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Forgotten items, food, drinks, and impulse purchases can make a big impact on the monthly budget. Some of the most expensive trips can be the short ones that we take the most frequently, incurring small expenses that begin to add up and impact the budget. Driving the kids around town to sporting events, school activities, tutoring sessions, and sports practices can be expensive.
To ensure that your regular duties as the family chauffeur do not become both a time consuming and an expensive habit, follow these six tips to keep expenses in check.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #1 – Pack the Snacks. Having a portable snack bag is a lifesaver and a money saver. When the kids blood sugar levels fall, screams, crying, and squabbles can soon follow. Pack a large variety of portable, sealed, and healthy snacks and drinks. Pack the favorite items of your kids and their friends in a portable bag so you can easily take it in and out of the car. Do not forget a garbage bag, wipes, and napkins to keep the kids and the car cleaned up.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #2 – Use Refillable Water Bottles. Having refillable water bottles as well as a refillable milk bottle with cups and straws saves time and money. Using plastic water bottles increases expense, trash, and makes a mess of ½ filled water bottles. Assign children their own water bottle that can be filled each morning. This one item will start you saving from the first day and keep everyone happy and hydrated.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #3 – Create Child Activity Bags. Many expenses are toys or snacks purchased out of desperation to calm a child or keep a child constructively engaged. Pack and fill a small back pack for each child with toys, balls, paper, and crayons to provide a constructive outlet for when you are stopped at an activity or stuck in traffic. Do not forget to keep 1-2 DVD’s of each child’s favorite movie for the portable DVD player. This is a lifesaver for when rush hour starts or there is a weather delay. A wipe off board that can be used for tic-tac-toe or to practice spelling or math homework is a big winner.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #4 – Prepack Needed Sports Equipment. Prepack the car with balls, spare jackets, and sports equipment on Sunday night each week. This ensures you do not forget a soccer ball or a baseball glove prior to loading up the kids to get to practice on time. It also allows you to swing by a park or ballfield between activities to let the kids get some exercise or practice their bunts instead of going through a drive through to get snacks or trying to drive home quickly to get a forgotten item. Sun and exercise are just as necessary for the kids as for you.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #5 – Stock Sunscreen & Bug Spray. Sunscreen and bug spray are very expensive and hard to find items. Packing these items in a Ziploc bag (check the seal!) ensures you prevent a sunburn or buying an extra bottle of sunscreen.
Family Chauffer Savings Tip #6 – Have Spare Clothes & Diapers. Accidents happen either from slipping in a muddy puddle or from a bathroom training accident. Having a spare set of clothes makes an outfit change a minor inconvenience as opposed to an event that could ruin an entire day. Backup diapers, wipes, and cream makes your life easier. You can also be a great neighbor, a lesson that I learned when I provided another dad a spare diaper while at the park. In addition to spare clothes, a towel, a blanket for a quick nap, and a backup stuffed animal with a pacifier are other items that can save your day.
Creating savings in your complex and hurried day-to-day activities is a way to have an immediate impact on your budget, a way to ensure that an “oops” does not turn into an expense, and a way to ensure hunger pains have an immediate and healthy solution. Managing the day-to-day of a family’s life is daunting. Following these six tips ensures the day stays in control, healthy, and in budget. Have a safe drive!
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