How to Transition to Becoming a Frugal Family

Frugal Families: Living Better With Less

Take your children shopping with you, and let them help make decisions.
Take your children shopping with you, and let them help make decisions.
Andersen Ross/Iconica/Getty Images

As we mentioned, it's possible for frugal living to bring your family closer together. The selfless sacrifices a budget requires might help everyone refocus energies on each other rather than on him or herself. It also might force everyone to seek their entertainment from each other rather than in expensive individual gadgets like computers and cell phones.

In order to both spend less money and promote family bonding, consider some cheap family activities. If your family enjoys the outdoors, this should be easy. For instance, find an interesting trail near your home, and set aside a day to go on a bike ride or hike together. Camp sites might be expensive, but you can improvise by setting up a camping night right in your own back yard. For a longer-term project, start a garden together. Younger kids especially appreciate being able to help in the garden and anxiously anticipate seeing the things they plant finally grow.

Also consider some inexpensive destinations. You can go to overlooks or find parks and other interesting grounds to walk around in. If you have the discipline to not buy anything, you can window shop in antique and historic districts, which is a simple way to expose kids to history. Research the entrance fees for any local museums. Some only ask for a modest donation, while others may offer special family discount days. Your local town or city might offer free activities, especially during the summer, such as outdoor movie screenings that are perfect for a family picnic.

Staying in for family bonding nights can be just as fun as going out. Many families have game nights, where they play their favorite board games or cards. If your family loves movies, pop in an old favorite for an occasional movie night. Another idea is to set aside time for teaching handy skills, from knitting and sewing to hammering a nail. Many kids grow up nowadays without having learned some of these simple (but extremely practical) skills that also save money. If you yourself never learned, the family can find instructions, and you can all teach yourselves together.

Even though it can be difficult to start a budget, the important thing is to stay positive and see it as an opportunity. In addition to the sense of personal accomplishment you can get by sticking to a budget, you might be able to improve your family relationship, which is invaluable.

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