This past year I did something different when it came to saving money for the children's immediate expenses. I chose to put coins and dollars aside from shopping trips; rather than give them money every time a holiday or a request was made. Instead, I added the money to separate accounts I had made for them in the past. Once an unexpected need came up, I took from that money rather than from bill money.
Those unexpected expenses were not the large kind, just those little annoyances. Like the event in school, the needed school supply, or some thing that suddenly came out of nowhere like some needed tutoring materials. Talk about save for a rainy day. By cutting down on the gifts during the holiday season, rewarding less (that too was breaking the budget) and turning the children down on many unnecessary requests, money was being saved for those unexpected expenses. I can tell you that for far too many years I had been worried over not being able to get certain things for household, children and me, because I spent every dollar up on something that I or they only wanted, but didn't really need.
Consider saving some money for yourself too, but for wise future decisions. Those unexpected expenses can come out of nowhere for you too! Turn yourself down sometimes when you find yourself just wanting another bottle of perfume, lipstick, household gadget, or fast food meal. Save that money for the pressing need that will come later, and trust me, it will come most likely sooner than later!
So if you haven't done something like this already for the children, here's a simple to-do list:
1. Visit a site like Ing Direct and make separate savings accounts for the children.
2. Name the accounts.
3. Have an automatic deduction each month go into each account from your main checking account or some other account.
4. Take change from store visits and put away in a place that doesn't advertise that you have money (ie. change jar, envelope).
5. Add cash once a month to your change jar. This way you have cash on hand as well as monies in the bank for those unexpected expenses.
6. Consider putting a set amount of money on a pre-paid card for older children.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER:
7. Teach children to give at least a dollar away to a non-profit group or someone in need.
8. Allow children to handle their own money when they show they are responsible. However, limit responding to their requests for more money.
9. Set up a chore list.
10. Find other ways to reward them for helping out and doing well in school that doesn't break your budget.
Nicholl McGuire Author of When Mothers Cry