Monday 24 October 2016

How to Save Money While Caring for Your Kids AND Your Aging Parents

With more millennials living at home and seniors living well past retirement, the people providing financial care for both populations are being spread pretty thin. For families who care for the young and old, there are some great ways to cut back on spending that won’t feel like too much of a sacrifice.

Save Money Without Feeling the Pinch With These Tips

The small investments you make for your family add up — especially if they’re all being deducted at the same time. From preschool and college tuition to healthcare for your parents, you may see more red at the end of the month than you’d like. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but small choices can mean big savings. Try these ideas on for size.

Shop Secondhand

When you go thrift shopping, you can be environmentally conscience while saving scratch. The creation of clothing takes a lot of energy, both human and industrial. Most of the clothing on the market today isn’t sustainable or environmentally sound. When you purchase items secondhand, you save the world one level of industrial pollution.

But secondhand shopping is good for your pocketbook, too. Kids grow out of clothes — fast. Find brand-name clothes at reduced prices when you thrift-shop or hit consignment stores. For furniture items or household goods, check out Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. You can get a good deal there while helping your community.

Shop in Bulk and Clip Coupons

You don’t have to buy massive amounts of everything available at Sam’s Club or Costco, but certain items are cheaper when you buy in large quantities, especially when there’s a lot of people at home. Toilet paper, paper towels and coffee are perfect things to purchase in bulk.

Keep an eye out for coupons, too. You can clip the old-fashioned way and wait for a mailer, but it’s more efficient to search the web for what you want. Many grocery stores now have coupon codes they enter. Ask your grocery cashier if the store uses this code and, if so, if they’ll run it for you. When you’re purchasing for your elderly parents, ask for senior discounts, and when you’ve got kids in tow, look for student discounts. Both are there to benefit people on limited budgets.

Cut Back and Consume Less

First, consider living arrangements. It may make more sense to have your college kid live at home if your elderly parent needs additional care. Don’t feel like what you have today is your only option. Think of everyone’s space as a piece of a puzzle, and try to arrange it in such a way that it benefits the most people. If it means helping the budget, it will likely be helpful to everyone.

Once you’ve arranged living spaces, work to consume less as a family. It’s easier to not eat the cookie than to run off the calories later. The same is true about spending. Getting rid of your cable, for instance, can mean more time spent with your family and a big savings. A game that you can play with young and old is a great substitute, and it’s a lot cheaper.

Use Technology

Find how big-box stores are using technology to gain customers and use it to your advantage. Target offers a debit/credit card that gives you 5% off your purchase. Walmart has a Savings Catcher that compares prices on your receipt to deals at other local shops, then reimburses the difference.

Some stores will offer online-only promotions. If you’re need of a big-ticket item, check for it in the brick-and-mortar store, and then look online to see if there are any promotions for it at other locations.

Check Your Statements

Statements are a world of info. Always look for mistakes — human error can still affect your bank account or electricity bill. Next, look at how much you pay for, versus how much you actually use. Do you need all the data that’s in your plan? Or will the next one down cover your needs? If you aren’t ready to lose cable, consider whether you need the package you have, or if you can downsize it.

It may seem like small choices, but these numbers add up fast.

Care for All Those You Love — And Look for Savings

Whether your children live at home, in a dorm or you’re supporting them across the map, encourage them to live frugally. They can find healthy choices on a ramen budget. For instance, look for co-operatives that sell yesterday’s fruit at a discount. For aging parents who live with your or in a personal care home, spend time making a plan for daily expenses and long-term care.

Small choices today can make a big difference tomorrow.

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