The biggest obstacle to saving money is often getting past the hurdle of feeling like it’s a painful chore. That sense of “Ugh, not again” can be tough to shake if you don’t approach saving with the right mindset. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips to help you and your family cut corners and holds onto your cash without feeling like you’re doing something unpleasant. With the right attitude, it can even be fun!
A great way to stay frugal is to eat at home, but the nightly routine of fixing a meal and cleaning up the mess afterward can become wearing, especially if you’ve got little ones running around. One solution is to make dinner prep into a kind of game, injecting fun into simple chores. Encourage your entire family, including kids, to come up with dinner ideas. Have “contests” where family members vote on their favorite meal, and parcel out awards to your kids when they “win.” (Obviously, it’s a good idea to split the victories and make sure your children wind up with similar numbers of victories. Rigging the contest is a small price to pay for domestic tranquility.) Turning dinnertime into an event that involves your entire family is a great way to turn evenings into a bonding time, and what starts out feeling like a chore will become something much more involving. Plus, it’s cheaper than eating out!
On a similar note, you can get your family to eat cheaper — and healthier — by encouraging sack lunches. Instead of letting your kids buy a greasy lunch at school, plan a variety of low-cost but healthy alternatives for them to take. Be sure to change up the patterns, too, offering sandwiches one day but noodles the next. This goes back to the basic problem of making a fun practice out of something that’s ultimately a cost-saving measure, but you can do it. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Here’s another way to keep the family happy and pinch some pennies: Free media. Renting movies and buying books can be costly, and a trip to the movie theater for a family of four can run you $75 or more, which is practically criminal. The solution? Don’t pay! Take your family on library trips to stock up on all the free media you can carry. From books to DVDs to CDs, the public library is a great way to keep your family entertained while maintaining a frugal lifestyle. There are tons of benefits to doing this. For starters, you can encourage your kids to explore the world of reading, while also finding great stories for you and your spouse. It’s also a great way to get the whole family out of the house for a fun errand. Most of all, it’s a way to teach your little ones to practice smart spending and to take advantage of great opportunities in their lives. Libraries are great resources, but only if you use them.
The goal of living frugally is to save money and live within your means, but that doesn’t have to mean living a dour existence defined by restriction. Talk with your family about what they want to get out of life and then work to find ways to accomplish those goals at a reasonable cost. Most of all, have fun!
This guest post is contributed by Jena Ellis, who writes on the topics of Online Certificate Programs. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email Id: email@example.com.