Make saving money a family traditionMany families have a tradition or two that they’ve passed on from generation to generation. After many years of this, family traditions begin to become second nature and that is why I advocate for making saving money a family tradition as well.
Many families have a tradition or two that they’ve passed on from generation to generation. After many years of this, family traditions begin to become second nature and that is why I advocate for making saving money a family tradition as well.
Mismanaging your budget at a young age can lead to a number of personal or family issues down the road. That’s why it’s important to make saving a consistent priority with all members of your family. It can make a positive impact on spending habits later in life.
There are a number of simple ways to get your family on the right track toward saving.
Have everyone contribute. It’s one thing to tell your family that saving is important and another to actually do it. The best way to reinforce habits of saving is to involve the entire family so that everyone receives a reward for their efforts. A great way to have the entire family participate is to start a family vacation fund. Obviously, the kids won’t contribute as much as the parents but having everyone work toward the same goal and having everyone reap the benefits is a great way to reinforce the behavior of saving.
Openly discuss ways to save money. When your family is grocery shopping, planning a vacation or out for dinner, openly discuss what you’re doing to save money. At the grocery store, it might be that you’re using coupons, looking for sales or that you’re buying generic instead of name brand. When out for dinner, discuss how choosing chicken instead of steak can make a big difference when the bill comes. When planning a vacation, make it a point for everyone to know that you’re traveling during the off-season or that you’re staying with family or friends instead of a hotel to reduce expenses.
Teach wants versus needs. Even as adults, sometimes it’s difficult to determine wants from needs. However, it’s important that the whole family knows the difference. For example, mom or dad may need a car or truck to get to work every day or the oldest child might need glasses in order to see.
Enforce the habit of saving first. Whether it’s the parent receiving a paycheck, or a child receiving an allowance, it’s important to verbalize the importance of putting a little bit in savings first, before spending any of it. Getting in the habit of “paying yourself first” at an early age can have long-term benefits.
Involve the whole family in creating a budget. Write down what your monthly budget is for food, housing, travel, reoccurring bills and non-essentials. To keep everyone accountable and stay on track with expenses and savings goals, post your budget where everyone can view it. While developing a budget or getting one back on track may take some time, it will be time well spent when you’re able to meet your financial goals.
Helping each other get into the habit of saving can lead to lessons that last a lifetime. Remember that it’s important to save money no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you need help getting started, contact your local banker.
Joe Harrison is the branch manager of Citizen’s Bank in Superior.