To most busy parents, raising a family while building up savings is a laughable concept. After all, looking after your kids is expensive. You can expect to pay almost $234,000 on each child by the time they leave the roost, and this number doesn’t even cover their education. With this kind of price floating figuratively over each of your kids’ heads, you might believe it’s impossible to save.
But you would be wrong. Anyone can save if they’re willing to put the time and effort into it. Here are just four ways you can jumpstart your family’s savings — even if you’re on a small budget.
Use a budget
There’s a problem if your family doesn’t have or use a budget. This financial document is a great litmus test for your finances, letting you know the current and future state of your bank account. It’s at its most effective when it’s accurate and up to date, so you should redo an old budget and make sure to include everything from your child’s eye care costs to last year’s payday loan. When you track your finances for a year, you’ll have a better understanding of how you spend your money and what time of year is the costliest for your family.
Knowing how you spend your money is important because you’ll realize the unnecessary things you buy for your family that do nothing but waste cash. Things like takeout, toys your kids don’t play with, or parking fines reduce what you can save, so start by targeting these purchases. When you can eliminate them entirely, you’ll have more money to put towards bills, the holidays, and any other big purchase.
Watch your energy use
Most of us don’t think twice about turning the furnace up when we feel cold or leaving the lights on while we’re out for the night. But these small decisions can have a big impact on what you owe on your utility bills.
Changing how you treat your appliances and use electricity can end up saving you a lot of money without a lot of effort. The folks at MoneyKey share how energy-efficient habits, chores, and upgrades can help lower your utility bills, so you don’t have to rely on an online loan to pay for water or electricity. Some of these tips include unplugging your laptop when you don’t need it. To find more easy energy-reducing tips, check out the latest MoneyKey blog post on energy efficiency.
Automate your bills and savings
It’s 2018, so it’s time to automate your finances. This is a helpful tip for anyone who forgets to transfer money into their savings account or who regularly misses due dates on bills. By automating your bills and savings, you can avoid missing important payments.
Setting this up is easy when you have an online banking account. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to pre-authorize withdrawals on a regular schedule for bills, mortgage or personal loan payments, and savings. This is perfect for subscriptions and other responsibilities that have a fixed amount due at the same time each month. However, you can customize your payment options to help with less recurring payments, too.
Use shopping apps
Your phone isn’t just a way to keep your youngest occupied while they join you grocery shopping. It’s a shopping tool that can reduce what you pay at the supermarket, hardware store, or even the mall. But first, you have to download the right couponing apps, price comparison services, and rebate programs to get your money’s worth. These apps either help lower your bill, help you find the lowest listed price for a must-have item, or earn you cash back on eligible items.
While most effective at the grocery store, some apps cover all your expenses, including clothing, housewares, and holiday gifts — making them a great addition to your phone for any occasion.
Your choice to raise a family doesn’t mean you can never build up savings. There’s always a way to spend less and save more, as long as you know the right tips and tricks. Many of them are simpler than you realize, like downloading a couponing app or automating your finances.
Don’t let their simplicity fool you; they can help you earn serious cash. Use this guide to get your family started on savings. They can transform your finances and start a new cash-filled chapter in your life.