There comes a point in life where you feel like you’re being really wasteful. Perhaps you suddenly realise it when you’ve just spent far too much money on groceries, or maybe you realise it when the money you make isn’t enough to pay the bills anymore. You may even realise that the current lifestyle you live just isn’t sustainable and that you’re wasting more money than you should be on luxuries like pub lunches, dinner dates and trips out that you just can’t afford.
Whether you want to save money for the future of your children or you plan to move into a larger home, there are things to save money for. It could be retirement funds, it could be car repairs, or it could be the need to save money for an emergency fund—whatever it is, being frugal can help you achieve your goals in a short amount of time.
Teaching your family the value of frugality
However, even if you do manage to successfully switch off your wasteful ways and become frugal, you might not be able to convince your family about it. Weekly cinema trips with your partner and children might need to go, and your kids might respond negatively to that. Your partner’s favourite home-cooked meal might need to get downsized or reduced in quality to make way for budget purchases, and you might find yourself driving your kids to school at the same time as you drop your partner off at work to save money on fuel.
It’s understandable that large sweeping changes like this will negatively impact your family, but if they’re having a hard time adjusting, then you need to explain to them why you’re doing it and how you plan to do so. The worst thing you can do is suddenly, without any warning, make large changes to the lifestyle of your family.
The best way to convince your family that they need to change is to prepare a budget. First of all, you should gather up all of your family income and expenses. Write them down on a sheet of paper or record them in a budget app or spreadsheet for a week or a month, then show your partner and family what it means. Perhaps you don’t make as much money at work, maybe prices on food have gone up, or maybe you’re indulging too much. Whatever the reason, you need to show the statistics to them in order to get them to understand the situation your family is in. Once you’ve done that, they will be more understanding. You may be getting by but if a bill came in or Christmas/ birthday, could you cope without relying on credit?
Cooperation and teamwork are essential when a family wants to be more frugal. Everyone has to be on the same page if you want to be a frugal family, which is why family challenges are a great way to get started. For instance, this £2 challenge is a fantastic way for you and your family to work together in order to make huge savings for family dinners. You can devise a plan, ask your partner or kids for some suggestions, and you can make it a game to try and make the best tasting dinner for the least amount of money.
It’s important that you stay motivated when you approach these challenges. Whether it’s saving money on groceries or cutting back on cinema nights and instead, getting something like a Netflix.com subscription to watch films as a family, you need to remain positive and remember why you’re cutting back expenses in the first place. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge and get your family a lovely, expensive home-cooked meal, or take them out to see a film once a while—it just has to be done in moderation.
One of the best ways to save money on family purchases is to visit a website such as DontPayFull.com and collect coupons. It sounds like a waste of time since you have to spend some effort to get only 10-30% off, but depending on how much you buy or what you buy, those savings can add up to substantial amounts. It’s great for when you want to purchase electronics, gadgets or toys for your children or your partner since they typically cost a lot of money.
Buying something for a much cheaper price than retail is a great feeling, and it’s something that you should instill into your children from a young age to teach them the value of patience. A lot of parents buy their children new toys and games as soon as they come out for ludicrous amounts of money, but if you wait just a little bit, you could pick up those same consoles, games and toys for cheaper prices, or you could wait until there’s a sale or price drop. This teaches your children the value of the items they buy—the cost of a game console is fairly steep no matter how you slice it, and they should learn to make the most of what they have instead of constantly begging you for the latest releases.
Waste not, want not
If your family are used to buying new items all the time, then chances are your home is a mess of boxes and electronics that do nothing but gather dust. Once you learn some frugal qualities, you’ll find that it’s easy to sell old belongings for a bit of extra cash. Not only can you put that money towards future purchases, you can also clear up some valuable space in your home to store needed items, or just to declutter the house and make it more inviting.
If your children want to purchase new electronics, then convince them to sell their older versions before you buy the latest models. You can put that money towards getting what they want, free up some space, and make use of those old unwanted electronics before they become relics. Most new devices such as smartphones, tablets and video games retain their value very well. In fact, over the course of a year, the device can still sell for roughly 70-80% of its retail value depending on how well kept it is. Teach your children to look after their devices, even if they plan to replace them, and then sell them later on when a new model comes out.
Disclosure: collaborative post