School, daycare, lunch money, clothes, stationery, books; the list goes on and on. Raising a child and maintaining a home can be expensive. You may be worried about blasting through your monthly income, or maybe you just want to start saving up for rainy days. Whatever the case may be, there's a reason why you want to start tightening your belt. Well wonder no more parents, here are 8 quick tips on how to save money effortlessly. 6 Ways for Parents to Save Money Set a Monthly Budget Much like every goal we set, there needs to be a game plan. Start breaking down your monthly expenditure into categories (rent\/mortgage, utilities, food, gas, etc.) You may need to further break down categories like food (restaurants, groceries) and utilities (electricity, water, WIFI). Doing this will give you an idea of what expenses you can reduce or eliminate. Having a family budget also means that you can keep a stricter record of your spending. Some families don't do much record-keeping unfortunately. This is why they tend to overspend and live beyond their means, especially if credit cards are involved. It's certainly not fun to live in debt. Shop Online As unconventional as it is in Malaysia to buy groceries online, it can be just the thing to save money. Sometimes in-store purchases are not as affordable as we think. We're often tempted to buy more than we need when passing through the many aisles in a supermarket. Moreover, we may miss certain discounts and offers that may only be available for online shoppers. Sites like mudah.my are also filled with cheap, second hand things like furniture, equipment, electronic devices and even car parts. You need to be careful about these online marketplaces though, some of them may not be legit. Try Dollar Stores Dollar stores are an indispensable asset when it comes to being frugal. While you won't exactly find many (or any) selling items at no more than RM1, there are second bests. Mr. Dollar for instance, stocks items costing between RM2 to RM5 per item. That sounds like a steal doesn't it? If these stores have vouchers and coupons you can further reduce your spending. However, the temptation to buy more is significantly greater when you go to stores like these. Because every item is relatively cheap for their market price, you won't be able to resist buying more than you need. So make a list before you go shopping. It will reign in your spending craze. Be Thrift-y If you really want to cut back on unnecessary spending, shop at thrift stores for the best deals on things like clothes. Our local Bundle shops stock very affordable outfits for people from all walks of life, adult and children included. Children outgrow their clothes pretty fast. They'll be needing new clothes every few years. So be more open to hand-me downs, even though your kids may not. Some clothes can last for several uses if they're made from good material. In which case, cheap doesn't necessarily mean poor quality. Upcycle Recycling needs some dedication, but there are many opportunities to do so. Plastic bags, jam bottles, and tupperware. Plastic bags can be used to store rubbish, jam bottles can be used to store herbs, spices and condiments and tupperware are an excellent receptacle for leftovers. You rarely have to buy tupperware these days. If you eat out a lot, order take-out or go to kenduri, you'll go home with oodles upon oodles of tupperware. Of course these aren't exactly as elegant as those aesthetically pleasing (and expensive) glass containers with the air-tight lids. But don't be scared to shop around. If you're lucky you may just find a good deal at your local dollar store. Meal Prep Meal prep isn't an inherently Malaysian thing to do. Many families instead cook in bulk (or at the very least, in high quantities) and then store leftovers for the next day. However, these usually rarely last for more than two to three days. Moreover, it gets pretty monotonous eating the same meal everyday. Fortunately there are dozens of ways to meal prep that you can read about online. If you start meal prepping you can cut cost on eating out at restaurants or getting take out. Remember to include some diversity in your meal prep menu, and be sure to make it a balanced diet for every meal. Saving Up for Rainy Days Whatever you're saving up for, there are ways to stretch your dollar so you can make your current last longer. While you're at it maybe consider teaching your child about finances and how to save money. Having a good foundation in how to properly manage money is an important skill that every parent should instill in their young children. When they're adult themselves, they can put what they learn from you to good use. And soon they'll be able to effortlessly saving up for their own family vacations and romantic getaways. Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice from Motherhood. For any health-related concerns, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or medical practitioner. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!