That is the ultimate question.
As a family of five, I found it extremely difficult to save money. When you sign up for a bank account the associate always says, “You should sign up for a savings account along with your checking account and put at least $100-200 into it a month, because you need to have at most a full months worth of rent and expenses in there”. Sure, it sounds so easy and from the outside looking in, it should be easy, right?
No, it’s not that simple. Especially for those who are not disciplined in the financial department. I am not saying my family is not disciplined in our spending but we aren’t saints either. To add to that we, like many people living in America, have debt under our belts as well. Ranging from school loans to Credit Cards. So saving money is an even farther thought.
Ever since I became a stay at home parent I tackled this challenge daily in my mind. I would sit for a few hours a day and think of ways we would make one income work while trying to save at the same time`. Spreadsheet after spreadsheet I would see how much we needed to spend on bills and how much we were spending on random expenses. I knew we had to shave some dollars here and there but I wasn’t finding rational and progressive ways to save money.
Week after week went by without putting anything into our savings account. $100-$200 was a big number. An intimidating number. I thought of doing extreme couponing like on the T.V shows but after some research I later found out that even though you are spending so little, you are hoarding a lot and wind up with more unused items that eventually start to expire or you realize you don’t even need some of the things you bought like 50 diabetic sugar level monitors (don’t know the official term). So that thought flew out of the window as quickly as it came in.
Then one day after grocery shopping I looked at how much money I had saved that day, something I don’t normally do. It was a whopping $60! And I am not saying that sarcastically either. By using the store rewards card and manufacture coupons that were in the store ad that day; I managed to come up with big discounts at the end. I was so proud of myself I sent a picture of the receipt to my husband. He was pretty impressed as well because he is usually the main penny pincher in the household. I sat in the car, looked at that receipt and the idea came to me right at that moment. That’s how we are going to start saving money.
From that day forward, I started to pay attention to how much I was saving on my grocery or shopping receipts. Depending on the savings, I would immediately put that amount into the savings account or let it build. If they were small amounts here and there I would just wait until the end of the week and then pull that money from our checking account and put it into our savings. It has definitely started to add up. And even though it wasn’t the $100-$200 dollars that was suggested; it still made me feel good that we were actually starting to save money.
So if you are like my family and I and struggling to find ways to save money; this is one tip I suggest you try. It might not work for some but it might for others. Starting small to work up to something big is the message here and I hope I will be able to help some folks get on that path to saving for something big.