Putting a savings plan into action can put a damper on any household, especially when you have kids. By following these simple tips, you can get the whole family involved and make saving fun.
- Be adventurous and get outdoors
Going for nature hikes is one of the best ways to get the family to participate in an activity that is low cost and often completely free! It creates important quality bonding time and is also great exercise. Pre-pack all the snacks needed and bring lunch to avoid spending money on take-away or restaurant and café meals. You could also go to a local park and enjoy a picnic, bring a soccer ball or a frisbee and have a run around with the kids or challenge friends to a friendly game of touch footie.
- Have a communal piggy bank
Rather than everyone having their spare coins scattered around the house, create a communal piggy bank so the entire family or everyone in the house chips in. Everyone can contribute any loose change or extra pocket money they have and watch the balance grow together. Offer to match whatever the kids save and set a good example for them. Once the piggy bank is full, sit down with everyone and discuss how much you saved and what you’d like to do with the money. Should you put it towards a new purchase for the home or spend it on a fun new activity? This will get them into the habit of saving and show on a practical level how being responsible with money can have positive and practical results.
- Agree on your next holiday destination together or arrange a staycation
If everyone agrees and is on-board with the next holiday destination they will make an effort to make cuts whenever they can and sacrifice some luxuries for a bigger pay off. Create a savings meter and place it in a visible space at home to establish a physical reminder of your goal and progress. When the kids ask for a new toy, extra ice cream or trip to an amusement park remind them of their chosen holiday destination and allow them to weigh up the options and prioritise. This way they are learning to value where their money goes and you don’t have to be the bad guy!
You could also plan a staycation. Instead of burning a hole in your pocket trying to take the family interstate or on an overseas trip, take a few days off work and school and stay local. You could visit free museums and exhibitions, go camping (possibly even in your own backyard for a fun change of environment), go to a day movie or any free concerts and events in your local community. Make it fun and spend time with the family, that’s what it’s all really about!
Find fun ways to make saving a game for the whole family
- Buy second-hand and invest in reusable items
Buying previously used items might not sound like the most desirable option but it’s a great saver and something you can get quickly accustomed to once you give it a chance. You can usually buy lots of items second-hand that are in great condition but cost a lot less. Drop by a local used book shop to buy books and textbooks needed for you and the kids while also supporting local small businesses. Outdoor bikes and scooters are much more affordable when bought from garage sales and thrift stores.
Disposable goods might be cheap and convenient but this is only money efficient if you don’t have to buy these items repeatedly. Instead of using paper towels that can cost around $1 a roll, buy a pack of $1 washable cloths. Rather than buying plastic water bottles invest in a filter or aluminium water bottles for each family member and save on bottled water. They are also healthier than plastic bottles! Every time you grab a disposable item at the store think about the potential reusable solution instead and you’ll save money in the long run.
- Plan your meals and shop smart
Planning your meals may seem challenging but the benefits are worth it. An impromptu pizza order or a visit to the nearest fast-food restaurant for lunch or dinner is not only the less healthy option, it also costs you more. By planning family meals, you remove the stress of last-minute decisions and grocery trips and remove the temptation to eat out. You can use free online meal planners and also work with ingredients that are on special that week.
Implement smart shopping strategies to relieve pressure once you are at the shops and try to limit your shopping to one trip. Write a list of all your needs and stick to it. Going back and forth on multiple trips increases the likelihood of impulse purchases, distracts you from your overall goal or budget and also wastes petrol. Best of all when you do reach your goal make sure you celebrate and enjoy it!
For more great reads check out:
- Switch your money mindset
- 8 family friendly ways to save
- 6 months to the best Christmas ever
- Tax tips: what you can and can’t claim
- Spend less in winter with these great tips