Having a family can be very expensive, especially when you go from two people to three, four or even five. Obviously there’s nothing in life that compares to having a family and the joy your children will bring into your life, but there’s also nothing wrong with trying to be mindful of how to best manage your finances so that you can life comfortably, save for their college and also set aside a tidy nest egg for your own retirement. Here are 3 ways to save money on your family expenses so you can be better off in the long run:

1. Consider Homeschooling

Depending on the schooling options available in your area, the number of children you have or plan to have, your working salaries and the costs of education locally, homeschooling might be a wonderful way to save money on your family expenses while having a special relationship with your children. Obviously to cut costs shouldn’t be the only reason you consider education your children yourself, but many homeschooling parents find that it is just one of the many benefits to dedicating themselves to educating their own children. If there’s a few good options locally, then this might not be the best approach for your family, but it’s worth discussing.

2. Meal Plan
So many families throw out so much money each week in the form of wasted food. It can be hard to predict how much you’ll need, how fast your children will eat everything, especially with a growing family. I find one of the best ways to combat this is by having a clear meal plan. This means that I only buy the foods we need for the week ahead, and everyone knows what meals are coming. I’ve noticed by implementing a meal plan when I go to the supermarket we’re maybe cutting our grocery bill down by 25% as I’m not just randomly buying things hoping that I can make something edible out of the combination. Make a list of all the recipes you want to make for the week, as well as all the vegetables, herbs, spices, meats and everything else you need to make them. You’ll be surprised by how much money you can save by being a little more organized.

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3. Car Pool
If you have to do the school run with your children, why not look into creating a carpool with other parents nearby. It can save you not only gas money, but also time spent being your children’s taxi each day. It can also be a really fun way to bond with other parents as well as fostering other friendships between your children and theirs. Can you imagine how much money you’ll save over the course of the month if you’re only doing the school run once or twice a week, versus every single day?

Having a family can be expensive, but with these three small changes you can save more money so that you can spend your money on creating memories together, putting into their college fund or maybe even a romantic getaway just the two of you!