Many families are living paycheck to paycheck…you’re not alone. Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year. Additionally, 71 percent of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt, up from 68 percent a year ago (Source: CareerBuilder survey). So, how can you start saving when it seems like your paycheck is 90% spent before it gets in your hand?
We have 5 ideas you can use right away to start saving even a few dollars.
Something is better than nothing, right? If you are a person that gets motivated by a challenge, we’ve got one for you! Let’s set a first goal of saving $500.00. This amount doesn’t equal the 3-6 months of emergency savings that we all should have saved, but it is an honest start.
Step 1 – The honest conversation (cue the theatrical suspense music here)
Go home tonight and after dinner, call a family meeting. If you’ve never done this before, watch the looks on your spouse and kids’ faces. They will probably think you’ve lost your mind. This is a good thing because change starts here. Let your family know that saving money is critical to your family’s future and that every person in the family, no matter what age, has a role to play. Let them know that if your family can reach certain savings goals together, they could earn a special treat. Deciding on the “treat” should be a group decision and could include a family dinner at a local restaurant, a new computer, weekend trip, or a big vacation. By getting your family to “buy in” to the process is more than half the battle.
Step 2 – What can you get rid of?
Fall is a great time of year to weed out the basement, attic, garage and your kids’ rooms. Are there items in good condition that you could sell on popular websites, local Facebook swap/sell pages or at your own lawn sale this weekend? Toys, clothing, home décor, an old lawnmower could fetch you some cash that could start you on your way to saving money!
Step 3 – Cut back
If we’re really being honest with ourselves, we all have things we spend money on that are considered “luxuries.” Here’s a list of things that could be prohibiting your savings: buying coffee or energy drinks at a store, buying brand name products at the grocery store, subscribing to cable or satellite TV services, buying stuff just because it is on sale, paying late fees because you don’t have an organized monthly budget, paying full price for clothing, and dining out frequently. Basically, any time you purchase something ask yourself, “Is this a need or a want?”
Step 4 – Get yourself a side hustle
Could you take on a second job for one or more days a week? Do you have a hobby or talent that you could market to others? Mow lawns, shovel snow, babysit, compose a resume for someone. Need more ideas, visit: http://www.sidehustlenation.com/ideas/. Every penny from your side job should go to savings. Just because you make more doesn’t mean you should spend more.
Step 5 – Use coupons and savings apps every day
Coupons in the newspaper, online or on apps can add up to great savings. Some grocery store apps even have FREE items you could get just by clicking on an in-store coupon. Store loyalty programs also reward you for shopping at their locations. A good rule to follow is to spend 30 minutes to an hour making your list of what you need before heading to the store and check online or store apps for extra savings. The difference between what you would have paid and what you paid after coupons could be deposited to your savings account.
We hope these 5 ideas help you and your family towards living a financially fit future! If you need any help with creating a family budget, New Dimensions Federal Credit Union is here to help. Please ask us about our GreenPath Financial tools.