Raising a family can be costly but there are still ways you can manage to save.

Managing your family’s finances needn’t be a complicated affair, sometimes the simplest tips can make a difference to your household budget. Explore these strategies to start saving and make a positive difference to your financial lifestyle.

1. Live within your means

Yes, I know this sounds super obvious, but if you want to keep your finances in check and eventually get ahead you can’t spend more than you earn. Yet millions of Australians are doing just that: living from pay check to pay check and blowing out their credit cards for extras and unexpected expenses. In fact, Australia has one of the fastest growing credit card debts in the world. A recent report by ASIC shows that Australians owe $45 billion in credit card debt. More than one in six Australians — around 1.9 million people — are struggling to repay their debt. So, ditch your card, put a payment plan into action and resolve to get your spending under control.

2. Make a budget

Get yourself a budget tracking app and start tracking your spending. It can be very difficult to budget without an accurate measure of your outgoings. Track everything from groceries to bills to the money you spend on lunches and entertainment and everything in between. Once you have a complete picture of your outgoings you will have a real understanding of how and where you spend your money. Then you can get down to the task of cutting the fat. That is, slimming down the budget extras that are eating up your money each month.

3. Can’t afford it? Don’t buy it

Remember in the old days how your grandparents would scrimp and save to buy those expensive items? That philosophy is a good one. In a world where instant gratification rules and afterpay and credit cards make it simple to get what you want whenever you want it, it is easy to forget the value of money, the value of a product and the hard work that comes with acquiring it. Bottom line is, if you can’t afford to pay cash for an item, you shouldn’t buy it. Save for it instead!

4. Avoid emotional buying and impulse purchases

Sometimes when it comes to big ticket items our emotions can get the better of us especially if we let our heart rather than our head govern our financial decisions. To avoid making a purchase on impulse buy try not to make big financial decisions ‘in the moment’. Instead, take time out to mull over the pros and cons of the purchase. When making big purchase decisions such as a new home, investment property or vehicle then take the emotion out of it. In the case of a home, purchase consider using a buying agent. For other big items at least take time out to sleep on the decision which will give you a chance to view your investment through fresh eyes.

5.  Make a financial vision board

Get yourself motivated for better spending habits by creating a financial vision board. Create a timeline and use dates and numbers to decide what you want and when. Do you want to pay off debt? Save for a holiday, a car? Put it on the board and set your goals. Break down your goals into manageable bite-sized portions so you stay motivated to reach your dreams.