Easy Ways to Save Money Now
How can we make educated choices in managing money?
Saving money is important for all ages. Helping kids understand how to manage money starts in the home. The earlier you start saving money, the better. As parents, I think the more we expose our children to our money saving strategies, the more likely they are to do the same when they get older. We can show our children how to save money in lots of little ways and do the same for ourselves:
Cutting coupons – Each Sunday, I make a point of cutting coupons from the food section of the newspaper and plan for the next shopping trip. There are also many websites like coupons.com, couponmom.com and others that offer coupons to print for more savings.
Saving coins in an electronic coin counter jar – Every time there’s some loose change around, we put it in this jar we bought that has an electronic counter on the lid. It’s like a extra bonus that we gradually contribute to, and when the jar fills up, it can be split up between a household bill, and vacation or entertainment savings.
Setting up shoeboxes for special savings – Years back, when the kids wanted a PlayStation game system, I covered an empty shoebox with colored paper and made a slit at the top big enough for coins and dollar bills. I labeled the box “PlayStation Savings”. Then the whole family contributed, so when the kids got money for Christmas, we suggested they put some in the box. They also had opportunities to make extra money by doing chores around the house. Even though it took some time to collect the money before we could buy it, it taught the kids the importance of saving for something before you buy it.
Setting up a monthly allowance – Setting a limit to your budget using a monthly allowance works whether you are doing this for yourself, or the whole family, whether or not you have children. For younger kids, try giving a specific amount per week, providing they follow a list of simple things to do each day (like make their bed, brush their teeth, show respect and help with at least one chore a day). For adults, it take discipline. Use a spreadsheet to calculate how much you spend to determine your allowance.
Does it always work? Depends on the child, teenager or adult. Sometimes it depends which way the wind is blowing that day. It’s a matter of trial and error.
Invest in the future – No matter how young or old, it's important for everyone in the family to have a savings account. Make sure that you contribute to it regularly. The best way to do this is to see if your bank can automatically transfer a certain amount each month from your checking into savings. Each time you get paid, saving a little or a lot. Every little bit helps, even $5 or $10. Don’t forget to setup a college savings fund too for any children in the family. That can also be an automatic transfer each month.
Sharing your strategies for paying bills – It's important to have monthly or periodic money management meetings. Initially, have them every week and then when things are in place for savings and budget, move to quarterly meetings. This gives you the chance to evaluate your financial situation and make positive steps to savings and investing in your future. If you have chilren, ask them how much they think you pay for the water bill, the electric bill, or the mortgage. You can even make a game of it and see how close they can get to guessing. Then explain to them if you have a certain amount of money in your checking account, how you have to subtract all the bill amounts when you pay them and make sure that you still have some funds left over for grocery shopping, school expenses and Friday night pizzas.
Consider a Part-Time Job or Consulting for Additional Income - Even if you are already working full-time, you can spend just a few hours a week earning money doing many things. This may include a part-time job, online job opportunities (like online writing), consulting, selling items on e-bay or Amazon, or cleaning out your garage and having a garage sale.
When your child is old enough, it will be time for him or her to start looking into some part-time jobs for some added income. Help children by driving them to different stores with their friends to pick up some job applications. When they land a job, and start making money, teach them not to spend it all at once. Teach them the importance in planning ahead when they want to save for something big, and only spend a small portion for those fun trips to mall.
Take Advantage of 401K's at Work - If you work full-time, be sure to take advantage of what your employer has to offer with regards to 401K's, 403B's or any type of investment. If you have kids, create a Children’s Version of a 401K! Tell your children that up to a certain amount that they save, you will match every dollar. You can tie that in with the amount that you contribute to their savings account each month.
You can make a difference in children’s lives by both setting a good example and guiding them to make wise money choices.
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© 2010 Amelia Griggs
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