One of the hardest things for a very busy family to do is save money. Why? Because all of that constant coming and going and running around creates an increased need for the quick and the convenient. For instance, nobody has time to make dinner from scratch at home, so pizza gets ordered or someone stops at a drive-through. There isn’t time to stop at home after school to change clothes for softball practice so you fork over the cash for a separate bag in which to keep uniforms and practice gear. There’s no time to fix healthy snacks so you buy the conveniently individual-sized snack pouches which cost twice as much as the ingredients to make them.
Being busy is expensive! Thankfully, there are many options available to help you save money to offset the cost of convenience and fast. Here are some of our favorites.
Reduce Your Utility Bills
If you live in a deregulated energy market, like they have in Texas, shop around to see if you might be able to qualify for a cheaper power plan. Because no single company controls a deregulated energy market, every company has to compete for your business. This competition drives down prices for you, and you should take advantage of that! If you’ve never shopped around for energy service before, there are lots of sites through which you can learn more about which companies offer services in your area. Take some time to look through them to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Install a smart home system. These systems vary in “smartness” with the most robot overlordy able to monitor your family’s activities and adjust the power in your home accordingly. If you’re not sure you want that kind of AI in your home (and we don’t blame you!) you can buy programmable systems. Use these systems to turn off power to the parts of your home that don’t absolutely need it when you aren’t home, like during the school day. This way, even if someone leaves the lights on accidentally, they still get shut off. You’ll reduce your vampire energy consumption by quite a lot, too!
Upgrade Your Vehicle
You spend a lot of time in your car or van. Does your current vehicle offer you the best gas mileage? Are your town’s gas prices reasonable? Electric and hybrid vehicles have come a long way in the last decade and if you can afford it, you might consider trading in your older fossil-fuel dependent vehicle for one that is more sustainable. The money you’ll save on gas will likely cover at least the cost of a car payment–likely with some left over.
Renegotiate Your Insurance Rates
If you’re spending more time on the go than you are at home, it’s worth looking into either bundling your homeowner and auto insurance or shopping around for cheaper plans to cover your home. Both of these avenues will result in cheaper bills. You should also seriously consider increasing your auto insurance coverage. A little bit more money out of the pocket each month goes a long way in covering accidents and maintenance costs over the course of your vehicle’s lifetime.
Reconfigure Your Cable, Internet, and Phone Plans
With all of the streaming sites out there you don’t really need cable. You just need a solid internet connection that can handle multiple devices without getting bogged down. You can probably get rid of your landline too, while you’re at it. Since you’re usually on the go, you’re likely reliant upon your mobile devices. Look into unlimited data plans across shared devices to help cut your costs there. No need for each person to have an individual account when adding devices to a shared account is far more affordable.
Little Investments Can Go a Long Way
Instead of relying upon individually packaged snacks (which are typically loaded with preservatives and sugar), buy an insulated cooler to keep in your vehicle. Keep juice boxes and fresh veggies and fruits on hand. Good choices here are baby carrots, mandarin tangerines, fresh green beans, plums, grapes, berries, and mini bell peppers.
Buying in bulk is a staple of money-saving articles–usually in terms of saving money on food. And sure, there are great deals to be had in the food section of your favorite Costco, but we’re thinking a little differently. Buy your laundry soap, toilet paper, kleenex packets, paper towels, hygiene products, etc in bulk too. The fewer times you have to stop at the store for these basics the more time you’ll have on your hands! And the fewer impulse buys you’re likely to make.
These are just some of the ways that busy families can reduce their out of pocket expenses. Are you constantly on the go? What are some of your favorite money and time savers?