Every family is unique. We all have different household sizes and needs. Hence, we have varied levels of budgets. Nevertheless, it’s still important to find the best ways to save money as much as possible.
What does saving mean to you?
Saving does not necessarily mean accumulating thousands of dollars in your bank account.
To save is to have something to use when the “rainy day” comes. And that day can happen anytime. You might have saved an amount from the last paycheck but a few days later, an emergency arises. You took that money out, and that’s okay.
That’s the essence of saving – you set something aside so that you can use it in times of unplanned need. That time may be later that day or the next, it doesn’t matter as long as you are not scrambling to scrape money for an emergency.
Saving successfully does not always entail the longevity of that money sitting in your account. If you have enough money to use for an unprecedented need, you are doing great.
Why is it important to save money?
- Sudden unemployment
- Medical emergencies
- Home repairs
- Sense of security
1. Sudden Unemployment
A crisis can happen unexpectedly and rapidly. Many people wake up one day realizing that they don’t have a job to go. Business bankruptcies are happening at a growing rate.
The present global crisis that we are all facing right now is a good example of an unprecedented time where we need an emergency fund. Lucky for us living in Canada because the government is stepping up to help.
Most places especially the third world countries do not get the kind of help we are getting. This is when the time that savings are highly valuable.
2. Medical Emergencies
Sickness is one of the hard times in a person’s life. It even becomes harder to deal with when you don’t have money to access medical care.
Like it or not, we all get sick at certain points in our lives. Even for situations when we don’t need hospitalization, we still need to dish out money to buy medicine. It’s good to have funds set aside for when we need to attend to our health needs.
Also, sickness benefits do not kick in during the first day that you are away from work. There is usually a “waiting time” wherein you are not paid. It’s the crucial time to have savings handy to use until sickness benefit starts to come.
3. Home Repairs
Home repairs can vary from “as soon as possible” to “it can wait”. There are times that we need to purchase expensive items for much-needed repair.
Last October, we had a problem with our water boiler. It turned out that we needed to buy a new one which costs almost a thousand dollars including labour.
As frustrating as it was, we did not hesitate to call the service company because hot water is a necessity in Canada. Not to mention, it was almost winter time.
4. Sense of security
Savings can also provide a sense of security. When you have extra money for emergencies, you’ll rest easier at the end of the day.
A sense of security is important for your brain. If your finances aren’t on good standing, there is a tendency to be easily triggered. It can cause tempers and worries that might affect your overall health.
Freedom is a big word. Every single person has different interpretations of freedom. Financially, being free to do something because you can afford to, is another form of freedom.
Feeling free is a healthy state. Having a room financially to be able to eat the food that you crave for, is a form of freedom.
Savings are mainly for necessary spending. However, it’s not bad to eat at your favourite restaurant sometimes. When you reward yourself, the feeling of freedom follows.
Best, practical ways to save money
- Save money directly from salary
- Make a grocery list
- Review your subscriptions
- Unsubscribe from online shop emails
- Pack a meal
- Be a discount master
- Buy kids’ clothes and shoes ahead
- Don’t be a rush-shopper
- DIY as much as possible
1. Save money directly from salary
It’s easier to spend the money when it’s already in your checking account. So, break your salary down to go directly into different accounts.
The budget for bills, rent/mortgage, and other necessities should go into your checking while the other “extra” amount goes directly into your savings account.
Whatever you see in your checking account will be your spendable for the whole pay period. Do not touch the amount in the savings unless really necessary.
“What if my employer does not have this option?”
Then you can auto-send or save an amount every payday. Online banking has this option that you can do by yourself. You just need to figure out the amount that you need for the pay period and set the extra money to be sent automatically to your savings account in the morning of every payday.
2. Make a grocery list
Grocery trips are often unplanned. It’s mostly, “Oh, I should run to the store because I need so and so.” This my friend, is not going to help you in budgeting and saving.
I’m not saying to be perfect with grocery trips, but have a system in place to maximize your budget. A planner is a perfect tool to stay on top of your grocery shopping. This works especially if you have a bigger family size.
What has been working for us is having a dry-erase board in the kitchen and every time we run low on something, I write it down immediately. This way, I have a visual of how many things are there that needs replenishment.
If my list is worthy enough for a grocery trip, I take a picture of the list and take it with me to the store.
You can also print the grocery list planner included in the free mom planner and place it on your fridge door. You can write down items as you go and take the list on your next grocery shopping.
Why is it important to have this list or plan?
By having an organized grocery list, you are on the track of what you really need and not grab anything that crosses your eyes on the shelves. You tend to spend more at the store for something you still have at home if you are just guessing the needed items.
Having a planned grocery shopping is one of the best ways to save money for your family.
3. Review your subscriptions
Subscriptions can easily eat your money on the background. These small but terrible amounts can be difficult to track if you don’t list them down as you subscribed.
The mom planner on the free printables library can help you track your subscriptions. You can write down the date you subscribed and when the trial ends if need so. By putting the amount and date, it will let you check on how much you have spent so far.
List all your subscriptions down and cancel what needed to be cancelled. You may have not realized that you have two music subscriptions. That $11 can quickly add up.
A cable subscription is one of the major unnecessary spendings in a household. It is almost a hundred dollars per month (at least where we live), and can be substituted by Netflix or other similar programs.
We cancelled our cable subscription 5 years ago and I’m not going back. That thing is expensive and we can find the same shows on the internet.
4. Unsubscribe from online shop emails
These marketers are good at making you open and click your emails. It’s their job, and believe it or not, they have spent most of their days learning how to lure you into buying the offer. So if you continue getting those emails, chances are, you will eventually buy.
If you have a Gmail account, you might not need to do this. Promotional emails go directly in a separate folder where you don’t get notifications unless you change the settings.
Also, Gmail asks you if you want to unsubscribe from a merchant if you have not opened their emails within a certain amount of time. I find this feature extra handy.
5. Pack a meal
Packing your work meal is one of the best ways to save money. It’s not easy to stay consistent, however, it’s totally doable.
People get hungry; people crave. If you don’t pack meals for work, it’s expected that you will make a quick drive-thru trip to fulfill your hunger.
Whereas, if you have a meal packed, there is much less temptation to go to a fast-food restaurant. Even if you crave for something, that craving will go away after you fill your stomach with the meal you packed.
Cravings are works of the brain. It is a result of starvation. Hence, if you put something in your stomach, the cravings will likely go away.
6. Be a discount master
For buying needs online such as boots for your kids, discounts are definitely helpful. It’s a nice feeling to be able to score a good price for much-needed items.
Aside from keeping yourself informed of deep discounts, you can also install a browser extension called “Honey“. It will automatically tell you if there is a discount code available to use on a website. It’s so convenient when shopping online.
You may feel like discounts are not really impactful on your saving goals. Well, if you combine it with the next tip below, you will see the difference.
7. Buy kids’ clothes and shoes ahead
I only have one kid (6 years old) and I buy his clothes in bulk twice a year. Do I sound crazy already?
Yes, I take advantage of the holiday and seasonal sales in buying clothes and shoes. I know that he’s going to wear a size 13 of shoes this year, so I bought them last year.
The same goes for clothes and pyjamas. I buy them one size larger than what he wears because he is skinny and I know he will use it for at least 2 years.
I buy them ahead and in bulk to get max discount and free shipping advantage. For example, it is the spring of 2020 now, it’s the time that I start looking at winter clothes and jackets for the next year. And since summer is approaching, Winter gears will be heavily discounted for most stores.
I’ve been doing it for years and I find it frugal than buying them one by one. Also, kids outgrow their clothes each year, so we can expect what size they will be wearing next.
8. Don’t be a rush-shopper
In light of the tip above, I would like to point out that if you rush shopping, you’ll end up paying at a regular price and pay for a hefty shipping fee.
One of the best ways to save money on online shopping is to “take your time”. Before I press the “confirm” or “place order” button, I have already done my thorough research. I compare websites, prices, reviews, shipping charges, etc.
If I’m unsatisfied, I let it sit for a day or more and dig some more to be able to maximize my savings.
My husband gave me a “green light” to purchase a laptop on my birthday as a gift. He didn’t buy it himself as he isn’t “techy”. It took me a few days to decide, and I scored it for $200 less than the regular price, on Amazon.
When it comes to online shopping, especially for expensive items, take your time. Think over it, research and compare.
9. Save money by DIYing
I acknowledge that not every mom out there loves to DIY. Apart from that, most moms are busy with work and household chores; DIYing would be at the bottom of the list.
Nevertheless, DIYing is a great way to save money on things that are expensive. For instance, home decor. If you love wall arts, you can DIY it with an existing frame. For the design, you can make your own online with free tools.
Free At The Printables Library
I use Canva for my designs and I love it! It’s very easy to use and full of pretty elements. Try Canva and see if you’ll like it. [I know you will.]
Saving indeed needs constant awareness. You have to stay conscious of your financial activities to maximize savings.
The reasons mentioned above should be enough to act and apply the tips listed to save some money for the “rainy days”.