Creating a big difference on a small budget

10 tips on how to make more of your family budget

When there’s not much left over at the end of the month, we often wonder “where does all that money keep going?”. Family costs – and the household budget can quickly become quite tight, especially when unforeseen costs arise. Here we will give you 10 tips on how to get more out of your budget – without your family missing out.

1. Budget aufstellen – das muss sein! 

Creating a household budget sounds boring to many at first. Are you even a little afraid of finding out exactly where your money goes every month? Then your family definitely needs a budget. It’s not that much effort! Sit down and realistically list all of your family’s expenses each month. Rent, health insurance, daycare, food, public transportation – it’s easy. But don’t forget how much money you spend each month on subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify and the like, leisure activities or the kids’ hobbies. Once you’ve made a budget, you’ll see exactly how much money you should have left over each month – or where you can squeeze a little more out of the budget. Just as important as creating the budget is reviewing it. Track all your expenses for a month and compare them to your budget. You budgeted 0 CHF for coffee to go, but at the end of the month you spent 150 CHF on it? A budget tracker can be quite an eye-opener!

You don’t have to keep a written account for it. There are now apps like Spendee or the app from Budget Advice Switzerland, that can help you quite easily. 

2. Develop good habits – for yourself and your budget. 

Spending money on things that bring joy to you and your little ones – that should be possible even on a budget. But surely there are also habits among your habits that you can change. Or have you wanted to change for a long time? With a little discipline, you can do something good not only for your budget, but also for yourself. By jogging to work or riding your bike instead of taking the car, for example. Or cook at least a few lunches a week instead of eating out every day. Keep streaming subscriptions to a minimum and plan more game nights instead. What are your money guzzlers that you can trade in for a better quality of life and more room in your budget?

3. Get rid of old ballast, bring in the money!

Since the arrival of Marie Kondo, we all know that clearing out can be quite liberating! Regularly sort out everything you no longer need. Children’s clothes that are too small, kitchen appliances that have never been used, games, dusty heirlooms in the attic … in every household there are unused items that could still make others happy. It’s easy to sell them online at RicardoTutti, on Facebook Marketplace or in various sales groups on Facebook. Or you can organise a flea market with other families in your neighbourhood – and not only improve your budget, but also spend a fun day with friends and children. 

4. Shop smart and save time as well as your nerves.

Shopping smart is not that difficult. It just takes a little planning. Make a weekly plan for your meals and then start working through your shopping list. You can save even more if you take into account special offers and promotions. Then buy in bulk and you’ll be set up for the whole week. Another plus: with a well-planned bulk purchase, you avoid impulse buying, you don’t go shopping when hungry (and then buy things you don’t need), and you don’t have to take the kids to the supermarket as often (and resist the heartbreaking whining).

5. Discover second-hand treasures – also for experiences.

Secondhand doesn’t have to be dusty, stale or old-fashioned – quite the opposite! Just as you can relieve the family budget by selling some of your possessions, you can also relieve it by shopping secondhand. Many children’s things can be found both online and offline – on sales platforms or in Facebook groups, at clothing swap meets and swap exchanges. Also, furniture, household items, sports equipment, clothes, electronics … you can buy practically anything second-hand these days. This is not only good for your wallet, but also for the environment. 

Our extra tip: Look for tickets for children’s theatre or concerts on online platforms before the weekend. If you can’t attend an event at short notice, you can often resell the tickets at a good price. You may be lucky and then you will have a spontaneous experience with your family.  

6. Creative adventures instead of all-inclusive holidays.

Family holidays can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be the beach or a family friendly hotel. Organise creative adventures for your little ones: sleeping in hay, balcony camping, train rides to relatives’ houses or overnight stays in family-friendly hostels … There are many possibilities! While your children are still small, it is also worth booking in the low season. 

7. Renting instead of buying – it’s easy.

How often do you actually need the sledge a year? And how often do you read the latest bestseller? Do you bake cakes in the shape of bears? Do you use the drill? Nowadays, at least in larger cities, you can borrow almost anything. Libraries, game libraries, online lending platforms, but also friends and neighbours are your go-to places for anything you don’t need on a regular basis. In this way you save money and the environment at the same time – and you don’t collect unnecessary ballast gathering dust in your cupboards.  

8. Share instead of own – save together.

Not everything has to belong to you in order for you to use it – and not everything that belongs to you has to be used by you alone. The magic word “sharing” is also becoming increasingly important in business. Find out what you can share – from a parking space and car (e.g. via Mobility or Sharoo), to a car journey (e.g. via BlaBlaCar) and a Disney+ password. Those who share, save. Not so hard, is it?

9. Protect the environment and your budget at the same time. 

Do you want to leave a better world for your children? Set an example of how we can protect our environment? Live sustainably without giving up anything? Many of our household tips can already help you – such as second-hand shopping, cooking meals in advance or healthy habits. You can do even more for the environment and your family budget if you dispose of things cleverly. Conscious recycling not only saves on disposal fees. Reuse canning jars to store leftovers or even as flower vases, use yoghurt pots for crafts, reusable bamboo make-up pads instead of cotton pads…. There are plenty of tips and tricks on the internet – without having to become a “zero waste” family straight away.  

10. Think big: optimise the large costs. 

Many small tips can add up to big things. So far, so good. However, don’t forget the large and regular costs. Find out if you can switch to a cheaper electricity provider. Is there potential to optimise your insurance? Are you paying too much for internet and mobile phone subscriptions? And last but not least, can you optimise your childcare budget? All the other things you have to take into your own hands – for which you surely now have many new ideas. We’ll be happy to help you with the latter.  

You can find more information about how you can relieve your family budget with a loan from Awina here.

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