It’s so important especially when you have a family to look after that you adopt good money habits.
Although this sounds difficult it can be really easy to do just by making a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle.
Most families today have mounting debts with no horizon in sight.
If you really want to have financial freedom and be able to enjoy family time without having the pressure of money constantly on your mind then having good money habits is an absolute must!
I’ve taken the liberty of putting together 10 steps that you can implement into your family’s financial situation to help you to save money.
10 Good money habits to have
1. Live within your means
This sounds so simple but you will be surprised by how many people don’t actually live within their means.
I’m not suggesting that they do this on purpose but its quite easy to spend more than you earn if you never write down your spending habits.
A few years back this was our story.
As a family, we never had a budget we simply purchased and paid for all the things that we needed that month without ever questioning if we could cover the cost of it.
Because we weren’t used to having anything that remotely resembled good money habits, it was easy to live life this way without thinking about it.
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2. Make sure bills are paid on time
Paying your bills on time is super important. It will help you to avoid paying any late fees that can be applied to your account.
The best thing you can do here is to make sure that you pay your bills automatically so that you don’t have the responsibility of manually paying them each month.
It’s an easy thing to forget to do.
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3. Go shopping with cash and not cards
This has been my secret weapon when it came to clearing debts.
You will be surprised how effective doing this is.
If you plan to go shopping its always going to be a good idea to go with a shopping list in hand.
If you do this it’s still very tempting to buy items that were not on your shopping list.
Supermarkets are set up specifically to get you to impulse buy items.
Each item placed in a supermarket is strategically placed to get you to spend more. Remember that. These practices work.
Just think about the number of times you have come back with impulse purchases and how much money you could have saved if you didn’t buy them.
If you go shopping with cash instead of debit cards or even worse credit cards then this will definitely help you to curb your unplanned spending habits and replace them with good money habits.
If you only have a certain amount of cash to spend you can’t spend more than the amount you are holding.
4. Overpay your credit cards
The smartest thing you can do with credit card debt and similar is to make sure that you overpay them wherever possible.
We had a debt of $23,000 a few years back and I simply hated it.
It felt like a constant noose around our necks and I just couldn’t get used it.
We spent the next 2 years doing everything that we could to get rid of that bad debt.
Thankfully we were able to achieve our goal and become debt free.
We did 2 strategic things when we had that huge debt that helped tremendously.
1. We made sure that we set up a payment plan for the lowest amount that we could get it for.
2. Each month we would overpay that debt by as much as we possibly could.
You see by overpaying we were able to beat down the interest rate. Not only this but we didn’t have to worry if we were ever short one month.
We had set our monthly rate to an amount that we could afford to pay therefore meaning that we would never incur late charges and there was no added pressure to our financial situation.
People always underestimate the power of saving.
You can look at savings in 2 ways.
Saving so that you can afford things much later in the future like a college savings fund or savings for the short term.
Saving for the short term is really important because it allows you to be able to afford things that might just pop up on you.
Things like car repairs or boiler breakdowns can come out of this fund.
It’s imperative that you keep this ticking over each month to make sure you always have enough reserves to hand – Just in case.
It’s a good idea to keep your saving on auto pilot so that you don’t have to think about putting it away each month.
When I was much younger my parents gave me my first ever savings book. My mom set it up to transfer $25 into it each month from the money I earned from my first job.
I hated it, I felt like I Was losing out each month but eventually I got used to it and even forget about it altogether.
Years later I needed some money and I was reminded about this book.
When I went to check out the balance needless to say I was really pleased!
Save as much as you can on a regular basis even if it seems small at first because you never know when that money might come in handy.
6. Track your spending
Keep an eye on this one because this is where the debt can happen very quickly.
If you are spending more than you are making each month then you are heading for trouble because each month that debt will be compounded if you continue with that same spending pattern.
7. Have a personal spending budget
If you have bad money management skills then this is a great way to help you get a handle on it.
Give yourself a spending budget that you can use for all the little habits that you have each month that you might not necessarily make an account of.
For example that weekly coffee that you have with friends or when you get your manicure done.
These things are not bad but you must be able to account for the money.
Having a cash budget is the way to go about this.
Personally, I like to keep the cash in an envelope so that I know exactly what I have.
This helps a lot because once that envelope is empty I know that my budget is finished.
8. Cook at home more often
I’m not sure about your household but certainly, in ours, one of our biggest expenses is our food budget.
Needless to say its one of the areas that we are constantly working on trying to improve.
We have quickly discovered that meal planning is the best way to go about this.
Having a great meal planning strategy means that you will no longer waste money on buying foods that end up expiring before they are cooked or buying ingredients that you won’t in fact use for months on end.
All these things can contribute to the unnecessarily blowing of your shopping budget.
Meal planning has become so popular today not only because of the money you can potentially save but also because of the time you can save by having planned out all your meals for the month in advance.
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In my honest opinion any money that you spend on the service you will easily make back in savings on food and time.
You really have nothing to lose here by giving it a try.
9. Only buy it if you can afford it
This is a biggie and one that people try not to think about too much. The mistake that people make here is thinking that it will all work its self out later on.
It doesn’t always work out this way and this is how people get into financial trouble.
If you can’t afford it don’t buy it right now.
You can either wait to see if it goes on sale or save towards buying it at a later date.
I have found that if you really want something you will have the willpower to wait and save towards buying it whilst being able to really appreciate it.
Whereas impulse purchases or unnecessarily spending can likely end up saved in the back of the wardrobe never to be seen again.
10. If you have to borrow it, you can’t afford it
This nicely follows on from the last point.
If you have to borrow money from someone or go overdrawn to buy something that you don’t necessarily need then this is not a good money habit.
Be honest unless it is an emergency situation you probably shouldn’t be buying it.
Final thoughts on having good money habits
Its never too late to have good money habits and implement them into your family life.
Start with a monthly budget so you can set some good financial goals that you can work towards.
With a bit of discipline, you can surely turn your family situation around.
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