Being a frugal family starts with being savvy on necessary household expenses. Here’s a look at a few tips to help you get started.

Create a Food Budget (And Stick to It)

One of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is to never go when you’re hungry. It’s also best to shop during the early part of the week when the store is less crowded. A smaller crowd means less stress, which is essential for budget-conscious shopping. Make sure to create a food budget and have everyone chip in with their food ideas. There’s nothing wrong with picking up snacks that the whole family enjoys, but try to steer clear of the bakery. Pre-made cakes and donuts are rather expensive. Oatmeal is a cheap substitute for donuts, and it’s healthier too!

A great way to stick to a monthly food budget is to plan your meals weekly. Take cash to the grocery store to avoid overspending, and don’t forget your smartphone. Use an app like Flipp to search for the best deals on food. You can even use the app to see what’s on sale at your local grocery store and plan your meals accordingly.

Get Rid of the House Phone

The National Center of Health Statistics says 59% of households in the U.S. still have landline phones. The average cost of a basic house phone costs $15 to $30 a month. When you tack on caller ID and call waiting, the monthly cost can easily exceed $50 a month. That’s $600 a year! If you can’t go without a landline phone, consider bundling your house phone service with your Internet service. Bundling can save a lot of money, especially when you bundle cable, Internet, and house phone services.

Take Advantage of Cash Back Rewards

You’ll need extreme discipline to follow this tip and save money at the same time. You’ll also need a credit card that provides a decent cash back rate. Ideally, you’ll want a card that provides cash back on all purchases. If you have one that only provides cash back on gas and food purchases, you can at least save on these necessary expenses. Think about it. If you charge $40,000 a year to a card with 2% cash back, you’ll earn back $800 in cash back savings. Plus, you’re giving your credit score a huge boost. To save money with cash back rewards, you MUST pay your balance off in full each month before the interest kicks in.

Shop Ahead for Gifts

Creating a strict holiday spending budget and shopping early for Christmas makes it easy to save money. You can snag amazing deals several months in advance. Memorial Day and Labor Day sales make for the perfect time to shop for everyone in the family. If you pick up $5 T-shirts for all of your nieces and nephews, you’ll save a ton of money while still getting everyone on your list a gift. Put Christmas and birthday gifts on your credit card with a cash back rewards program to build up your savings.

Frugal habits can save you lots of money. One dollar at a time, you can build a financially secure future for your family.

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