50 Fantastically Frugal Tips for Families

9 min read

Saving money, and monitoring budgets, can be hard work, particularly when you’ve got a family to provide for.

Is it really possible for families to be frugal without losing their minds? Absolutely!

We love frugal tips at SAHM. In fact it’s the very core of our attitude when it comes to families and spending. Being frugal doesn’t always need to be about missing out, sometimes, it’s about making smart choices now, for rewards later. Here are some of our favourite frugal tips.

Let us know yours as well!

How to Audit Your Grocery Bill in 7 Minutes (and Save Tons) | Stay at Home Mum
How to Audit Your Grocery Bill in 7 Minutes (and Save Tons) | Stay at Home Mum

How to Save Money on Food

1. Shop Seasonally and Locally

Hit your local farmers market and get an idea of what’s in season, that’s where the savings are.  Even better, go to the markets about an hour before they close, farmers often don’t want to take any unsold produce home and reduce the price – so grab the good deals!

2. Cook From Scratch

Convenience foods can be handy, but they eat up your money fast. Anything, from pasta sauce to muffin bars, can easily be made at home for less.

3. Use Everything Up!

Avoid throwing away money through food waste. Make stock from chicken bones and save vegetable pieces for stock, stews or compost. Even keeping the crusts of the bread and keeping them together in the freezer can be made into stuffing.  Before you throw it out – think about how you can use it up.

4. Menu Plan

Sit down and properly figure out what you’ll be eating for the week, fortnight or month. This makes it easier to shop effectively, waste less, and trim excess.

5. Don’t Go In-between Shopping

Work hard to get everything you need in one shop. Going to the shop in-between generally results in more money spent unnecessarily.

6. Price Up Meals

Take some time to price up your favourite family meals and think about how you can cut the serving cost down. Under $10 meals can be delicious, check out our Under $10 Recipes!

7. Always Look At Unit Prices

When shopping don’t get caught up in the overall price, look at the unit price and then compare.

8. Buy In Bulk

Buy in bulk if you can, either online or locally. Also if something you use regularly is on sale, buy in bulk and store it.

9. Have a Meat Free Monday

Have a few meatless nights in a week. Meat is expensive, but it can be easily and nutritionally replaced with beans, legumes and hearty vegetables. A couple of delicious meat-free recipes that are family friendly include:

10. Start A Vegetable Garden

If you have green space, use it to grow some vegetables. Look at quick yield items like eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers. No space? Grow herbs on your balcony.

11. Share And Swap

When you start growing vegetables, network with others around you for useful swaps. Got chickens? Swap eggs for vegetables or vice versa.

12. Avoid Snack Size

Kids love ‘snack size’ items, but they’re a black hole in the budget. Buy big and then split up at home, saving your wallet and the environment.

13. Double Up And Freeze

When you’re making a family favourite, double all the ingredients and then freeze the leftovers. This stops you from opting for takeaway on a lazy day.

14. Slowcook Cheap Cuts

Choose cheaper cuts of meat and then whack them in the slowcooker for juicy, tender and delicious meals at low costs.

15. Have A Cook Up Day

Spend a day with your kids, or by yourself, in the kitchen making a week, fortnight or month of bread, pasta sauce or snacks that can be frozen to save on convenience food purchases.

16. Do A Grocery-Free Week (or month!)

Challenge yourself to use everything in your fridge and pantry one week, potentially saving hundreds on shopping that week.

How to Save Money Around the Home

17. Start A Compost Bin

Turn the food waste you can’t avoid into super useful compost for your garden, or even your potted plants. Never buy potting mix again!

18. Make Your Own Home Cleaners

Did you know that cleaning products and other non-food items can account for over 30% of your grocery bill?  Cleaners, and even laundry powder, can be easily handmade with just a few household ingredients. Make a big batch and save on shopping.

19. Say No To Disposables

Disposable items, from tissues to paper towel, aren’t just wasteful they’re expensive. Buy microfibre cloths and wash-clothes instead and wash them in your washing machine with your towels.

20. Advertise Before You Throw

Simplifying your life? Never throw anything away before you advertise it for sale on Gumtree or other local buying groups on Facebook. One man’s trash…

21. Baking Nights

Cold evening? Declare a baking night and spend the entire evening whipping up batches of bread, baked snacks and more while warming your home.

22. A/C Maintenance

Figure out how to properly clean, or change, your air-conditioning filters, saving you on your electricity bill.

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23. Be Smart With Defrosting

Don’t waste electricity with the microwave. Plan ahead to defrost meat in the fridge the day, or two days for large cuts, before.

24. Self Cutting

Try and do your own hair cuts wherever possible, definitely on your kids and your hubby too if he’s up for it.

25. Get A Money Jar

Buy a big tin (not transparent) and drop all your spare change in there at the end of the day or week. Crack it open at Christmas for the extras.

26. Brandless Bums

Always buy both nappies and wipes in bulk as much as possible, and don’t worry about the brands. They aren’t always higher quality.

27. Thrift It First

Need something for your house? Before you shop new check out local secondhand markets and op shops.

How to Save Money on Clothing

28. Buy Second Hand & Clearance

Always try to buy your clothes either second hand or on clearance. There’s no shame in gently used, and kids grow so fast anyway.

50 Fantastically Frugal Tips for Families | Stay at Home Mum


29. In Advance

When clothes are on special, buy items in a bigger size for your kids next year. This saves you having to madly buy clothes when they outgrow their old ones.

30. Use The Line

Where possible, particularly on sunny days, rely on sun drying your clothes with a clothes line or rack. Your electricity bill will thank you!

31. Cold Wash

Don’t stress about washing your clothes in hot water. Cold water is still effective as it’s the movement of the machine that does the work.

32. Learn How To Sew

This might be old school, but will some simple sewing skills you can repair small tears that might have otherwise retired clothing, and much more.

Regular Expenses

33. Shop Around

Loyalty used to be rewarded, but not anymore. Always shop around for your car and home insurance, as well as for your bank.

34. Take Stock Of All Bills

When bills come in, always look them over, both for mistakes and to see where you could stand to save money.

35. Private Health Bonuses

If you have private health, look at what extras you could access. Companies offer discounts on everything from holidays to tickets.

36. Dress Smart

When it’s cold, dress warmly and save money on heating. When it’s hot, dress in light clothes and have short cold showers to cool you down instead of using air-conditioning.

37. Switch It Off

When you aren’t using something, switch it off. Modern appliances use more power on standby than you think!

38. Pay Annually

When given the opportunity, and if you have the funds, always save annually. You can often save hundreds of dollars compared to monthly billing.

39. Talk To Your Bank

If you’re trying to cut costs, always go in and talk to your bank about what’s available. Ask where they offer opportunities to save on fees and charges.

40. DIY Car Maintenance

For small things with your car, like changing the oil, figure out how to do it yourself and save money on mechanics.

41. Buy A Thermos

A small thermos is cheap, but allows you to take your own coffee with you to work or out, saving on take away coffee.

42. Get A Decent Water Bottle

Invest in a quality water bottle and don’t throw your money away on expensive, polluting bottled water.

Everything Else

43. Borrow Books, Don’t Buy

Kids go through books quickly, so don’t buy them. Take advantage of your library instead for more variety and choice.

44. Same For Toys

Many cities and towns in Australia now have toy libraries, which are a great way to avoid the cycle of new toys all the time.

45. Household Items Too

Not everything needs to be bought new, especially if it isn’t often used. Before you buy, see if you can borrow it from a friend or rent it.

46. Wait Before You Buy

Set an upper limit, and for anything above this limit that isn’t immediately required (i.e. urgently), wait either overnight or one week before buying to curb impulse spending.

47. Enjoy Nature’s Playground

Kids can be easily entertained by a trip to the beach or a walk in a national park, instead of an expensive outing to the movies or bowling alley.

48. Family Game Night

On the weekend, instead of falling into the “I’m bored” trap, organise a family game night and keep everyone entertained in-house for free.

49. Do DIY Gifts

There are so many great ideas for DIY presents out there, for kids and adults alike. Save money on your kids friends, as well as your own, by making presents for birthdays and Christmas.

50. Swap Babysitting

Hate to spend big on a babysitter? Swap babysitting with a friend by having their kids over one night so they can go out, then swapping another night so you can.

What are your frugal tips for your family?

50 Fantastically Frugal Tips for Families

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