Did you know that there are many families out there, who are living paycheck to paycheck? If you are one of those families, you are not alone! In fact, 78% of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck (up from 75 percent last year), which is significant. Further, according to a CareerBuilder survey, 71% of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt (up from 68% a year ago). With those kinds of stats, it seems nearly impossible to save money when your paycheck is pretty much spent before you even receive it each payday.
Don’t worry, there are steps you can take right away to start saving some money. Anything you can save is better than nothing, right? If you are a person that is motivated by a challenge, we’ve got one for you! Let’s set a preliminary savings goal of $500.00. This will put you on the correct path to obtaining 3-6 months of emergency savings that are recommended in case of emergencies such as an injury or worse, a job loss. We’re not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it. You can do this by following the following steps:
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 there. 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, a 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, or 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 is this a want?”
Step 4 – 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.
Step 5 – Get yourself a side hustle
If it is at all possible (and only as a temporary fix), taking on a second job would bring in some extra cash. This could be just a couple of hours a week, a Friday night, or even a Saturday morning. Perhaps you have a hobby or talent that you could market to others? Mow lawns, shovel snow, babysit, compose a resume for someone, create ads, enter data, stuff envelopes, etc. There are a ton of small businesses out there that can’t afford the overhead and are willing to hire people for back-office tasks or even on an “as needed” basis. Need more ideas, visit: http://www.sidehustlenation.com/ideas/. Every penny from this side job should be saved to help you obtain your savings goal faster. We encourage you to help your future self by saving now. We know it would be great to spend this extra cash on a new outfit or dinner out, but at the end of the day, you are putting yourself in a much better place by just saving it.
So, there you have it! 5 steps that will help you and your family towards living a financially fit future! If you need help with creating a family budget, New Dimensions Federal Credit Union is here to help. Please contact us at (800) 326-6190 to make a one-on-one appointment. While you are here, ask us about our GreenPath Financial tools. We’ve got resources that can help alleviate any obstacles you may have. Call us today!