Perhaps you define your family as you and your partner—or maybe you have a house full of children. No matter how big or small your family is, you have goals to achieve and dreams to accomplish.
Sometimes, you’ll already be able to fund them, but, often, you need to save money to make these dreams comes true, and here you’ll find strategies you can customize for your own family’s wants and needs. When thinking about which strategies are best for saving your family money, always keep your goals in mind.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
1) What are you saving for? Are you saving to create an emergency fund for peace of mind? Will your goals then transition into a savings plan for a fabulous summer vacation?
2) How much do you need to achieve your goals?
3) Where can you cut expenses to free up cash flow and make it easier for your family to save?
Now, look at these tips and customize as needed to help achieve your goals.
Optimize Your Mindset for Saving
If you approach your new saving strategies with excitement, seeing them as an opportunity to accomplish family goals, not only are you probably more likely to be successful, but the process will also be more enjoyable.
With this attitude, strategies that might have seemed too challenging in the past can suddenly be transformed into an adventure. Plus, when the entire family is participating, you naturally create momentum to achieve goals and celebrate progress.
From “Should Have” to “Should” to “Will”
When it comes to money management, virtually everyone has some “should have” items to put on their list:
• I should have started saving earlier in my life.
• I should have created a better budget.
• I should have [Fill in the blank and know you aren’t alone!].
Now, take those thoughts and turn “should have” into the present tense:
• I should start saving.
• I should create a better budget.
• I should [fill in the blank].
Next, make it stronger by changing “should” to “will”:
• I will start saving.
• I will create a better budget.
• I will [fill in the blank].
You’re ready to take positive steps to save. Here are some additional tips to help your family keep the right attitude:
• Don’t compare your financial situation to anyone else’s. Create a plan that works for your financial situation and goals.
• Create a savings plan and stick to it.
• Celebrate successes.
Freeing up Cash Flow to Save
As a starting formula, calculate these three sums:
• Net monthly income (after taxes)
• Monthly expenses: housing/utilities, car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, etc.
• Subtract the second amount from the first and determine how much money you can save out of what remains.
Now, what expenses can you eliminate to free up even more cash flow? Do you have automatic withdrawals for services that you don’t really use anymore?
One place where families can often cut back is food:
• Create a monthly budget for food expenses, including grocery shopping and eating out.
• Determine what role restaurants will play in your family budget. Some families are more than willing to give up eating out as part of their new lifestyle, while others like to keep some dining out dollars in their monthly budget.
• Many families find it helps to plan meals before they go grocery shopping. If that’s you, create a list to follow at the store. If possible, go without any small children who may have different ideas about what you should buy.
• Manage leftovers well and make sure you use food before expiration dates.
Check contract payments and see if you can get better prices for your home and car insurance, cell phone bills, cable contracts, and more. Will your current vendors match pricing available from their competitors?
Two more ways to free up cash flow are:
• Determine what loans are close to being paid off: How much will that payoff boost your ability to save? If it’s by a significant amount, consider focusing your energy on paying off those bills.
• Consider consolidating high-interest credit cards and loans into a low-interestpersonal loan.
Saving My Family Money: Tips for Parents
Children tend to follow the lead of their parents, so how you present any changes in your daily routines is crucial. For example, if you realize that you’re blowing a whole lot of money on game machines at a local pizza place, get creative!
Start making pizzas at home with your kids—complete with silly faces made out of pepperoni and veggies and followed by family game night. The first time you do this, your children might be frustrated, but your enthusiasm and creativity can turn the tide.
If you realize that you overspend on birthday celebrations for your kids, cut back on gift-giving costs but turn the present-opening experience into a game. What if you hid the presents and gave the birthday boy or girl clues to follow? Play music in the background, making it louder when your child is getting closer and lower it when he or she is going in the wrong direction.
Use visuals to help your children become part of the family savings plan. You can create colorful charts to show your youngsters how much you want to save and your progress. Give each one of them fun piggy banks and invite them to start saving. Once there is enough money in a child’s piggy bank, you might take him or her to the bank to open a savings account, and make it a time of celebration.
And most important, pay attention to how you talk about money and saving around your children. Be positive instead of dwelling on the negative. Don’t apologize for giving fewer or less expensive gifts—make the most of the new traditions.
Saving for the Future
As you build up an emergency savings fund (say, three to six months’ worth of living expenses) and otherwise begin to reach your goals, saving for the future may transform into investing. And, although the terms “savings” and “investing” are sometimes interchangeably used, there are stark differences. For example, when you’re building up your savings, you are likely:
• Adding money to a checking and savings account in regular increments
• Saving with a specific purpose in mind for those funds, whether it’s a rainy-day fund or a down payment on a new house
• Focusing on shorter-term financial goals over the next two to three years
When you invest, you take on a degree of risk. Investments aren’t FDIC insured (like a bank account), and account balances are subject to market fluctuations.
But often, people invest in light of longer-term goals, whether it’s funding your kid’s college education or planning for retirement. Bonds, and mutual funds, are very common investments, as are ETFs.
At SoFi, we believe that everyone should have the ability to invest in their family’s future, and they should be able to access quality investment management. So, even if you’re new to investing, you can start quickly and easily with an initial deposit of $100.
When you make an investment appointment online, you start by letting us know which of these areas is of interest to you:
• SoFi Invest® Overview
• Debt Management Strategies
• Home Ownership Planning
• Planning for Children
• Financial Checkup
• Financial Independence and Retirement Planning Strategies
To benefit from today’s automated investment technology and the insight of professional human advisors, contact SoFi. Because our advisors don’t receive commissions, they don’t try to sell you anything that isn’t in your best financial interest. Instead, they can help create a plan that’s customized for your unique needs and goals.
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
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