Did you enter the New Year with a goal to finally take control of your money and start being a better saver?
Have you already fallen off the wagon?
It’s ok. You’re not alone.
And just because you haven’t stuck to your new plan 100% so far doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel for the rest of the year.
There really are simple things you can do to get yourself back on track to achieve your family savings goal.
1. Revisit Your Goal To Decide What You Really Want
Before you go and beat yourself up for failing at your New Year’s resolution, take a few minutes to reflect on what you really want...and why.
Goals don’t work if they’re generic and set because they sound good or you think it’s what you’re supposed to do. They have to be meaningful to you.
For example, do you want to save money so you can enjoy more family vacations? Are you worried you won’t have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement someday?
Once you get crystal clear on why you want to save money, it becomes a little easier to get back on the wagon and make the choices that will ultimately lead to your success.
2. Schedule Consistent Time to Work on Your Goals
No matter what your goal, whether it’s about health or wealth, you need to dedicate time to work on it. If it didn’t require time and effort, you would have achieved it already, right?
When it comes to losing weight, you know you need to schedule time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. Money goals are really no different. Instead of scheduling gym time and planning your meals, you need to schedule time to review and track your spending.
The only way to start saving money is to earn more money than you spend. So if you are unsure of how much you earn or how much you spend, achieving your goal will be super tough.
So using a planner like the Living Well Planner I reviewed here can be a perfect place to schedule consistent time to work on your money goals.
3. Cut Back in This Huge Spending Category
Food is the second most expensive budget item after home mortgage or rent for most families. This means food is one of the greatest opportunities to find savings as well.
One of the best ways to cut back your spending on groceries is meal planning. When you plan your meals for a week or month ahead of time, you:
- Can plan meals and snacks around sales at the store
- Can use those high-value coupons you always forget to use
- Have a plan for every item that goes into your cart
- Don’t end up buying stuff “just in case you want to make that one dish”
- Only go to the grocery store once per week
- Don’t end up ordering takeout simply because you don’t know what to make
If you’ve tried meal planning before and it hasn’t stuck, you’re not alone. Sticking with it is the hardest part, and it wasn’t until I found this meal planning template that I finally felt found a system I could stick with for good.
4. Keep Track of Your Progress
Remember the gold star sticker charts from your youth?
Those worked for a reason.
It can be incredibly effective to track your progress toward your goals in your planner or even in a bullet journal. A weekly or monthly view to track progress toward each of my goals is motivating because who likes to see a bunch of missed days in a row?
This could totally work to track your progress toward your savings goal too. For example, if you’re saving for a vacation you might have a picture of a beach that you color in one section for every $50 you save. Or if you’re saving for a down payment on a house, you might color in lines that fill a house picture for every $250 until you reach your goal.
These simple ways of tracking your progress can be ridiculously motivating, especially if you hang them in a place where you see them daily.
5. Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Deals
Oh, I know. I LOVE getting deals too. They used to suck me in all the time.
But then I discovered how to do some quick math to figure out if I was REALLY getting a good deal. And yes, you need to do the same.
Like when I first reviewed Brandless, a healthy online grocery store where everything is just $3, I initially thought everything was a great deal! It wasn’t until I broke down the math to compare Brandless vs Aldi vs Amazon vs Vitacost where I really figured out how to save money on healthy groceries.
The truth is, Brandless has a lot of great deals and the delivery to your doorstep is a valuable perk. But like any store, you can’t assume everything is the incredible deal it’s advertised to be. I like to grab my phone to do a quick calculation or compare prices on Amazon to see if I’m really getting a worthwhile deal.
6. Get A Rock Solid Accountability Partner
Finally, like my girl Rachel Hollis says in Girl, Wash Your Face, it’s sadly common to break promises to ourselves.
We say we are going to save money this month, then we don’t. We say we’re going to get up and go to the gym, but we don’t. How can we start to keep our word to ourselves the way we do for others?
When you know others are counting on you and checking in on your progress, you feel a little more motivation to make choices that will make you and your accountability partner proud. So finding someone who will hold you accountable in a supportive and loving way is key.
This person can be your spouse, a friend, your mom, or someone in a like-minded Facebook group who’s also trying to save money. Without someone checking in on you, it’s too easy to fall back into old habits and kiss those savings goals goodbye.
If you’ve already fallen off the bandwagon of your goal to save money, it’s not too late. There is still plenty of time to take control of your money and paint a better, more secure financial picture for you and your kids.
The keys to reaching that finish line of your savings goal are:
- Clarify your goal and why that’s something you want
- Use a planner to schedule dedicated time to work on your savings goals
- Meal plan using templates that fit your family’s lifestyle to stop wasting food money
- Track your progress in a place you’ll see it daily
- Watch out for fake “deals”
- Find someone to hold you accountable so you don’t give up on yourself
Saving money is a worthwhile goal. It’s been on your mind for good reason. Once you start creating simple yet effective habits toward saving more, you will be excited to pay cash for that next vacation, build an emergency fund for when life happens, and confidently and comfortably retire in the future.
What is your favorite way to save money?
About the Author
Val Breit crushed over $42,000 in student loans in just 34 months on a teacher’s salary. When she’s not fishing her toddlers out of the toilet, she’s over at TheCommonCentsClub.com showing parents simple ways to save money with apps like Mr. Rebates, so you can live a life you love without feeling financial stress.