You know saving money is essential to create the life you want for you and your family, but between shuttling kids and managing meals, it can be tough to find the time to think about a savings strategy, let alone act on it.
Follow these steps and learn how you can make saving money part of your routine.
Step 1: Look at your finances and track your money spending habits
Start by looking at your family’s income and expenses. Track everything, including paychecks, monthly bills, receipts, etc. – any time you touched your money! This will help you have a better view of your family’s current financial situation and where you might need to adjust. If you need a little help, try our budget planning worksheet. Or, if you’re a Summit member, take advantage of our free Climbr® tool to track your expenses and work toward financial goals.
Step 2: Find ways to save money in your monthly budget
Once you have an idea of your monthly spending, look for places in your budget where you could cut costs. Here are a few ideas:
- Meal prep
Did you know Americans spend more money at restaurants than they do at grocery stores? There’s no need to stop dining out completely but setting a limit on the number of meals you eat out and adding a little meal prep to your routine will go a long way. Plus, with meals already prepped, you’ll be less tempted by the convenience of fast food or delivery.
- Shop for deals
Spending money on “stuff” is pretty much inevitable when you have kids, but you can save on everything from clothes and toys to cleaning supplies just by planning ahead. Look for deals before you shop and take advantage of thrift stores like Goodwill for fun finds that will keep everyone happy.
- Find free activities in your community
Many communities have a calendar of free events. You can also use the “Events” tab on Facebook to find even more opportunities for free or low-cost fun. Or if all else fails, take matters into your own hands and plan a family movie night at home or go “camping” in your backyard – don’t be afraid to get creative!
Step 3: Set up a monthly savings deposit
Once you find the space in your budget, it’s time to start saving money. We recommend setting up an automatic savings deposit every month, even if it’s only $10 or $20 each time. That way, you’ll be saving money every month without having to give it a second thought. With Summit, you can even set up multiple savings accounts to help you work toward specific financial goals, like saving money for a family vacation or setting something aside for your kids’ holiday gifts.
Step 4: Start thinking about long-term financial goals
Life moves a mile a minute, but it’s important to take some time now to think about the life you want for the future. Whether that’s saving money for your kids’ college education or working toward your retirement, the sooner you get started, the better. Challenge yourself to have regular “money dates” where you sit down and look at your finances. You could even create a vision board highlighting the goals you want to achieve and bring it to your planning sessions.
Growing your savings is a process. Just take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements if you need some inspiration. Schedule an appointment with a Summit financial expert, and they can help you figure out the best money-saving strategy for your family’s needs.