Today’s guest post comes from Barnabas. If you want to read more from him, check out his site thedadwallet.com where he discusses ways to increase income and pay down debt.
Back when I was single and had a very good paying job, money didn’t seem like such an issue to me. In hindsight I should have invested more of my money then spending it on stupid useless stuff like food and cars.
But hey we all make those mistakes at some point right?
Then life changed, I met this amazing girl, got engaged, then got married, then 2 years later had a kid! Oh, we also were in college and flipped a house for 30k profits during this time.
Life got BUSY!
Over the years especially after our family grew, we have had MANY talks about money and budgets. I have my own personal opinion on budgets but that’s not what we are here to talk about.
Being a DIK family and having side hustles makes for sometimes a chaotic life, but we still have to save money in order to pay our debts down and prepare for the future of retirement and giving.
Here is my top 10 list of money saving tips for busy families!
1. Create a Budget
Might as well start with the foundation of all money saving tips. You have to be able to know where your money is going so you can tell your money where it’s to go from now on! This is a little fact I see so many busy families missing.
You can make all the money in the world or save and pinch every dime. But if you have no idea where it’s going or where you want it to go then it’s pointless.
Don’t waste your time in setting up an unrealistic budget either, those are just setting you up to fail before you even start.
I do also understand at some point you might have already cut everything out of the budget that you can. That’s ok, you now have a budget and KNOW where your money is going. We can fix the problem of needing more later.
2. Sell Everything But The Kid
One of Dave Ramsey’s favorite sayings is also one of mine! Maybe it’s just our family but when you are a busy with kids, dogs, and side hustles it’s amazing how much you accumulate that you have no idea you even have.
Sell it! If you haven’t used it for a month get rid of it.
If no one is willing to pay you for it, still get rid of it! Having all the extra stuff in your busy household can still cause stress. Stress causes spending normally, which doesn’t help saving.
Plus, selling will help give you more money to put back into savings!
3. Only Buy What You Need
Playing off the tip above, why buy it if you are not going to use it often? Renting something that you won’t use often is a better use of your money than purchasing it then letting it sit around your house and collect dust, which causes stress because now you have to pick it up, not to mention you might even have to clean it from time to time.
Just don’t buy it to begin with and instead if you had to money to buy that item you are not going to use much, take it and pay off some debt or invest it!
4. NEVER Buy A New Car
New cars are fancy and cool but the depreciation with driving it off the lot is CRAZY high and makes this process NOT friendly for saving!
Also, don’t give me the crap about having a reliable car. When has a well taken care of “used” new to you car not been reliable…
Just because it’s been used before does not mean it is not reliable! Always take it to your trusted mechanic first and see what might be going wrong and how much it will cost! I bet you still save more money if you fix all that then buying another car new.
5. Don’t Think Too Highly Of Yourself
I know, I know, everyone likes to think they are worth everything, but why over insure yourself and spend more money?
If you are bringing in $50k a year (not a bad salary) why insure yourself for $1million? The monthly cost that you would be paying is way better used towards a Roth IRA or possibly into your employer matched 401k.
6. Take A Vacation! Yes, You Heard Me Right
Living a busy life of family and side hustles can really mentally drain everyone! Add in trying to be financially smart and save or invest your brain might explode!
Take a break, relax, enjoy yourself!
You will burn out otherwise. Now I didn’t say take a trip to Hawaii or Bali – heck if you are not travel hacking you are going to end up just taking out more debt again!
Why not try a weekend away camping? Camping can be cheap but an amazing time with family and friends!
Not into the outdoors? Take your family on a mini vacation a few hours away and stay at a nice (but reasonably priced) Airbnb!
Bottom line you HAVE to remember to enjoy life, and vacation within reason. Otherwise all the determination to save and invest is pointless.
7. Do Away With Cable
This one can be tough! Trust me there are plenty of other ways to enjoy family time or free time! Most cell phones now have internet, and most have hot spots.
Pay for Netflix and stream that to your TV or Phone.
Enjoy the outdoors more during the summer time. Then in the winter get a local membership to a YMCA and enjoy swimming, rock climbing, child care, and much more!
8. Sunday Meal Plan/Pack Your Lunch/Make Your Own Coffee
I know plenty of people who do this religiously and save so much money! We don’t do it every week but at least once a month!
Pre Plan all your meals for the month so there is no guessing what we are eating tonight and then end up ordering pizza.
Same goes with lunch! Pack a lunch the night before so you do not run out of time and then grab a quick burrito from Chipotle.
Buy yourself a Keurig and some “special” cups of coffee and brew that on your way to work in the morning! You can get an extremely nice cup of coffee and it won’t cost you $5 for a drink.
9. Use Only Cash
Having rewards cards are my little joy in life! But I also have established a game plan and budget for paying them off. I never spend more than I have in the bank to pay off that much.
But I still love to use cash! If you are looking to save money, do an entire month of cash only and see how much less you spend!
Something about handling that cash makes you spend much less!
10. Set Goals That Are Reachable
Last set goals. Not having a plan for your money or a goal you want to reach (maybe that’s being debt free or a vacation away) makes saving money so much harder!
What’s the point of trying to pinch every penny and save if there is nothing to reward you at the end of it.
That being said don’t set a goal to purchase a $4,000 drone in 3 months of saving. One, that will solve about nothing in terms of helpfulness for the family other than being cool. Two, if it is something you want, unless you have a very good paying job, $4k in 3 months might be unrealistic and just set you up for disappointment.
Go Forth And Save
Each one of these tips is a practical way to save money while being super busy! No one said saving and investing was easy. Then again if it took no dedication then everyone would be sitting healthy!