When you consider what it costs to raise a family these days, the idea of putting some regular savings aside might seem like a fanciful notion that is not particularly realistic.
Most of us also want to enjoy the comfort and safety features of a car like the Chrysler 300 for example, to transport our kids around in, so the question is, how do you make your money stretch so that you can do and get the things you want for you and your family and still put some aside each month?
Defining your goals
Probably one of the biggest barriers to saving regularly is when you don’t define a specific future goal for your savings, which often means that you then lack the motivation to take a disciplined approach to saving.
It is often the case for many people that they are really only likely to seriously work at saving money when they attach an emotional aspect and priority to their saving.
Putting some money aside aimlessly is never a bad thing as it always helps to have some spare cash behind you to deal with a few unexpected emergencies, but if you decided to save for a specific purpose that had an emotional attachment to it, you are far more likely to see it through.
Planning for a special vacation or so that you could buy your child their first car, are just two examples of where you have some specific goals that mean something to you on an emotional level.
Define your long-term objectives and how much money you need to reach them. That way you are far more likely to start finding ways to get that extra cash out of your budget each month.
Crunching the numbers
The only way that you can truly identify where cuts can be made on your monthly expenditure, so that you can put some more money aside towards savings, is to analyze your spending habits in fine detail.
Try keeping a detailed log of all of your spending for a whole month, writing down everything you spend, however insignificant it might seem. It is often a great surprise to many people when they find out how much they spend on things like buying a coffee on the way to work and other minor purchases, that tend to add up to a sizeable number throughout the month.
That morning coffee for example, will likely cost you about $700 a year, which is $7,000 that could be in your savings over a ten-year period. Make a coffee to take with you and you instantly have at least $50 per month to put away into your savings.
Go back to cash
Another good strategy to try is to try going shopping for the months using cash, rather than paying by card. Draw out the amount of cash you have to spend each week on groceries and see how frugal it makes you about what you put in your basket. Paying by card doesn’t feel like paying with real money and often means that you can add a few extra treats each time, which soon adds up.
Paying by cash gives you a more disciplined approach to your money and should end up saving you a lot over the month, meaning that you could find some more for your savings pot without even trying that hard.