How to Get Your Entire Family on Board to Save Some Dough

You want to save money, but you don’t know where to start. Your family trusts you, but they’re not really on-board with any specific plan. That has to change. Saving money is hard because everyone has to commit to it. If even one family member feels like you’re taking away anything that’s enjoyable or of value to them, they might sabotage your efforts. However, you don’t want to develop an adversarial relationship with your spouse or children. Here’s how to get your whole family behind you and motivated to save money.

Revisit Insurance

Insurance is a major expense for most families. Between life insurance, health insurance  homeowner’s insurance, and auto insurance  you can easily spend a third of your take-home pay on “protection.” While you should never sacrifice coverages, you really need to reassess what you need and what you don’t.

For example, your life insurance policy probably has certain riders attached to it. Do you really need them? If you own a term life policy, odds are that the premiums are really low. Most agents add on a disability waiver of premium. This rider waives the premium payment if you become disabled. However, if you have at least 6 months of premiums saved up in your savings accounts, you probably don’t need it.

family savingsA popular rider on auto insurance is personal injury protection and medical coverage. While these are important to have in some states, many agents recommend really high coverage levels. If you have health insurance, it will cover your medical bills associated with an auto accident (after your auto medical coverage is exhausted). Consider lower your coverages on medical coverage on your auto policy if it overlaps your health insurance.

Also, it might be a good idea to ditch towing and car rental services. Most of the time, a AAA membership is a better deal – rental services are rarely used. When they are, it’s usually cheaper to pay out of pocket when you add up the lifetime costs of rental insurance. Finally, accidental death and dismemberment insurance has a high cost to benefit ratio. Often, it makes more sense to drop this coverage and rely on your life insurance which pays regardless of the cause of death.

With all of your deductible-driven insurance policies, it might make sense to raise the deductible as high as the insurer will allow. This will dramatically reduce your premium. In general, when you do this, it’s a good idea to put that savings into a savings account. Build up enough money to pay for all of your deductibles. Once this is done, you can do whatever you want with the savings.

Ditch The Cable “Deal”

Cable companies often offer package deals for consolidating T.V., Internet service, and telephone land lines. Usually, this is a good idea if you watch a lot of T.V., and use your land line  However, many families find that they don’t really use a land line anymore – opting for cell phones since they are more versatile.

Also, when it comes to T.V., really think about the shows you watch. Do you really need 100 channels? If you’re not a big T.V. watcher, you might benefit from canceling the service, and relying on your Internet connection. Services like Hulu Plus and Netflix offer a pretty good selection of T.V. shows, and the price is very cheap compared to cable – even after you add in the savings from cable packages.

Make Baby Food At Home

If you have a small child, one of the biggest expenses you have is food. Baby food is expensive. Fortunately, there’s nothing special about it. it’s just ground up food. You can make this yourself at home if you have a food processor. Even if you don’t, it might make sense to purchase one and save yourself money over the long-term.

Carrots, apples, beef, chicken, pork, pears, peaches, broccoli, and pretty much everything else your baby needs can be mushed up using even the most modest of food processors.

Shopping: Back To Basics

Do you eat a lot of junk food? Potato chips? Processed foods? Think about how much all of this costs. You might be surprised to learn that it’s actually cheaper to buy healthy foods. Fresh or frozen vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower provide you with a wealth of nutrients and are much cheaper than the latest, greatest “boxed dinner.”

Even meats aren’t that expensive when you buy them in bulk. Beef, chicken, pork, and turkey all freeze very well. Save the bacon grease like your grandmother used to – it makes for an excellent cooking oil. Get back to basics, and buy whole foods. It’ll make an immediate impact on your grocery budget.

Walk and Bike

Gasoline is expensive. When possible, consider riding your bike or walking. It’s more than just exercise you’ll be getting. On sunny days, you’ll also be exposing your skin to UVB rays, which is essential for the production of vitamin D. When ultraviolet rays from the sun hit your skin, your body converts cholesterol to the vitamin D hormone. Vitamin D is crucial not just for bones but for your body’s immune system. Walking and biking really will keep you healthy.

Louis Winter is a financial advisor. He frequently writes about how to save money in new places on personal finance blogs. Click to find out more

2 Responses to How to Get Your Entire Family on Board to Save Some Dough

  1. We teach our kids that leaving the lights on or the water running is “wasting coins”. They can grasp this simple concept and even correct each other when we are not there to remind them to turn the lights off.

    Making a simple game out of it has worked wonders for our family!

  2. Walking and biking are great on saving gas especially when its close enough for the family to get there without a car. We try to walk more places instead of getting up and packing into the car. We just had our little one and the wifey was thinking of trying to make baby food so we will see how that goes.

    @ Derek – I really like the wasting coins! i think I’m going to start using that one.

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