Keeping down the costs of living can be difficult, especially when you have a family. Food, bills and school trips, clubs and fundraisers can put a strain on parents, and leave little left for expensive family trips and days out. But improving your quality of life isn’t just dependent on how much money you have. There are a number of ways to increase your emotional wellbeing, and live a happy, fulfilled family life.

1. Spend some alone time

This might sound counter-intuitive to family life, but actually it is one of the most important things you can do. Setting aside five to ten minutes a day to simply sit and be, or meditate in peace can help level your emotions, making you better able to deal with family squabbles or your children’s demands. Encourage your whole family to do the same, and then enjoy a generally calmer household.

2. Pick a family hobby

This should be something new, that you have never done before, so that you are all beginners. Learning a new hobby together will improve your bond and give you something to talk about over dinner later in the day. It doesn’t have to be something crazy or expensive (although it could be if that’s what you choose). You could take up foraging, or bird watching, or take a look at the options offered at your nearest community centre.

3. Spend time with nature

This is easier if you pick a hobby that is based outside, but even a day in the park with a picnic and a football can be a rewarding, fun experience. Sometimes kids need nothing more than a big, empty field and their imagination to enjoy themselves. Meanwhile, mum and dad can pick a sunny spot to relax in. Bliss.

4. Count your blessings

You don’t have to be religious to know how lucky you are. No matter what your situation, there is always someone worse off. So spend some time every day reminding yourself of the good things in your life. You will soon feel more grateful for the small things.

5. Don’t half-bake things

This is a hard habit to break, but once you do, it will make everything in your life run so much smoother. Don’t leave dishes by the sink to do later – you’ll thank yourself in the long run if you get them done straight away. Don’t leave important documents on the side to fill out in the evening – somebody else will come along and put them away and they will invariably get forgotten. Do things immediately, or as soon as possible, and revel in your organised lifestyle.

Once you embrace a less stressful lifestyle, and look for ways to entertain your family that don’t break the bank, you will see that a high standard of living is not necessarily about how much money you have, but more about how rich your life is. Make time to enjoy your family, while ensuring the bills are paid, and putting a little money aside when you can for day trips and holidays that they will appreciate more because they are an unexpected luxury.

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