5 Ways to Save Money When Raising Teenagers
If you live in a household with teenagers, you have surely experienced the pain of finding an air-conditioner left on while no one is home or pulled out a load of washing that consisted of a couple shirts and a pair of underwear. These costly oversights can often result in a soaring energy bill and going over your household budget for the month. We know how difficult it can be to save money while raising teenagers, which is why we have compiled a list of what we believe are the 5 best ways to save money on household expenses.
Eating out can be expensive and it’s especially daunting when you have growing teenagers who tend to be able to eat more than their weight in food. We understand that feeding the family is difficult and the weekly grocery shop rarely stays within the set budget. Here are some tips to try and make that shop last a little longer:
- Try not to waste any food. I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but it really is the key. Use leftover vegetables to make soups, stews and vegetable stock. Use that almost no good fruit to make smoothies or even give homemade frozen yoghurt a try.
- Meal prep. This is one that can be difficult with a big family but if you’ve got the time prepare meals that can be kept in the freezer that everyone can take as they please.
- Shop the specials. Another alternative to meal prepping is to only buy what’s on special and plan your meals around them. This is a great way to always have variety on the table and save money at the end of the month.
- Don’t shop while you’re hungry. Especially don’t take the kids shopping while they’re hungry. I am guilty of this one and it never ends well. Snack before you shop.
- ALWAYS make a list. I can guarantee that you will always forget something if you don’t have a list. No matter how organised you are or how important everything is, you will forget something.
Getting the entire family together can be difficult but it shouldn’t break the bank. Taking the family to the cinemas, shopping or to amusement parks can almost require a second mortgage but there are cheaper ways to keep the family entertained.
- Invest in Netflix/Stan/Disney+. You might be thinking that these things add up, but even if you have all three that’s only around $36 per month which is a lot cheaper than going to the movies. If your teenagers have part-time jobs, you could even suggest that they each pay for one service. Movie night sorted!
- Go to the Drive In. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with one of the few Drive Ins left in Australia, I’d recommend taking the family. The Drive In is a super cheap way to take the entire family out to see multiple movies.
- Have a board game night. Go old school and keep the family in for a board game night.
- Go to the museum. If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t been to the museum in your town in years. It’s such a shame that most of us don’t take advantage of the cultural and historic venues in our own towns. Next long weekend or school holidays, why not get the family together to check out a local art display, museum, cultural precinct or history tour? Most of these activities are free or very low cost.
Holidays are that one time of year all families look forward to, but they can also prove to be an extremely costly exercise. While it is easy to be of the opinion that no expense should be spared on holiday, that can be very risky for your credit card.
- Travel off-peak. We’re all aware that the cost of travel during school holidays, Christmas and Easter almost doubles. If it’s possible for your family, try and travel during the off-peak seasons to save money.
- Keep the travel close to home. Classic holiday destinations are often the most expensive places to travel. Your family holiday doesn’t always have to be to the Gold Coast or Bondi. Keep the travel costs low this year and visit somewhere close to where you live so you can drive there. Australia is a beautiful place and there aren’t many towns that are far from a nice travel destination.
I think we can all remember being told as kids to ‘turn the lights off’ or ‘make sure we have the air conditioner set to only 24’. Especially being in Australia, not taking these precautions can mean being shocked at your electricity bill in Summer and scrambling to cut costs in other ways to afford the expense.
- Upgrade your appliances. New appliances use on average 20% less electricity than appliances that are more than 10 years old.[i]
- Invest in smart home features. Gadgets like Google Home can be great for reducing your energy costs. The Google Home Hub can control your lights, appliances and have a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature in your home for efficiency and could save you up to $180 a year.[ii]
- Invest in solar. Installing solar is the best thing you can to reduce your energy bill and it’s a long-term investment for your home and your family.
As mentioned before, teenagers can still be a little new to the concept of doing the washing. As such they might do things like put on a quarter of a load of washing on a heavy soak or spend so much time drying their clothes that they shrink.
- Have a family washing day. Allocate one day a week for the entire family to do all their washing to avoid multiple unnecessary loads throughout the week.
- Go Op Shopping. Teenagers are notorious for wanting new clothes all the time. Luckily for you, we’re in an age where vintage is cool and op shopping is the new online shopping.
As you can see, there are many ways to save money on household expenses while raising teenagers. Small swaps and slight changes in lifestyle habits can greatly impact your bottom line and save you thousands over the duration of a year. We hope you have found some of these hacks to be helpful and can incorporate them into your own home to stay on top of your 2020 financial goals.
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