35 Money-Saving Tips Every Struggling Parent Needs to Know

tips for saving money

Do you sometimes do the weekly grocery shop and then feel sick in the stomach when you see the bill?

Have you ever got home at night and found your house lit up like a Christmas tree – yet everyone in the family should have known that you are struggling to pay the power?

your house

These kind of things happen to us all the time.

Tracey Durham sent us a massive list of money saving ideas, plus we have also included tips from a couple of weeks ago when we asked our community for ways to save money.

Thank you so much to all that helped share their ideas.

    Everyday Money Saving Ideas


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  1. Workout at home, or outdoors, that way you can cancel your gym membership
  2. Turn off lights your not using (and train the kids to do this)
  3. Turn off the microwave at the wall
  4. Turn off the oven at the wall (it’s only on if your not cooking so you can see the time)
  5. Turn off anything at the wall that you can when you don’t use it – doesn’t save millions but it helps in the “long” term
  6. Sew and Make clothes
  7. Saving Money Tips On Food


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  8. Anything you normally buy if it is on the “big sale” get a couple of extras (unless of course it is not something that will keep).
  9. Tracey’s tips:

    I bought 4 boxes of tissues which come in really handy in winter with kids for $1 each, normally $1.50 or so each.

    Good saving and won’t have to buy any for a while.

  10. Fill out your meals, pasta, stir fry etc with any veges you can find and/or mince or whatever meat is on sale at the supermarket (I only buy if it has the “reduced for quick sale” which I then freeze and eat same day I defrost. Often saving $3 to $4 a meal)
  11. Rice is a really great meal, I can feed 5 of us with a family size Rice pack and a pack of mince and whatever veges are left in the fridge. Total cost of about $10 – not bad I think?
  12. They don’t have to have biscuits. They can eat apples/bananas/oranges whatever was on sale that week. If they don’t want to eat them then they weren’t hungry!!
  13. Kids don’t need juice, give them water, or milk (yes we know milk is expensive but it is good for them and 2 litres for $3.50 is possible most of the time).
  14. Shop at Pak N Save, if you have one
  15. (I put the baby bath in the boot of the car and use that instead of bags – yes it’s annoying but it is cheaper as a rule) but you don’t have to only go there.

  16. Check out the specials at the more expensive (usually) stores in the junk mail if you receive it
  17. sometimes what you buy often will be on sale at those stores cheaper.

    Obviously you don’t want to waste fuel etc to get the saving of perhaps 50 cents but if your going to be near the store buy it there. (Again, only if you have money left)

  18. Take a calculator with you to the supermarket. You know exactly how much your spending.
  19. CHECK THE BILL!! Sometimes they get it wrong when they change the prices on things each week.
  20. I almost spent $14 on a 4kg tub of margarine that I never bought once!

    Only found it because my bill was too high!! It’s happened more than once!!


    When checking your bill you don’t have to hold up the entire line and stay at the cashier!

    Just move your trolley along a bit and read your bill, then go straight to the information kiosk and get your money back!

    They re-scanned my whole shopping twice to make sure there was a mistake it took time but I KNEW I was right!

  21. Garden if you can, growing your own veges etc is way cheaper
  22. Learn how to brew your own alcohol (or give up alcohol completely)
  23. Rob’s attempt at homebrew! Not bad.


  24. If you have a baby that is on solids, make your own baby food and freeze it in ice cube trays.
  25. Get hold of a couple of chooks so you don’t have to buy eggs (Yes you can have chickens in most towns, check your local council bylaws)
  26. Finances

  27. Pay things weekly (set up an AP most online banks let you do it for free just set them up yourself) for your power, phone (if you have one), day care costs and house and water rates (if you have them) just take the annual figure divide by 52 and pay that amount each week to them.
  28. Yes they get the money in advance but at least you have it sorted before your hit with a $0000 bill. Sometimes you get lucky, your in credit – compulsory saving. You can if necessary stop the payments and have an extra few dollars that week.

    I couldn’t do it with my insurances but I sucked up the 10% fee (probably wasting all my other savings) to pay it monthly because I couldn’t find over $1,000 every March – normally though you can pay these 6 monthly or perhaps 3 monthly – ask your insurer.

  29. Change insurers, check prices elsewhere . Its a great idea to do comparisons every 6 months or so.
  30. NEVER EVER EVER use your credit card (unless its life or death of course) if you do not have the money to transfer directly to it – it will just EAT you up!
  31. Buy your clothing at end of season or in super sales. Postie have some great deals especially for kids clothes, under $5 for a lot of items. All depends on when you have cash but never EVER buy on a whim.
  32. Other Easy Money Saving Tips

  33. Girls and boys – do your own hair, girls – nails etc. (if there is anyone even still indulging in that luxury) Boys, find a set of clippers.
  34. I get my hair cut every 6 months (or longer) and I dye my hair with a packet dye. Most I’ve paid is $10 for a box of dye (it was an emergency!)

    Usually they are on sale for $5 at least once during the 6 -8 weeks I need before I scare children with my regrowth.

  35. Sky is a luxury, they call it Freeview – cause it’s free!
  36. Heat the lounge and the kids rooms, as for yourself, you can probably manage a cold room at night and in the morning
  37. You’ve spent years pulling the covers up and over you!

  38. You don’t really need an electric blanket for yourself – you will warm it up in a few minutes (yes I know they are nice!)
  39. Sleep in (if you can convince the kids) or go to bed early (just don’t make any more kids!) if your not out of bed your not using any electricity (other than the essentials, fridge etc)
  40. Get thicker curtains to put up (for winter) to help keep the heat in. Try the buy & sell places on Facebook or Trademe the stuff sells for NOTHNG!!!
  41. Visit your family and friends if they are nearby (free meals, free heating, child entertainment and in most cases fun!)
  42. Sell stuff that you are not using. There are plenty of FREE places and ways to do this – the Buy & Sell pages on Facebook are always selling good stuff cheap, just don’t expect to make a lot on anything you don’t need anymore!
  43. Reuse what you can, sometimes you can turn something you think is rubbish into something else
  44. Not all of us can do this but my man is great at it!! (Probably because I won’t let him spend any money!!)

  45. Walk – if you have jobs to do in town and it really isn’t that far to do them on foot do them on foot! Driving 500 metres is a complete waste of fuel – WALK!!
  46. Don’t try the on off thing with the hot water cylinder. Just leave it on!
  47. Check with your power company though that you are on the right user setting – low/high etc., there are different plans!

  48. You don’t need a flash car, just one that goes well and doesn’t use too much gas.

Don’t try to keep up with the “Jones’” just do your own thing.

Who cares what anyone else thinks?

I go without myself to make sure there is enough, I need to visit a dentist and have for months but still avoiding that huge expense, I wait until I am dying to see the Doctor and usually end up alive so no visit required!!


If your really stuck don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.

Also, you don’t have to consider everything offered to you as charity – we as a nation waste so much sometimes it is nice to be able to give excess to others (over flow of veges or fruit from the neighbours etc).

Good luck!! Let us know your own ideas in the comments so that others can benefit from your great life hacks!

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1 Comment

  1. Hi there these are all fantastic idea’s thanks heaps.
    1 thing we have done this year for the first time is preserving anything we can. We now have peaches, fejoas,mint sauce,apples all in jars.
    It is very time consuming but we are lucky enough to have fruit trees to be able to do this. We just re-use jars and went on Google to learn how to preserve. It’s really easy if I can do it ANYONE can!!!

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