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Whether you're a stay-at-home mum or working part or full-time, you'll know the constant urge to be thrifty and save up so that your kids can get a better education and you and/or your husband retire more comfortably.
But how can you practically save for the future? Can it only be done by complicated financial arrangements and the like? Here we survey five simple ways that you, as a mum, can save money for the future.
Teach your kids to recycle
We're talking about everything - even little things like birthday cards here. Instead of buying new boxes of cards every couple of moneht, you can cut off the top half of received cards and use them as new cards like a postcard! This is surely handy with so many kids' birthday parties to attend. And when it comes to wrapping presents, you can use paper grocery bags instead of expensive, decorative wrapping paper. Let your kids get creative by decorating the paper too, and put that extra money you save into a bank account for your little one. Believe us, they'll thank you in the long term.
Cut down on the electricity
While some things you can't control, like the fact that your kids get sweaty and need their clothes washed, there are sustainable living choices you can make that will save both your wallet and the environemt in the long run. For example, turn off your cable set-top box when your kids aren't watching the TV. Other ways include organising your fridge for optimum cooling and turning off lights when not in use. You can even switch to cold water instead of hot water if you handwash the dishes. Remember: every little bit counts.
For the supermum...do extra chores
If you're a supermum who has exhausted you to-do list, consider scanning through your local classified or websites such as TaskRabbit or OneShiftJobs. There are many busy people who are outsourcing their daily errands and chores to willing helpers in their local neighbourhood, or who just want help for a day or two. For all you know, you might make some easy money helping someone with their laundry or simple office administration work. Not a bad way to spend a couple of spare hours!
Sort out your super
It goes without saying that the best way you can save money for the future is to sort out your super. Although you employer makes some contributions, you can also salary sacrifice some of your income so it goes into your super - tax free!
In addition, if you want to take more control of your future, look into a self managed super fund which you manage and control yourself, instead of a managed super fund with a company. While having a managed super fund is easier, having a self managed super fund means you can be in charge of the finances that are essential to your lifestyle fifteen, twenty, or even thirty years down the line.
Take a leisurely walk
Mums can both save on their monthly gym membership and get paid a decent sum of money by becoming a dog walker or pet sitter. In the latter case, you simply host a dog when their owner goes on holidays. Not only do you make some instant cash, but your kids also get a free source of entertainment for a couple of days - not a bad way to make some extra money!
Alice Johnson is freelance writer who is interested in business and smart money management.