Here are three things that are working for our family’s budget this month (you can watch the Facebook Live video I did on this same topic HERE):
1. Designating money for family fun.
Every month we set aside a certain amount of money for family stuff: dates, going out to dinner, special outings, movies, etc. Since we’re heading into spring break, I’m checking my “family” envelope to see what activities we can do during the week.
Right now I have $80 (that’s how much we have left for the rest of the month) so I know exactly what things we can afford and I’m never in danger of accidentally spending money on fun (a non-essential) that was supposed to be used to pay for rent, food, or a utility bill (an essential).
2. Making our kids buy their own stuff.
If you have school-aged kids, this system will save you so much money (and teach your children incredibly valuable financial management skills).
We don’t buy our kids extra stuff. Like almost never. We don’t buy soda at restaurants, toys at the store, bonus/extra clothing. We say “no” to almost all of the “can I have this random thing” requests.
Why? Because our kids have their own money and they are free (ish) to spend it the way they wish, with our input, of course.
Our kids are given tons of opportunities to earn money. They can do extra jobs around the house, they can work at their grandparents’ houses, and my husband pays them for random stuff.
For instance, he sets up a jogging program during the summer and they earn money and prizes for running laps around the neighborhood. They are all earning money right now practicing their typing skills on the computer.
The key is that you, as the parent, provide your kids with lots of chances to earn money. And that you commit to not buying them random stuff.
This system paid off big time earlier this month when we went to Disneyland. Our kids worked semi-hard before we went to earn money and then they had the freedom to buy whatever overpriced soda or flimsy princess sword they wanted. And my husband and I saved a ton of money because we weren’t spending our money on the extras throughout the trip.
I did buy the kids Disney-themed zip pouches with lanyards from Amazon before we left so they could have a safe-ish place to store their money (and they all easily fit in my backpack when they went on rides or got tired of having it around their necks). Here are the ones I bought (they were all less than $4 each):
- Set of 3 Mickey and Friends Lanyards with Detachable Coin Purse
- Set of 3 Disney Star Wars Lanyard ID Holder
These options were also big enough to hold their iPods. You can find more Disney coin purse + lanyards on Amazon HERE.
3. Waiting to make online purchases.
I’ve been forcing myself to wait a day or two before I purchase something online. I’ll check out a sale, fill my cart, then walk away for 24 hours or so. Sometimes I forget to open my computer before the sale ends and sometimes I decide that I really don’t need or want that item any longer. And sometimes I end up purchasing.
This “cooling off period” has saved me a ton of money and it gives me more confidence when I actually buy something because I know I really want it.
I’d love to know: What’s working for your budget right now? How are you keeping your spending under control and sticking to your spending plan?
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