By Laura Royer
One of the biggest reasons many military families do not save money is because they do not know where to start. While there are many different ways to find the money to save, here are seven easy ways to help the military families you work with as a Personal Finance Manager (PFM) get started now.
- The 52-Week Savings Challenge. The 52-Week savings challenge is one of the easiest ways to get a military household started with 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 any time of the year. If they follow this strategy, they will easily have saved $1,376 in only a year!
- 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 “Five Ways to Generate Extra Income Working Online.”
- 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.
- 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. Your client can 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.
- 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.
- Cut unused memberships and subscriptions. If your client has unused memberships or subscriptions, this is the time to cut them. That is money that they could be saving for their emergency fund or other important financial goals.
- 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.