December 20, 2023
New Year, New Lessons: Make Saving a Family Matter
The new year is a great time to impart some introductory but timeless money lessons to the young people in your life. Not only will it help you all become more connected around the family budget and provide a better understanding of the value of money, it can also provide important lessons for young people to carry forward. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to review your own spending behaviors to help find areas for potential savings!
We’ve shared a few suggestions to help you get started. You may find that leaning into these discussions this holiday season will be the gift that keeps on giving, for yourself and your family.
- Reviewing As a family, periodically review recurring expenses such as the subscription services you use and decide together on one (or two or three) that isn’t really being used or valued. Are you still paying for the gym even though you've been working out at home? Maybe it’s the movie service or cable/internet upgrade that you realize you no longer need. This can help you save money that may have been leaking from your budget.
- Saving Start a savings account and automate a regular transfer toward a family occasion. Choose an amount you won’t miss. Maybe you start with what you saved while implementing the tip above. Decide together if it goes to a “fun money account” for summer vacation or the account you use to splurge during the holidays? Consciously creating a budget is the foundation of financial wellness!
- Shopping Point out the choices you make when you shop. Explain to your child why you are buying the store brand, show them the price by weight rather than sticker price or how much more a prepared meal costs versus cooking from scratch. During the weekend, plan your weekly meals together and then shop for ingredients. It teaches budgeting skills and helps you avoid being caught off guard by an empty fridge.
- Understanding Money can be a tricky concept for children to understand. It is important to help them understand that money is something that is earned and worked for, especially if they frequent the ATM or drive-up window with you and may view money as something that can just be given if you ask for it. Having your children set up a piggy bank or savings account to reach a goal can be a great way to signal that saving takes time and it’s something that must be learned in order to responsibly make purchases.
The start of the year is a good time to get a fresh start with your finances, and also presents an opportunity to provide lessons for young people. Let 2024 be a turning point of your family’s financial wellness, starting with some simple behaviors and habits. Explore more savings habits on the Cape Cod 5 blog.
Financial Know-How Program Manager
Jim joined Cape Cod 5 in 2018 and has been the Financial Know-How Program Manager since 2020. He has a degree in Psychology from Catholic University in Washington D.C. and is a graduate of the New England School of Finance, a two-year program offered by the Massachusetts Bankers Association and hosted at Babson College. Jim is an active member of the community, serving as an advisor to a local nonprofit and on the Barnstable High School Business Innovation School steering committee. He lives in Plymouth with his wife Brigid.