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By Laura Royer

One of the biggest reasons many military families do not save money is that they do not know where to start. While there are many different ways to find the money to save, here are 10 easy ways to help military families you work with as Personal Finance Managers (PFMs)  get started now.

  1. The 52-Week Savings Challenge.

The 52-Week savings challenge is one of the easiest ways to get a military household started by saving money. Your client will save the amount of money that corresponds with the week they are in currently. For example, for the first week, they will save $1. In the second week, they will save $2. They will continue to do this for an entire year and the most they will ever save in a given week is $52.

Your client can start this saving strategy at any time of the year, as it does not have to align with the first week of the year. The great part of this savings strategy is if they follow it, your client will easily have saved $1,376 in only a year! Here is an example of a 52-week savings challenge:

52 week savings challenge image

From Purdue Extension

  1. Earn extra income

If your client is on a tight budget, they can find ways to make extra income. There are many options to make money from home such as freelancing, tutoring, dog walking, or sitting, working in customer service for a larger company, etc. The family could easily earn an extra $500 a month just by picking up odd-end jobs or work-at-home opportunities utilizing their skill set. For more ideas check out [link to the 5 Ways to Generate Extra Income Working Online

3. Save tax return money

If your client received any money back from their taxes, this is the easiest and quickest way to deposit a large sum of money at one time. While it is tempting to use the money for other things, talk to your client about trying to save at least a portion of the money to put toward their financial goals. This is a great way to put some money aside for financial emergencies, especially if your client doesn’t have any money saved at all.

4. Cut some expenses.

Many times, families are spending money on things they do not need or even want. Your client may not even realize how much money they are spending on frivolous things. The first thing to always have a client that you are working with doing is to track where his or her money is going and cut out any unnecessary spending. Then he or she can reallocate that money to be put into savings

5. Plan a spending freeze

 Instead of eating out, going to the movies, or buying unnecessary things, encourage your client to save money instead. Be sure that the client takes the amount of money he or she would normally spend and put it into their savings account.

6. Save coupon money

If a client you are working with likes using coupons to stretch dollars, encourage him or her to take it to the next level. Have the client put the money they didn’t spend and move it to savings. Even if they did this one time a month it will add up.

7. Eat one less meal out a week

 By cutting one meal out, a family could easily save on average $40 a week. If that family did this every week, they would save on average $160 in one month or $1920 a year.

8. Sign up for free customer reward programs

 These programs offer points and discounts. When your client earns a discount, he or she can take that money and put it in savings. It’s a way to pay themselves even more money in savings. Search the internet for programs that are available to help your client earn rebates or discounts. Your client can ask about these programs at the stores they frequently shop at.

9. Cut unused memberships and subscriptions

If your client has unused memberships or magazines they do not read, this is the time to cut them. This is money that they could be saving for their emergency fund or other important financial goals. Have your client add up the cost they are spending on various memberships or subscriptions.

10. Save money earned from working overtime or bonus money.

Since bonuses or overtime money is not guaranteed, encourage your client to save the money earned when they receive extra income. This is a great way to add up their savings fast.

Have your client try at least one or two of these tips to get started, and they could easily save a large sum of money in no time.

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs