The Most Helpful Money-Saving Tips Come from Real Parents on a Budget
Open any magazine these days and you’re bound to find at least one article containing Money-Saving Tips and other ways to recession-proof your life. The economic downturn has meant a big step down, even for well-to-do families. Interestingly enough…doesn’t it often seem as if this is the group to which most of the advice is geared?
Some of the “helpful” tips I have read and heard from well-meaning advice-givers have included foregoing the all-natural, organic baby shampoos and conditioners; vacationing at Disney only during off-season times, even if you have to pull the kids out of school (!); and stretching that bi-weekly facial into a monthly appointment.
Thanks very much. But what about families that already had the good sense to avoid over-priced fancy products for people too young to appreciate them, expensive vacations, and beauty treatments? Fear not, for there is some truly helpful advice out there, if you know where you look.
My hands-down favorite real-world concept is Snowflaking. Have you heard of this? I’ve read about it in several places, but the best explanation and examples come from personal finance blogger extraordinaire and dad Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar.
One snowflake does not amount to much in the scheme of things. However, when you put a whole bunch of them together and roll them down a hill, you can build them into something that grows bigger and bigger with every addition.
It’s the same with your money. Go ahead and scoff at the financial advisors who offer ways to put aside an extra thousand or two per month. Who could possibly build that into their budget? With snowflaking, you are talking about a few dollars and even cents that will build up quicker than you think.
Come across a coupon for $1.00 off of your favorite shower gel? Take that one dollar and snowflake it. I’m not joking here—put one dollar into a savings account. Add to that account every time you save money off of everyday things like your groceries.
If you have a credit/debit card that has a round up program, join it and snowflake that money, too (if your total is $27.13, it will automatically debit $28.00 even and put the change into savings). Every once in a while, you may even put something more solid in there, such as the $50 rebate check you received when you were forced to replace the antiquated family computer or other big purchase.