Getting the Essentials


family cooking togetherPhoto © JupiterWhen money is tight, it is vital to pay close attention to your spending. Understanding how much things cost is a first step to creating a realistic budget for your home. Keep receipts for everything you buy and review them. Once you know how you are spending your money, make decisions on where to cut back. Try some of these ideas and see how, with little effort, you can scale back:

  • To save on food:
    • Make a list. Keep a pen and paper handy in the kitchen so that you can list the items that you’ll need to buy at the grocery store. This list will help you avoid making unnecessary or impulse purchases. It will also help you avoid going to the store spontaneously or returning to the store to get something you’ve forgotten.
    • Clip coupons. You’ll find great, cost-cutting coupons in the newspaper, the mail, and even at the store. You can also check out the Internet for money-saving deals and coupons on items that your family uses regularly.
    • Freeze leftovers. Instead of throwing away unused portions, freeze them and warm them up and serve them another day.
  • To save on clothing, books, and music:
    Create a lending club. Find a group of friends to share music, books, videos, clothes, and even toys. Your children will be thrilled at the new things that come into their life. They can even help choose a special toy or book that they’d like to lend to a friend.
  • To save on transportation:
    Try taking a public bus or train, riding a bike, or even walking when you need to travel a short distance. You could also share a ride; team up with others and start a carpool.

Next: Having Fun Together

Support for PBS Parents provided&nsbp;by:
Add a PBS KIDS character to your photos at the Photo Factory on PBS Parents