Pinching Pennies

Many of us have vowed to save more and spend less. But how can we really make that financial goal happen?

For busy parents, the key is to keep it simple. Life with kids is complicated enough-your financial plan need not be.

Begin with some self-examination and choose one area where your family can make a change.  You'll have more success when working together, and you'll feel better when you master one thing before moving on to the next.

Consider these simple ways your family can save:

Eat In

Instead of dining out, gather your family in the kitchen for a cooking-in night. You'll slice your food budget while creating some quality time. Even your littlest one can help with the meal-and likely will be more willing to eat it. Make a habit of cooking in and you will not only save money, you will eat better, eat healthier and raise kids who know how to cook.

Kick off your family cooking night with a recipe your Sproutlet will love.

Get Outdoors

Whatever the season, open the door and get outside. Rake leaves, build a snowman, climb a tree, pull some weeds, or walk to the park. Your family will enjoy healthy, low-cost fun and develop an appreciation for nature.

Build Community

Create a culture of sharing among friends and extended family. Exchange gently used clothes and toys, plan a Friday-night babysitting swap, or borrow a tool instead of buying a new one. You'll save money and develop deeper relationships as you give more of yourself.

Embrace Homemade

Homemade isn't always an option in today's fast-paced world. But when it is, consider it. Gifts are a great place to start. With basic supplies, your budding artist can create meaningful and affordable gifts for birthdays and holidays. Baked goods are another yummy place to save money while inspiring a young chef.

Find more homemade ideas for your Sproutlet on our crafts and recipes pages.

Live the Good Life… Only Better

Everyone needs a little splurge. Your family's favorite things should be prioritized… and economized.  Discounts and coupons can help. If you love going to the zoo or a museum consider a membership, which usually pays for itself after two or three visits. If you love going out to eat, watch for "kids eat free" nights or search for two-for-one coupons. Make a family game out of getting the best deal for your meal.

Family Resolution Chart

Create a family resolution to save and simplify. Print our kid-friendly chart, commit to a family goal, and let your child tally success with crayons or stickers.