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35+ top money saving tips for families from our readers

35+ top money saving tips for families from our readers

Our recent The Barefoot Investor for Families (affiliate link) giveaway turned up some fantastic money saving tips for families. So good, we found it really difficult to choose two winners. The tips were all too good!

We didn’t want to lose any of these money saving gems, so we’ve rounded up our favourites here. Get your hands on a copy of Scott Pape’s book if you can – at the very least it will remind you the importance of teaching our kids about money. These tips should help!

35+ of the best money saving tips for families

Raising investors

“I let my 11 year old son be “in charge” of our finances for a month. I explained exactly how much came in and stipulated how much we put aside for bills each week/month. Then the rest he was in charge of. Food, doctors trips, takeaway night, clothes needed. If anyone wanted or needed anything, he had to OK it. The exercise was a valuable process for us all. That distinction between want and need became more clear for him. I’m going to let my other kids have a go next.” – Danielle

Top money saving tips for families - start early

“Decide on something you will ‘sacrifice’ to save for a holiday, ie. no more tuckshop or pizza or take out coffee. Each time you forgo that item, put the money you ‘save’ into a jar and watch it grow. (NB, unless you are camping, you will no doubt need to put aside additional money each week, unless you are absolutely pizza addicted)” – Samantha

Start early

“Our main savings tip for families is to talk to kids about the value of money from a young age. My kids hate any mention of ‘budget’ (because it means they can’t get what they want right now!), but being honest with them when we can’t afford anything straight away gives them an appreciation of the value of money. They need to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and it’s not an inexhaustible resource. Taking them through real life examples (like saying no to takeaway on a non-takeaway day or refusing to take them to Build a Bear just because they’ve seen a YouTube clip about it…), helps them understand that in a explicit way.” – Kirsty

“Letting my girls make mistakes. One planned really meticulously which showbag(s) to buy at the Perth Royal Show (like the Easter Show) this year – the other daughter didn’t. I bet she learns more from her ($26) regret purchase…” – Kay

“To encourage our kids to save we match any contribution they make to their savings so they get to double their money straight away. They get their savings back when they turn 21.” – Leah

Top money saving tips for families - match what the kids save

Needs vs wants

“Discuss the difference between needs and wants. That’s a real money saver. When categorising things kids need, as opposed to what they want, they start to understand the value of things and be grateful for their own belongings.” – Jemma

Learn the word no. Just because you can buy it, doesn’t mean you should. I’ve been on a bit of a shopping spree lately (replacing clothes and other household items) but I try to lead by example in normal circumstances, saving whatever I can, and showing them how I work out the budget so they can learn my habits without burdening them with adult stuff. I tell them their first instinct should be to save whatever is in their pocket, not to spend it.” – Deb

“Giving a set amount of holiday spending dollars up front to child. If they spend it in one go, their choice but if they budget / more days out or treats for themself. They learn pretty quickly just how much it costs to go out to movies/snacks etc.” – Natasha

“I try to teach the kids comparable costs e.g. Friday lunch at school canteen is $10 or you can take your lunch from home, do it twice a months and voila you can go to the movies.” – Silvia

35 money saving tips for families

Give the kids a ‘wage’

“I’ve been wanting to get a cleaner for ages, but my 11 year old daughter wants to earn some money…so now I pay her to do the cleaning. She only gets paid if she does it properly so she is leaning life lessons….and now I’m not the only one nagging people to keep the kitchen tidy…win-win ” – Susie

Pay the kids in cash for all chores done. We have a list of all the jobs and each job has a value. The kids note down all their wages. At the end of the fortnight I pay them in cash.
They they put this cash in the bank. They are allowed to spend their earnings on whatever they want. But we converse on what it is they think they need so badly. They then go to the ATM to withdraw cash if they decide their purchase is worth it. Our method reduces nagging, shares the load, and teaches us all so much about the value of work and income and spending and saving. My kids are 12, 13 and 14. They are independent kids. I’m hoping to help them understand the value of understanding and controlling their own financial situations.” – Lucy

Coins matter

“My money saving tips for families? Give them the cash! Notes and coins! I teach and lots of children don’t have a concept of money because they don’t see and use it. This confuses them a lot! Plastic cards are endless and the money always comes out of the hole in the wall!” – Laura

“We pay our kids their pocket money monthly. $5 a week didn’t really mean much – buy a treat, and you’re left with shrapnel. But $20 a month? They could SEE the value in that! And if they saved this month and next month? Woohoo, they could see the investment growing!” – Sarah

Watch your investment grow

“Teach your kids to understand money in cash and card. (As this is reality and their future.) Our kids all have a debit card. Generally their pocket money goes there. They can see via app how much they have. They can learn the value of money without holding it in their hand and hopefully it will teach them that using a debit card is about having the money in the bank first. I really hope to steer mine away from credit cards when they’re older. ” – Mandy

“I really appreciate the help that I had growing up. When I turned 15, I was given an allowance to pay for all clothes, entertainment, etc. I could make mistakes & learn lessons on the little things long before I moved out of home at 3 years later at age 18. I’m glad I got to learn those lessons early rather than making those mistakes on bigger ticket items like rent or mortgages!” – Emma

Old-school lifestyles are often the best

“If you have a skill use that in exchange for services you need. For example, I can bake so in the past I’ve baked weekly lunchbox treats for a friend in exchange for a music lesson for my son. We’re both benefiting and both saving some money in the process.” – Belinda

Buy experiences and time together. Not stuff. I’m culling stuff right, now but I don’t regret any “time” that we spent money on.” – Alli

“My tip is to join (and utilise) your local library! Books, magazines, movies, music, computer and internet use, kids activities, homework help, social support, genealogy groups, book club, adult workshops, author talks, and all generally for free! There is sooooo much value to be had at your library. (Yep, I work for mine )” – Delyse

More great advice here: 7 super-easy ways to spring clean your budget

Second-hand is a winner

“The one thing that I have done that has saved our family so much money is joining our local “Buy Nothing” group. We are now part of a gifting economy, parting with things we no longer use or need and gaining things we do at no cost. We have gotten clothes, baby items, kitchen appliances and so much more.” – Melanie

“My best money tips for families is to buy secondhand and never buy new. In other words, never buy new what you can get second hand. Buying previously used items can take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to brand new gear. But tons of stuff can be bought used without any difference as to how and when you use it.” – Rachel

“We buy almost everything secondhand or source it free from Facebook and Gumtree; swap plant clippings wirh others; and have been getting right into the barter economy.” – Jemma

Take care of the pennies…

“Do some calculations on how much money you spend on little things (coffee etc). Make working kids do the same things. A friend’s son, who works at McDonald’s figured out he’d spent $650 on McDonalds in the past 12 months… $1 Frozen drinks do add up!” – Nele

“Put any change you get/ have in to a money tin!  You don’t notice the change but it adds up after awhile!” – Jade

Top money saving tips for families

Money boxes that can’t be opened. My kids have been saving in these all year and they are very excited to see how much they have saved for the Christmas holidays!” – Emma

Save the change and sign up at Raiz are my money saving tips for families! It all adds up!!” – Lynn

“Save all $2 coins in coke can, put away for Xmas presents & you have $500+” – Melinda

Money boxes to put your change into and depositing it into an account once full. When it comes to ‘wants’ sitting on it for 3 weeks and using the saved money. That way not just acting impulsively on something you won’t care for next week.” – Vesna

“Our kids have a “spend” and a “save” money box to help them put money aside for a rainy day!” – Kasey

Mindful planning

“My two money saving tips for families are don’t shop for groceries without a list or when you’re hungry. You make less impulse purchases!” – Ilana

” I never pay full price on my daughters clothes and shoes. Buying up at the end of season sales for the next year and beyond saves me hundreds.” – Heather

“My tip would be to meal plan based mostly on ingredients you have on hand and then shop online and do click and collect for the remainder so you aren’t tempted to buy extras.” – Kassie

Take your own lunch, be it school lunch or work lunch add up what you spend in a week buying it. You can make it for a whole week for much less.” – Melanie

“Fill up the cars on a Monday! It’s the cheapest day for petrol (at least in WA).” – Hadassah

“We work out what our bills are for the year and divide by pay periods, put that % amount into a different accounts each pay. We then do the same for food, school fees, Xmas etc, a little bit more specific than the BFI but still have a small amount for splurge.” – Sharina

Put away a bit each week into a Christmas account (Christmas club accounts don’t allow withdrawals until November in some cases) and watch it grow over the year to pay for all your Christmas stuff. If you buy anything in the sales for Christmas note how much in your calendar in November/ December so you can pay it back into the account it came out of.” – Marnie

Thank you so much to all of our readers who shared these great money saving tips for families!

Feature image by Sam Truong Dan; 2 x putting coins by Annie Spratt;  piggy bank by Getty Images on Unsplash+; investment by Towfiqu barbhuiya