Written By School Mum Contributor Carla Morris
I don’t know how many of you have seen the “put a dollar a week aside for 12 months and have $1123 in saving by the end of the year” type of thing but I always think they are brilliant ideas!!! My problem is I find them too confusing. The “put a dollar a week aside for 12 months…” What I have written above doesn’t even make sense if you’ve don’t the maths already (which isn’t my personal forte) and when I try to remember exactly what I saw that looked liked such a good idea I can’t remember and it never starts.
I tried transferring $25 from one account to another account weekly and honestly had the best of intentions not to touch it but it was sitting in an account attached to my internet banking so I did kind of dip in from time to time, well it’s not there anymore is it lol.
Like many of you I want to have a little extra at the end of the year. For a family holiday. Christmas. Birthday. Anniversary. Something that comes around once a year that I know I’ve saved for. Even something just for myself. And I want my kids to learn how to put a bit aside too…So I’m making some changes. I’ve done the research and I’m going to have a family meeting tonight on putting one or more of these things into action.
Here are some of my favourite finds that I actually think I could do…And I’d love to hear from you on what has worked for your family!!!
- Get some coloured plastic envelopes and label them January/February/March etc. Keep you receipts. Track your spending. This will give you a clearer idea of where you money is going at the end of each month. Discuss it with your family or partner at month’s end. I did this for January and had the odd “I spent money on that?!?”
- Make a family budget. Together sit down and talk about expenses with your kids. Using monopoly money show your kids how much money you make and how much money goes to rent, school, food, entertainment and “other” including allowances and show them how much is left over. Get them started by understanding money doesn’t grow on trees!!!
- Use a jar or better yet a tin that you have to use a can opener to open and put your saving CASH into this tin or jar. Label it SAVING FOR HOLIDAY or whatever you are saving for. Each family member can have their own jar. When the “allowance” gets handed out that is the time to put your “savings” component into the jar. Together. Make it a family event.
- Give yourself an allowance too, not just your kids. It is much easier not to dip into your own savings if you give yourself an allowance. (I am giving myself a $50 can go to anything I want/special treat allowance)
- Have a clear picture of what you want to save for (or how much you want to save) and calculate what that means you need to put aside each week. I want to buy a watch that I lost a long time ago. It will cost me $26 per week which I will put into my money jar and by Christmas I will have a new watch under the tree. The one I want!!! #motivation
- Sell unwanted or unused items on Ebay or Gum Tree for cash and put this money into your “savings” fund.
- However you decide pocket money is divvied out to your kids (for household chores or just because they are a certain age) a certain percentage should be agreed upon to go into the saving s jar. Let them put it in there. If they want to do more chores, or they get some extra Birthday money, it’s up to them how much they put into their savings jar, however, the more that they put in the more they will have at the agreed “open date.”
- When you save money on something you have budgeted for take the “extra” and put it in your jar!!! Maybe you need to have individual jars PLUS a family jar so things like groceries coming in under budget can go to the family jar. Face it; it’s going to disappear into something else anyway!!! If you decide as a family to rent a movie instead of going to the movies or even better watch one on TV and make your own popcorn, figure out what you would have saved and put some of that into the family savings jar!!! You’ll love doing something fun when it’s time to get the can opener out.
- Simple money saving tip that you’ll thank me later for (I did it this past Christmas.) Buy your gifts when you see them on sale. Make a list of gifts you have purchased and put them together in one box. I don’t even know how much I saved to be honest so this year I’m going to write down the full cost and what I bought it for. I still have a small box of what will be this year’s Birthday and Christmas gifts for family. I did not buy ONE Christmas gift. (No I am not incredibly organised. I’m thrifty.) Some items were 80% off.
- Make your own. Make your own pizza night. Make your own cookie mix in a jar for gifts. Make your own greeting cards. Make your own Birthday cakes. Make your own popcorn and watch a movie (hell, make your own movie – Your kids will love it.)
There are so many ways to save here and there and still splurge a little. Money seems to just go POOF in the night. So a little planning goes a long way.
For me the trick will be do it together and make each other accountable. My 8 year old Super Saver will love keeping me in check with my money tin and I love a little healthy competition so let’s see who can stay on track the most this year. I’ll keep you posted on my progress in about 6 months.