You might not have the time or ambition to be an “extreme couponer,” but there’s no reason why you can’t cultivate a culture of savings in your home. With convenience driving a lot of peoples’ decisions these days, it’s no wonder that Americans are having a tough time saving money. In fact, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post, 75 percent of Americans don’t have enough money to cover their bills for six months. There’s a high premium on convenience. Here’s how to turn the tide and save more money:
Cultivate Family Values
In order to get your family on board with you, you need to cultivate certain values that all family members can agree on. If there’s no common purpose for saving money, your family will be reluctant to make any changes – let along major changes – to their spending habits.
Everyone in your family must see the significance and importance of changing their spending behaviors. For kids, they must be taught, in simple terms, what it means to save money. They must be taught the benefits and consequences of spending money, and why there is a value in saving.
Maybe you and your family really enjoy taking a vacation every year. This could be a common value that everyone wants to work toward. That would be a good family value. Another value might be health. Your kids don’t like feeling sick. You probably don’t either, and neither does your spouse. No one does. How do you save money while being healthy? By cultivating good food values.
Ditch the junk food and opt for whole foods – unprocessed meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, some dairy, and healthy fats derived from natural sources. Contrary to what you might think, healthy foods aren’t all that expensive. Even if you can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen ones are often very affordable and offer similar – if not identical – health benefits.
Get your family motivated to go outside and get some sun. Sunshine is essential for the production of vitamin D, a crucial hormone your body needs for proper bone health and immune function. Once your family is motivated by common values, saving money for those values will be easy.
Organize Family Money Saving Strategy Sessions
Sometimes, it’s easy to talk about saving money but difficult to get the ball rolling. That’s why strategy sessions are critical. Pick a day of the week and hold a family meeting. Have an agenda. Lay out the family’s shared values, discuss goals. Discuss how those goals will be met. Get commitment from everyone that they will do their part to help achieve those values. This isn’t about “the greater good.” It’s about everyone getting what they want so that everyone is a winner.
Strategy sessions should be held at the same time every week. This creates a pattern of behavior and will make it easier to stick to savings goals. It also makes it easy to hold family members accountable for their actions.
For example, if your children are used to getting spontaneous purchases at the grocery store, they may object when it’s time to stick to a strict grocery budget. Sometimes, it’s not possible to reason with children, especially when they want something and have their heart set on it.
The strategy sessions every week can be tailored for your kids so that there’s less chance that they will bug you for stuff that isn’t in the family budget. Remind them, when you have their full attention, that the family trip or eating healthy means that you have to stick to a budget.
Involve them in the decision making process (within reason). Instead of spontaneous purchases, you can remind them that they helped create the budget and they need to stick to it.
Lead By Example
It’s difficult to get people to follow if you’re not a leader. If you’re the one organizing the family meetings, are primarily responsible for setting the positive “tone” in your family’s discussions about money, and you’re trying to motivate your children to help out where and when they can, it’s absolutely essential that you lead by example.
That means sticking to the budget, not making excuses, being responsible and accountable for your actions, and making positive contributions to family meetings. In a sense, your new family culture of savings starts and ends with you.
Louis Winter is a life coach. He loves to share tips for families on parenting blogs. To learn more, click http://www.