low, go with the cheaper plan. Your savings can vary, but may range from $10 to $50 per month. Also consider a special prescription plan and make sure your family is enrolled for dental and prescription coverage.

5. Debt — Is debt the biggest drag on your family’s finances? If so, make it a priority to reduce it at once. Contact your credit card providers and ask for your interest rates to be lowered. This move alone will help you pay down your debt faster. If possible, consolidate your debt. One way to do this is to transfer your balances to a lower-rate credit card — look for an offer where zero percent loans are offered for up to 12 months. Resolve not to increase your credit balances; pay cash for your purchases and delay unnecessary purchases.

Getting Help

The examples given here can reduce your expenses by more than $200 per month. If you still are finding it difficult keeping your head above water, credit counseling is advised. Stay away from anyone that makes outlandish promises such as having your debt forgiven without your credit score being ruined and never pay for services that you can handle yourself such as negotiating with your debtors. Reining in the family budget is a process, one that can yield short-term gains followed by long-term benefits.

See Also — 7 Tips To Help You Save Money On Groceries


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Categories: Budgeting

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".