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Tips for saving money as a family

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

The family piggy bank

In the summertime, we all tend to spend a little more money. With the kids home from school, many everyday costs go up — from electric bills to food expenses. Plus, we have to consider the costs of summer vacations.

This summer, take time out to teach your kids about saving money and reducing expenses. Saving money doesn't necessarily mean cutting out entertainment and family activities. With some smart budgeting tips, you'll still have money left over for family fun.

Explore discounts

For household expenses, routine purchases and family activities and events, it's essential that you search for discounts and coupons before you buy. For grocery shopping, try CouponMom.com for printable and online coupons at local markets and superstores. When shopping online, always check out RetailMeNot.com for promo codes, free shipping offers and other discounts.

Restaurant.com Gift Card

We all know that preparing meals at home can save money, but that doesn't mean you need to eliminate dining out altogether. From sushi to pizza and from family restaurants to steakhouses, Restaurant.com offers more restaurant deals than any other website out there. You can save at over 18,000 restaurants nationwide. And right now, you can get $25 restaurant gift cards for only $10. Instantly print them or send the ecards via email, or even ship the cards across the country with free standard shipping.

Start teaching kids about saving money and allow them to actively participate in budgeting, shopping and making money decisions.

Have a family meeting

Call the family together and announce the topic of discussion is saving money as a group. Ask for ideas from your children about what they want to save up for. Next, come up with ideas for how you can earn money as a group. A good choice might be a garage sale.

The kids should also offer ideas for how they'd like to contribute individually — like adding their birthday money from Grandma into the family pot. But if they're not old enough to babysit or get a job, how can they contribute by working and earning money?

How much to pay? Many experts suggest $1 per year of age per week.

Hire your child

For your child to understand the value of a dollar, start first by giving him the opportunity to make money. Talk to him about your job, and how the money you make from your paycheck pays for everything from the electric bill to the house he's living in. Then, give your child certain jobs and tell him you're going to pay him an allowance for those tasks. (Many experts suggest $1 per year of age per week.) Set up a chore board (a suggestion: call it a responsibility board) and list the items your son or daughter will have to check off the list in order to earn their money each week.

Teaching your kids about money and debt >>

Take your child to the bank

Take your child to the bank and open a savings account in his name. Have a conversation with him about the importance of saving and ask him the things he'd like to buy with the money he puts in the bank. Giving him a bank book with the balance and teaching him how to track his deposits and withdrawals will give him a better appreciation for the value of a dollar.

Take your child shopping... with his money

The next time your child wants to buy something, take him to the store and show him the price tag. Then, tell him if he wants that item, he'll have to withdraw money from the bank to buy it. Nine times out of 10, he'll decide he doesn't want it bad enough to have to spend his hard-earned cash.

Top 3 money lessons for kids >>

Time to make a family purchase

Now that your child understands the importance of earning and saving his own money, he can start contributing to the family "cash jar." He can go to the bank and make a withdrawal when it's time to put his part into the pot. When you've saved up the amount of money to buy your new family treasure, everyone should make the purchase together. After, you should celebrate with your new toy or vacation or whatever it is. Have fun!

More on kids saving money

12 Ways to teach your kids how to save
Teaching kids the importance of saving money
How an allowance teaches a kid about money

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