New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing – either you’re keen about making them or you only start thinking of them when someone asks you about yours – usually just about 20 minutes before the clock strikes midnight to usher in the New Year.
Here are some real life New Year’s resolutions from parents for improving household finances in the hopes of helping you out with yours.
Top 10 money resolutions parents are making for 2016
- Stop using credit cards. The interest on some of these cards alone (8-21% – yikes!) is enough of a reason to store these cards in your freezer instead of your wallet. Break ice in case of emergency only!
- Eat out less often. No doubt you’ve been going out for dinner quite a bit these days, if only to avoid the leftover turkey! Eating more meals at home will not only help save money but will also provide you and your kids a chance to bond and learn more about each other. Another great resolution!
- Stop grocery shopping at big name supermarkets. One parent made it her mission to avoid shopping at the big name brands for a year, instead she shopped at the lower end supermarkets for household items such as cleaning supplies, toiletries and canned goods. She went local (farmers market) for her fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats. She ended up teaching her kids about supporting the community and save money at the same time.
- Start using coupons. South of the border reality shows are dedicated to the art of couponing. Canadians are starting to catch on, especially with a plethora of websites to choose from – think Groupon. The Flipp app can also help you price match at the cash register! Loyalty programs are also getting savvier, going so far as to track your shopping habits and then providing coupons for the items you purchase most often. One of our CST parents said his wife was able to bring what would have been an $80 grocery bill down to $0!
- Review the cable bill. Do you really need all of the children’s specialty programming as well as the movie channel along with the new online movie networks to keep your kids entertained? Review what your family watched in 2015 and trim your selection for 2016. Between your cell phone, landline, and the internet the price of these services can be as much as a car lease some months. More families are opting out of cable altogether with online choices growing!
- Teach your kids how to save money. One mom says her daughter spends all of her hard earned dollars from her part-time job on going out with friends. She’s resolved to start teaching her how to save money so at least half of that cash is saved away for more important items, like her university education. These lessons may be difficult to teach at the start but will be well worth it when your child goes away to university and becomes a responsible adult. This leads us to #7.
- Stop paying for your child’s cell phone bills. If your child is old enough to have a cell phone they are old enough to pay for it using funds from a part-time job (see above) or allowance says one exasperated dad. Not only does your child learn about the importance of a hard earned dollar but it will also get them to interact with you and their friends using a method of communication other than #text. LOL!
- Turn off the lights. Utility bills can be cringe worthy, especially in our lovely northern climes with shorter daylight hours for half the year. One parent says she’ll be teaching her kids to start turning off the lights around the house as well as using other energy saving tips this year. Great idea – save money and the environment!
- Invest in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) or other savings vehicle. It just makes good sense if you’re expecting your child to go to university or college and you don’t want them to be saddled with student debt. It will also save you the stress of trying to find thousands of dollars for school when your child gets into the program of his or her dreams.
- Review your insurance options. One parent told us that her teenage son recently received his driver’s licence. A rite of passage for any child but she was also flabbergasted to find out how much he’ll – ahem – correction; she’ll be paying to insure him as a driver. She’s been with the same provider for over a decade and realized she hasn’t done any comparative shopping in years. Even if she sticks with her current provider it’s good to check out what other companies have on offer from time to time. You may be missing out on a great deal!