When your family begins to grow, so do the expenses. It can be hard to try to account for college savings, car loans, gas money, school expenses, clothing, and food as you continue to add on to the family. That is why Banterra Bank is here to offer our favorite budgeting tips for a big family.

Planning Is Key

You will need to be a rockstar at taking notes, planning meals, and figuring out who really needs what. You will want to plan your meals for every week (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). By planning your meals out exactly, you can know the items you need at the store and not stray from your list. The same goes for school supplies and clothing – list out who needs what. Are there clothes that can become hand-me-downs for another child? Are there old notebooks, pencils, highlighters, scissors, glue, and crayons that can be reused for the school year? Noting what you have and who truly needs something new is a perfect plan to start budgeting for each family member.

Secondhand Will Save You

As mentioned above, there are so many ways you can reuse. Clothing is a big one, but you can also look at toys, art supplies, school supplies, bedding, sports equipment, bikes, shoes, and books. Anything one child has grown out of, no longer is interested in, or has no use for can be handed down to the child it fits best now. When you have a large family, sometimes its best not to declutter as you’ll probably use that item again at some point, if not right away.

Say ‘No’

When you have a larger family, it will not be as easy saying ‘yes’ to everything. You do have to think about expenses more so get comfortable with saying ‘no.’ Also work on explanations for why they can’t have or do something. The more understanding your children will be, the easier it makes things. Be sure to reward everyone a few times to allow for some freedom and fun.

Track Expenses

To go along with planning, you’ll want to note your exact expenses every month. There are apps that can help you easily track and budget. You want to mark down expenses for each child, monthly bills, savings, loans, and random expenses. After noting this for a few months, you’ll be in a better place to see patterns and find the areas you can cut or trim down to save more.

Dine In

When you go out to eat, you have the appetizers, drinks, food, sides, and tip that all come into play. Even if it doesn’t seem like that much extra, it adds up after a few times. Be sure to stick to that plan for groceries and meals mentioned above. If you need an easy meal or a night off, plan a night to make homemade or frozen pizzas as a family instead of eating out.

Find Free Fun

There are so many activities that families can enjoy for free. Playing outside, going to a friend’s house, a free movie showing, local town events, church camps and school events can all be free options for child entertainment. Get creative and feel free to search for ideas online. There are several entertaining activities that you can do from your own home, such as coloring, scavenger hunts, online games, building a fort, hosting a magic show, tea parties, board games, chalk art, etc.

We hope these solutions give you a good start to budgeting better with a large family. When you have some extra savings after the next few months, be sure to store that safely in an accessible savings account.

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