Five Fun Ways to Save As a Family
Meeting financial goals as a family can be challenging. But inspiring your family to help and contribute to a financial goal doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially when the result is an exciting family vacation, a new family car, or college savings. In the spirit of America Saves Week, we’re sharing some ideas on how to save as a family.
Make a game of who contributes to a joint family pot for that month’s fun activity – literally. A game of monopoly can turn into a real contest, as anyone who loses is asked to contribute a small amount to that month or week’s activity of choice (such as a meal out, or family movie).
Of course, contributions should be proportional to earnings – teens might contribute $5 from their part-time job or allowance, while adults would be expected to contribute much more. Still, the spirit of the game is focused on sharing and enjoying together – and because everyone has a stake in it, those activities become even more enjoyable.
Making Money Can Be Fun
If you like to take an annual vacation, it’s smart to begin planning and saving a year in advance. By each contributing to the holiday vacation fund, your money can go much farther thanks to careful planning. By thinking ahead, you can assess how much you need to save the make the most of your vacation and tweak your budget to reach that goal.
Sell, Sell, Sell!
A family garage sale can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to raise extra cash for shared activities or purchases. Even better, many consignment stores are popping up in communities that will purchase your children’s clothing and toys and then resell them. There are also apps that allow you to list your gently used items for sale so that others can contact you if they’re interested in something you have. If your family wants a new flat-screen TV, game console, or another piece of technology or furniture, why not start by selling what you already have and don’t need?
Match Your Kids’ Savings
Often, children’s only way to save is to use their holiday or birthday gift money. It can be challenging for kids to save money they so badly want to spend and enjoy immediately, so it’s important to offer incentives for building those good habits. One idea is to match dollar for dollar every bit of money they save from their gifts.
That ensures kids get the immediate gratification of knowing their saved gift money is being doubled, but also enables them to feel empowered by having chosen to save and contribute to family goals. You could also pay “interest” monthly on the amount they keep in savings to encourage long-term saving and the self-control to not dip into their money for a miscellaneous purchase.
The Envelope Method
If your saving for multiple items or goals, the envelope method is an excellent way of keeping track of what is getting saved where. Simply write on a series of envelopes what you’re saving for and contribute regularly to each until the goal amount is met. For small children, it can be rewarding to contribute to smaller family goals, such as ice cream night or a movie rental. A $10 or $15 goal can mean a $1 or $2 monthly contribution from their allowance. This helps children learn the value of saving, and builds confidence in their ability to do so.
By Janet Alvarez, WiseBread.com
Janet Alvarez is the news anchor for WHYY/NPR and the Executive Editor of Wise Bread, an award-winning publication focused on promoting financial literacy.