Getting Your Family Onboard With Money Management & Saving

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When we tried the cash jar method, it was something that both of us agreed to and were pretty careful about making sure the budget would work, but this was not the case with all of my ideas for saving and paying off our debts.

No money management idea will work if your whole family are not onboard with the idea.  Meal planning gets ruined by a child crying for pizza, your cash jars go out the window when someone comes home with a large purchase not discussed beforehand, someone goes to the bar after work and your entertainment budget for the month and more is gone.  For me, our biggest issue was getting the small spending under control, the coffees and donuts and grabbing a sandwich for $7 in Toronto because you didn’t make a lunch.  Once those were under control, we looked for ways to cut our budget further to pay off debts quicker and save more.

That was when I started couponing, and when we had the most issues with family disagreements over budgeting.  Although he seemed to be onboard with the cash jar idea from the start, deep down he felt like a child waiting for Monday for a new allowance when he knew money was sitting in our accounts.  He liked the idea of saving money more than actually doing it.  Couponing just pushed him over the edge.  He thought, like many, that people would think we were poor and look badly on us because of it, he was embarrassed standing in line with a coupon.

So we came to an agreement, our budget was already where we wanted it to be, we were paying down debts, saving and the majority of the time, staying within our jar amounts (with some borrowing from other jars) but he wanted that freedom we had before – so we agreed to a non jar allowance on top of the money we had allotted to ‘everything else’ as a personal allowance of 20% of whatever we saved or earned extra.   As many on the SmartCanucks’ forums know, I have a nail polish addiction – that ‘reward’ money pays for those ‘wants’ that I don’t need.  So if I want to buy that extra $10 nail polish, I need to find $50 in savings from our budget or earn an extra $50 that month and he gets a matching $10 too.  The other 60% gets divided between savings and debt.  He was soon offering to work on Saturday or asking why don’t I have a coupon for an item when it went directly into his pocket.

For others, the hardest is giving up a certain name brand, especially for kids.  One week it is Quaker granola bars because they were on sale, the next it is store brand, one week iogo yogurt, the next Astro.  You have all seen the kid crying in the grocery store because it has to be a certain kind, but giving in will not help you long term.  If your children are old enough, explain that their allowance or hockey equipment comes from the savings. Give them some reward for helping you in your goals.

Meal planning works well, especially if you have a treat day, as they can look at the plan on the fridge and know they can have that pizza tomorrow.  It is not just a no.

A friend pays her daughter $1/week on top of her allowance to help clip and sort her coupons and look through the flyers and match them up with her (and her younger brother’s) favourites.  Her daughter is learning from a young age how to budget and about earning money (I think she gets more excited than me about the flyers being early).  She has a folder with their favourite items and how much she will pay for them. Once the proper grocery list is done, they are given $10 to spend on treats from that price sheet.  If they can find them in the flyers, they can have them.  She updates this monthly or so according to coupons she has so they just need to look at the flyer price and she worries about the coupons.  If they don’t spend it all, it goes into a ‘fun jar’ and they use it for movies and towards their next Disney vacation – something they never could have afforded several years ago before saving and couponing.  Then if she does have to take them to the grocery store with her, ‘their job’ is to find their own items which distracts them from the usual ‘mommy I want this’ arguments.


“I realize this may not be for everyone, but after years of “helping” me grocery shop by throwing whatever they wanted in the cart, it is a happy medium. Amelia really does enjoy helping and is learning great tools for the future.”

Obviously this is not for everyone, but as she mentions, her children were used to the choice and choosing what they wanted at the grocery store – so if you are starting out in the same situation, it may help you ease your children into the couponing/saving lifestyle.

Yes, saving is not meant to be fun, but you will be more likely to stick to it if there is some reward at the end of it all (other than savings and paying off your debts).  It is all about what reward works for you.

What advice do you give to those starting out on getting their families into the SmartCanucks lifestyle?

This blog is part of our New to SmartCanucks series, click here to read more blog posts in the series

6 responses to “Getting Your Family Onboard With Money Management & Saving”

  1. Rmebrt75 says:

    My husband is fine with me using coupons provided I am not with him and I never ask him to use one. Lol. A recent example of this was when he took our kids to the movies last week. I had received a free Cineplex childs combo ticket from reward points. It is a real ticket….not a coupon and he would not use it!!!!! He payed full price rather than use the ticket(and then complained about the prices!)

    The ONE time 8 years ago that he agreed to use a coupon for photo development at shoppers, the 16 year old cashier told him it was expired. He came home mortified(probably cursing me all the way home). I looked at the coupon and showed him it was good for another year. That experience ended any hope ever of me getting him to use coupons. ~sigh~

    Great posts lately!

  2. jld87 says:

    I grew up in a house that had a tight budget, and it totally rubbed off on me! We were only allowed 1 glass of milk at dinner, ham OR cheese on our bread.. not both. She made our bread in a breadmaker and we didn’t have granola bars or juice boxes. If my mom chose to take us grocery shopping with her it was a privilege.. and we’d rub it in to our siblings lol.

    Whatever you do, make sure your other half is on board with you, I’ve learned I can save all the money I can grocery shopping but one trip for him to the corner store (across the road argg) can undo the 20$ in savings I had… so make sure to buy the snacks or whatever that he wants, otherwise he’ll go get it himself and pay 2X for it!!

  3. Angie says:

    Great advice, and truth, my husband? separated now, hated this. I was doing this without the jars for last 15 yrs, and he didn’t like the “allowance” though we saved, went on vacations, never did without, he golfed, ate out , etc. Eventually so “upset” with not spending “his money” I let go, and for 3 yrs he did what he wanted, including another married woman on dates/etc…. So here I am again restarting the budgeting, looking for better ways to do this, get my kids involved, as now we NEED to really cut down. The budget plan from yesterday was great.

  4. purplebunny89 says:

    I think saving is fun, its a hobby for me 🙂

    I actually enjoy adding up the bills and receipts at the end of the month because its a competition to me to see if I can do better then last month. I also enjoy when my hydro bill comes because I can see if it went lower from trying harder to save energy.

  5. Sue says:

    Hubby LOVES reading and comparing the flyers and was on-board with price-matching until he discovered every stores offers it’s own in-store specials. So, what starts out as time to price match turns into frustration at the possibility of missing an in-store special if he sticks to the ONE grocery store. Pretty sure there are weeks when any potential savings have just been used up in gas used to go to store-to-store. Not huge coupon users as we’re not brand-name shoppers and coupons tend to be for thing we have no use for. Really enjoying all the advice and suggestions and try to implement them. Our daughter is 20 years now and as many have said, get the kids on board. They usually respond really well in my experience. Daughter’s first lesson was about 5 or 6 when she left the tap running all day after brushing her teeth. When the water bill arrived, we explained this to her and she had to pay a dollar toward the bill. Tap hasn’t even dribbled in the past 15 years….

  6. AlCanada says:

    My husband and I are polar opposits – he loves spending money without a care in the world, and I am as frugal as they come. A year ago I lost my job briefly, and started couponing to keep food on the table. He was very reluctant at first, but I gently and persistantly explain the savings to him in a way that he can relate to (e.g. coupons for clothings he wants), and celebrate small victories rather than focus on savings we didn’t achieve. Over time, he really warmed up to the idea, and now applies it in his own way to things he buys.


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