It’s no secret that, while beautiful, raising a family can be a financial nightmare. From mortgage payments and utility bills to food costs and school supplies, sometimes the money you owe can far exceed the money you earn. Plus, with the possibility of unforeseen charges draining your savings always looming, maintaining a solid budget and remaining debt free can feel a bit too daunting.

While bringing in a secondary income helps pad your pockets, there are also a number of ways you can save on expenses that will help you both manage your money with a little less stress and allow you to put a little extra away in the bank. For example, what you spend on school supplies doesn’t necessarily have to run in the hundreds. In addition to finding sales, a great way to save on costs on required items for young students is by shopping at discount shops or dollar retailers, such as Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, or Dollar General. At these stores, you can find generic or store-brand versions of the basics like notebooks, writing instruments, and glue for $1 each, and still walk away with quality products. If your budget is particularly tight, check around the house for good condition items that your children can reuse and look into local non-profits with programs that issue free supplies and other necessities to low-income families.

Of course, living in the Internet age also means you may have to shop for laptops or other electronics for your school-bound children, and those costs can run higher than you’d like. In this case, many online retailers like and offer great discounts on new and refurbished electronics that can cost far less than chain stores. Additionally, look into economic laptops, like the Toshiba Satellite Series. These types of durable laptops offer all the fundamentals your child would need for school, like the latest word processing software and a respectable amount of memory, while not putting that big of a dent in your wallet.

Knowing how to spend less and save more is an essential and valuable tool in raising a family, one that you can pass on to your children when they are ready to start their own. That financial freedom starts with the little things, like using Internet research and comparison tools, which will help you find the best discounts for your budget. Many sites offer, for example, auto insurance comparison tools, that search rates from multiple vendors in seconds. This can help you save money, so you can spend more on your children’s clothes and school supplies.

If you follow these guidelines, you can keep a bit more of your hard earned cash every month so you can pay down debt and save for the family vacation of your dreams.