Your monthly household budget can run out pretty quickly, especially when you’re a parent. With school and afterschool activities, commitments, and clothes (that they’re always growing out of!), not to mention the rising cost of living. . . things can be a little crazy! But, if you take the time to understand where your money is going (and why), you can find ways to be more aware, save, and conserve (without totally restricting your lifestyle).
Here are a few unexpected items that may be impacting your household budget, and what to do about them:
The Weekly Groceries
You can spend upwards of 10% of your total monthly budget on food alone, which is a huge percentage when you consider everything else you have to pay for! Depending on the size of your family, you could be spending at least $500 per month! Even on a higher income this can be a real stretch.
So, take a minute and check your most recent grocery store receipts. How do they measure up? What’s the average price when you compare them all? Because, believe it or not, it’s possible to cut this bill in half. Here are a few ways: You can wait for sales, buy cupboard staples in bulk, go ‘coupon hunting,’ and solely purchase off-brand items.
Doctor Visits and Medications
How many prescriptions do you have to fill each month? Because even if one person in your household needs to take pills, use an inhaler, or even just take a spoonful of cough syrup on occasion, the cost can really add up!
Adults in America can spend around $1200 on medication per year, and if you have more than one person to take care of, you can watch this rate become exponential and unaffordable (even with health insurance on your side!).
But it’s not all bad news. There are ways to save money on prescription drugs. First, make sure you’re shopping around for the deals before committing, as some stores have better prices than others. At the same time, be sure to check out copay prices and see how these fees compare to just purchasing the drug outright. (Sometimes it can be cheaper to drum up the cash yourself!)
Fuel & Transport
Do you have a family car? If so, you’re probably spending around $9000 per year to use it! Of course you can factor in airplane costs, bus tickets, and train fares into these numbers as well. . .but most families tend to rely on their own transport (outside of leisure travel).
And on a monthly basis that divides down to $750 at the basic level, which is a crazy amount! You can try to cut back here by reducing the amount you use the car, and/or carpooling as much as possible. And remember, public transport is always an option, too!
Your household budget covers quite a few things (and many that aren’t mentioned in this list), but some expenses can be more hefty than others. These everyday expenses—food, medical, and transport—can add more than you realize. Be sure to continually check where your money is going and how you can lessen the impact.