- Personal Finance
How to Save Money and Have Fun--Regardless of Income
Most articles based on how to save money usually include investing a portion of money weekly, which is definitely a great idea and highly recommended if the person works at a company that offers a 401K plan. Saving for retirement is a must.
However, those with very small budgets and/or limited incomes, those possibilities seem impossible especially when it comes to raising a family.
Due to economically hard times and with a family the size of mine, two adults and four children, we are constantly looking for ways to save money and yet still have fun as a family. This article will provide tips on different ways of saving money as well as inexpensive ways to have fun regardless of income.
Ways To Save Money
- Direct Deposit into Savings
Many companies offer direct deposit because it does save them money.
Open a Savings Account without an ATM card--that way money is not as easily accessible.
Set up Direct Deposit with a majority of the money going into main account and as little as $5 or more going into savings account.
When working full time, I had $25 going into savings weekly. This may seem like a small amount to some, but every bit counts!!
- Budget Groceries and Use Cash
Set a fixed amount to use for groceries a week; stay within budget.
Take out the cash from main account. For us, our weekly grocery budget averages $120 a week.
Now clip coupons on items that are needed. There are many sites that offer free manufacture coupons like Coupons.com and ShopAtHome.com. Even grocery stores like Stop & Shop offers coupons on their website as well.
Pay cash. Whatever money left over because of sales and/or coupons, will go into what I call a "secret stash." (discussed a few sections down)
Last time I went grocery shopping-- $120 budget - coupons - sales = $30 left over for the "secret stash." Money saved can really add up!
- Shop at Consignment Shops, Flea Markets, and/or Goodwill
Great way to purchase clothing (especially "play clothes") and household items at a very, very low price in comparison to mall prices.
Before visiting, set a budget and stick to it!
Again, take the cash out of the bank.
Have an idea of what items that are needed to purchase. (example: two pair of play jeans)
Whatever money is left over, put this into a "secret stash".
- Secret Stash
This is similar to the "swear jar" accept there are many I know would be broke if they had a swear jar.
Have a large jar that is used for change and an envelope used for cash. Put those in an area not easily seen so there is no temptation to spend the money.
Once the change jar is full, take the jar along with the envelope used for cash to the bank. One may be very surprised of how much change is saved.
Decision time--either put the money into the Savings Account or use this towards a much needed vacation or other forms of family entertainment. Another option, put half of the money into savings and use half towards a much needed vacation or family entertainment.
- Unexpected Money
Receiving money unexpectedly is exciting and can happen from special events such as birthdays, holidays, etc. If the money is unexpected, put half into Savings Account and the rest use for entertainment and fun.
Inexpensive Ways To Have Fun
Some believe in order to have fun family time there needs to be a lot of money involved; there are a ton of ways to have fun without spending too much money and the memories will last a lifetime.
Many towns offer free concerts in their parks which is a great way to spend family time together. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce and town websites for a list of events.
If the outdoors is something the family enjoys, pack a picnic basket, and enjoy a day at a State Park. State parks often have much to offer such as hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, camping, and much more.
Town parks offer another way to enjoy outdoor family fun. Many offer playscapes/playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball/softball fields, and perhaps more. Pack a picnic basket, a ball, and have some fun!
We are fortunate that we have a local Drive-Ins which offer the newest movies and on Wednesdays offer car load night. We pack a cooler of drinks, as well as a few snacks, and for around $20 we are able to watch two blockbuster hits while enjoying the outdoors.
However, many towns and schools offer a free or low cost movie night in local communities. Check with town websites for information.
Attend local craft shows, festivals, parades, expos and more. These are often a way to window shop and/or become inspired. Depending on the town, can be great fun for the whole family.
Have a pot luck barbeque with family, friends, and neighbors. Each person brings a dish and some bring outdoor games. This is a great way to get to know neighbors as well as have a great time. Outdoor games such as Badminton/Volleyball combo sets can cost around $25. If the weather is hot, water balloons can be fun as well and cost around $1.99 for 200 balloons.
Board games, card games, and movie nights are always fun. Key thing, if staying home, be sure to put all cell phones and handhelds away so family time is maximized without interruption.
Crafts, baking, wood work, etc. can be a great way to spend family time together. Children are able to learn a new skill while having the ability to spend time with parents.
Local Malls often have special events that can be fun to attend and at the same time windowing shopping can be a fun way to spend time.
Many local museums as well as other tourist sites offer special discounts on different days.
Others offer family discounts or discounts only to those that live locally. This is definitely a great way to take in some culture, learn something exciting and new, as well as history at a much lower rate.
Be sure to check the local paper as well as websites for special discounts and offers. Surprisingly, even the most expensive places may be within the family budget.
Regardless of Income there are ways to save money and at the same time have great family fun at low to no cost.
Although parents may not realize it, the memories do last a lifetime! My children often speak of something we did years and years ago with their friends and of all the good times they have had.
Looking back, I smile because most of those memories cost very little and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
I hope this article provided useful information as well as tips on how to save. Thank-you for taking the time to read this hub! Please feel free to comment and suggestions are always welcomed!!