This summer, many families are taking a break from activities that typically keep them busy—summer school, swim lessons, vacations, etc. With more time at home, now is the perfect opportunity to give your family finances a little TLC. Having a set plan or even making saving a competition can make it less of a burden and more of fun family event. Check out the following tips for creating a family-fun saving challenge this summer.
Start with a team huddle.
Before creating your family summer saving challenge, it’s important for all family members to understand why you’re embarking on this journey together and what it will take to be successful.
- Consider it a reset. When your weeks are filled with summertime fun, it’s easy to lose track of your finances. Creating a specific goal for your family gives you a moment to pause, evaluate your financial situation and get you back on track before things get too far out of control.
- Saving for upcoming expenses. If you’re hoping to buy a new TV for the family room, put in a backyard pool or plan a trip, why not involve the whole family in the saving process? This can teach everyone about saving and responsible spending, all while helping the household work toward a common goal.
- Plan ahead. Before starting, it’s important to look ahead. Make note of any upcoming expenses that might derail your challenge. Anticipating these expenses can help properly set goals for saving and can limit frustrations or disappointment ahead.
- Know your spending habits. Have each family member make a list of their purchasing “triggers.” From online shopping sprees to coffee shop espressos, knowing your Achilles’ heel can help you avoid spending money unnecessarily this summer.
- Track success and regroup often. Don’t just set it and forget it. Checking in with the whole family on a weekly or monthly basis will reinforce your goals and make sure everyone is staying on track. Hosting a weekly or monthly family budgeting meeting can also help set realistic goals and keep everyone on the same page.
Let the games begin!
Nothing motivates a family quite like a friendly competition. Whether your victors receive a prize or bragging rights, creating a contest is a great way to encourage your family to save. Here are a few ideas to get the family in saving mode.
- A month without spending. Of course, you’re still allowed to spend money on essential items such as gas, food and utilities – but aside from that, all other purchases are off limits. That means no date nights, manicures or movie rentals. Take this time to cook meals as a family, have a family spa night or swap movie night for game night. All extra money saved during the month goes toward that big family purchase.
- Empty the kitchen. Put grocery shopping on hold for as long as possible. Eat only what you already have in your home before buying new meals. Most of us have random ingredients in our freezer and pantry that are waiting to be used. This challenge eliminates pricey restaurant or grocery store tabs and helps finish meals and ingredients before they expire. It will also force your family to get creative with what you have and you just might find a new favorite recipe. All that money you would’ve spent at the grocery store puts you one step closer to your summer saving goal.
- Grocery shopping challenge. Split the family into two teams. (If there are two of you, make it a head-to-head competition). Divide your weekly grocery list into two, splitting it as evenly as possible based on the expected cost of items. Whichever team can return home with the lowest grocery bill wins, and the losing team has to do dinner dishes that week. This fun challenge forces your family to only buy what you need and save money by opting for less expensive brands and ingredients.
- The utility bill challenge. Look at your utility bills from the previous month. Set a goal to reduce your bills by 15% (or a percentage of your choosing) each month. This is a fun challenge that puts all family members on the same team. Hold everyone accountable by encouraging each other to turn off lights when they aren’t needed, open windows instead of running the air conditioner and take shorter showers.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. You can switch up the challenge each month or try incorporating several at once. Take this opportunity to educate your whole family on the importance of saving and spending responsibly. You could even consider creating a family summer savings account, allowing all family members to contribute and manage it together. Need help setting up a summer savings account or setting financial goals? Meet with one of our team members (virtually or in person) to get started today.