With sky-high inflation still impacting hard-working Illinois families and the new school year set to begin, it’s important to consider ways to save money. Food prices, gasoline costs, interest rates, rent and almost all living expenses continue to rise, and with little end in sight. Saving money in the current economic climate may not be easy, but there are tips and strategies that can be utilized to help families.
Back-to-school spending is expected to reach record highs this year across the country. Back-to-school costs expected to reach new high (chicagotribune.com) And in Chicago, parents spend $886 per child on average, which is 34 percent more than the national average. With inflation and no sales tax holiday in place this year, many families will have difficult choices to make.
For those families that are serious about saving money, the first step would be to build a family budget. Planning out all incoming or outgoing expenses for a period of time (weekly or monthly) can help get the process rolling. Keeping the lines of communication open for all members of the family and being flexible also helps, as does building a baseline of expenses. There are numerous sites that offer tips and strategies to save money, including 6 Ways to Reduce Your Family’s Spending And Save More Money , Six Fun Ways to Save as a Family, 23 Ways To Save Money on Back-to-School Items, 7 ways to save money on family expenses, and 17 Money-Saving Tips for Families on a Budget.
A summary list of methods and ways to save money includes:
• Use what you already have, and only buy what you use.
• Eat as many meals at home as possible; pack a lunch for the kids.
• Stick to firm budgets and plan ahead for special occasions (birthdays, holidays, travel).
• Elect for more at-home family game nights for entertainment.
• Declutter the house and hold a garage sale.
• Bargain shop for those school supplies and do some research ahead of time.
• When possible, buy items in bulk to share costs with neighbors and friends.
• Search for coupons and apps.
• Avoid expensive name brand items when possible.
• Don’t buy what you don’t need yet.
• Follow community sites on social media for deals and discounts.
• Reduce energy usage at home; turn items off that are not being used.
• Check your subscription services and reduce where possible; those fees add up quickly.
• Seek out free or frugal ways of family entertainment (picnics, parks, zoos, museum trips).
• Develop meal plans and specific items to get prior to grocery store trips.
Families in Illinois can still enjoy their everyday lives and live life to the fullest while also finding those key components to saving money. And the new school year serves as an important reminder as parents shop for those necessary school supplies.