How To Get Your Reluctant Family On Board With Your Epic New Frugal Life
You’ve realised that you need to make financial changes to your life, you’ve read frugal living blogs, started to make small changes and noticed the benefits…the wool has been stripped from your eyes and you are ready to reject all aspects of consumerism and begin a new, peaceful, frugal lifestyle.
Where to start? Well, quite a lot of things are going to have to change, but you know that it will be worth it. Hang on…the husband and kids are looking at you like you’ve suddenly sprouted an extra head out of your shoulder. Ah. This may not be as easy as it had originally looked in your head.
Unfortunately, just because you have had an epiphany, this does not mean that your family have done the same. This can be incredibly frustrating, and is a big problem for a lot of people when they decide that they need to improve their financial situation. Like it or not, the money that we earn and spend has a huge impact on all aspects of our life, so changing the ways in which we do so, can be a big upheaval for everyone involved.
To you it may sound ridiculous, because it’s obvious to you how implementing these changes will be beneficial for the whole family, and you may feel as though they do not care as much as you do. This is not necessarily true – it can just be that most of us shy away from change, and some people avoid it like the plague.
Fortunately, you are not alone in this, and I am here to help you with ways in which you can get your reluctant family on board with your incredible new frugal lifestyle!
Be Gentle With Them
As previously mentioned, just because you have changed your path on your financial journey, does not mean that your partner or children have done the same. They may be completely happy plodding on down the path that they are currently on, and cannot figure out why you are trying to drag them down another path, which looks a lot less fun from where they are standing.
It also completely depends on their personality as well – some people are naturally more open to new things, whereas some people can try and avoid change as much as they possibly can, because they feel safe where they are. Only you will know how your loved ones will react, so try and keep that in mind when you are attempting to convince them to join you.
How do you feel when someone comes up to you and excitedly tells you that you must do something because it is the BEST thing ever?! For me personally, I tend to put up a defence straight away and think that I don’t want to do that actually, and try to think of reasons to justify this. An example I can give of this is Twilight films. I hadn’t read the books when the films came out, and I couldn’t understand why everyone was raving about them. I thought a film about teenage Vampires sounded ridiculous and couldn’t possibly be good. I fought against it for a long while but eventually watched them and they are now some of my favourite films ever!
Changing someones mind can always be difficult, no matter which circumstance you are in. Be mindful of their feelings and the reason that they may feel the way that they do. Did their family struggle with money as a child and they are averse to spending now? Did their mum spend all of her pay cheque each month so they do the same? Money habits tend to be learned, and the learning usually comes from the parents. Now that’s not to say that their spending problems can be blamed entirely on their parents! Just that it may have a hand in how they feel about money now.
The way that we spend money is definitely an emotional decision, rather than a mathematically sound judgement. If we took away all of the emotion for when we spend money, we would of course be able to easily save a huge chunk of our wages and never spend money on unnecessary things.
I found that something that worked really well for me with my ex, was when I would say something casual about finances, and it would gradually get through to him. For example, like many men, he has always coveted expensive cars, and I don’t blame them – I love them too! I would love to have a Lambo, but I’ve made peace with the fact that it’s unlikely to happen. However, with someone who hasn’t, you need to treat the situation a bit delicately.
With this example, he would moan and say that all of his friends had nice cars – but I would point out that yes, but that is because they are company cars – they haven’t bought them themselves. If he saw someone driving a nice car when we were out and about, he would get envious and say something like “how can people afford these kind of things?!” – so I would just casually say that they are probably either company cars, their parents have bought them, or they have huge car finance payments each month. Down the line, he started saying the same things that I was saying too – small comments or remarks (not negative ones) will gradually get through to them.
Get Someone Else To Speak To Them
Have you ever found that when something good happens to you, or you embark on a new venture, you get a ton more support from people you don’t know? It’s a real thing, it can be easier for people you don’t know, or don’t know very well to support you more. I get so much support from other bloggers and readers than I ever thought was possible!
With that in mind, you may want to direct the financial advice from a different source other than yourself. If you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall repeating the same things over and over about money, and being met with the same unenthusiastic response every time, this is definitely something that you should try out.
When you speak to people who have done a complete 360 with their view on money, one of the things that I hear the most is listening to someone like Dave Ramsey (very popular finance guru in America), and they are suddenly on board. Even if someone like a spouse has been saying similar things, they truly start to listen when someone else is explaining.
Find some sources that speak to your values, and encourage your family to read or listen to them. This could be in the form of a blog, a podcast, Youtube videos, meetings…and more.
Create A Budget Together
The worst thing to do would be to create a budget on your own, and then get it out with a flourish and tell everyone that they have to stick with that from now on. I’m guessing that it won’t go down very well?!
Creating a budget together is important, because you will all be able to see where the money is going, and why. Your other half may not be so happy when you tell them that they have hardly any spending money – unless they can see that it’s because it has a job e.g. pay off the credit card, save for a new car etc.
I use the zero sum budget method and it’s my favourite way of budgeting that I recommend for everyone. Doing this together will make it much more likely that the budget will get followed out, and there will be less animosity between everyone. Your kids will also be able to see why they can’t have the expensive toy that they’ve suddenly decided that they want.
Budgeting should not be skipped when it comes to improving your finances – it will help you make sure that the bills are paid, debt is getting paid, that you still have money for emergencies that pop up, and also some fun money for you all! Don’t forget the latter – make sure that you include some “fun money” or “spending money” in the budget, because stripping away everything solely for bills and debt can be quite hard after a while!
Show Them The Maths
This one is in line with making a budget, because making a budget will hopefully help them see the maths! What I mean by this is, you can go on and on about why you should do this with your money, why you should do that – but your family can argue with it. What they can’t argue with however – is the maths.
If you have a family goal such as going on holiday next year, you can figure out how much it would be and break it down into months. You can then show them how much per month you would have to save in order to be able to afford it.
This can relate to any part of your family finances that you wish to improve, such as paying off debt, saving for retirement, moving house, emigrating, saving for University, going on holiday, getting a new car, etc.
It can be easy to think about the changes you would like to make to your life, but harder to actually make the changes needed in order to achieve these.
Tracking spending is another good way to encourage good habits – and it’s something that I always recommend to go hand in hand with budgeting, because a lot of people tend to guess the amount that they spend on certain things, but they can be wildly wrong in their estimations. Writing down every single thing that you spend your money on makes you more mindful of your spending, but also can open your eyes to the things that you are buying.
If your partner or other family member thinks that they are doing ok, but are in fact spending £50 a week on McDonalds without really realising, this can shock them into action.
Make Small Changes
I feel for those of you who are coming up against resistance from your loved ones, as I have dealt with the same in the past. I personally found that the best thing to do would be a slowly slowly gently gently approach. As I mentioned before, it depends on the person that you are dealing with, with the approach that you choose to make these changes. You will know your family the best, so it’s up to you to decide.
If you suddenly change every single aspect of family life, you are probably going to have a battle on your hands. Nobody really likes change, especially drastic, sudden change. Making small changes can really be beneficial for all of you, especially if you want this to be a permanent lifestyle change, rather than just a quick fix to get some extra cash.
Some small changes that you could begin to make could be something like:
- Start walking the kids to school instead of driving them
- Make your favourite takeaway from scratch instead of getting it from the takeaway every week
- Take the kids to the park instead of on an expensive day out
- Automate some money to go straight out into a savings account
- Make your coffee at home instead of heading for the nearest Starbucks
- Do a packed lunch for all of the family instead of buying lunch out
- Take shorter showers to save money on your water bill
There are of course lots and lots of things that you can change or tweak, but some small changes will start to make a difference to your bank balance, and once the positive effects can be seen, you can increase the amount of things that you change. It doesn’t have to be a big drastic lifestyle change – unless you all agree to it!
Swap Branded Stuff for Non Branded Items
If you’ve seen any of the programmes on TV where they help families to reduce their supermarket spend, they always find that they are spending a lot of money on branded items, but they use experiments to show that they don’t need them. I’ve seen where they have cooked 2 recipes – one with branded stuff, and one without – to see which one they prefer. They always prefer the non branded one!
I’ve also seen where they swap out some of the branded items, but left some in. A lot of the time the family prefer the changes to the non-branded items. When I say non-branded, I mean the supermarkets own items, instead of some by big companies e.g. Dolmio, Kelloggs.
Unbeknownst to a lot of people, is the fact that you could have a supermarket own brand pasta sauce, and a big brand pasta sauce – and they have been made in the same factory. They have the same ingredients, just a different label on it. Essentially then, you are paying more just for a label.
Shopping in somewhere like Lidl or Aldi will help you do to this, as 99% of the store (this is not an official percentage, haha) is filled with their own branded stuff, so the temptation to buy more expensive ones is not there! It can be much harder if you are shopping and are presented with a range of different brands and prices to choose from.
Find Free, Fun Things To Do As A Family
This is one of the best things that you can do to get your family on board, for a multitude of reasons. Something that people in general are guilty of (yes, I’m including myself in this!) is the constant need to be entertained. We always want to do something, whether that be to go shopping, go to the cinema, nights out etc…we want to pay for someone else to entertain us, and we pay a pretty penny for it.
If you have children, chances are that weekends are very expensive for you, because taking them to places for entertainment is crazy expensive – soft plays, the zoo, adventure parks – it’s insane how much they charge nowadays to go somewhere like this!
Doing free things as a family will have so many benefits; not just on your bank balance either. In all likelihood it will allow you to spend real, quality time together and get out in nature (many free things seem to be outside!). Some ideas could be:
- Day at the beach
- Trip to the park (there are SO many in your locality, you may have to look for them though!)
- Geocaching activity
- Lake swimming
- Museum trip (many are free)
- Farm trip (again, many are free to visit)
I have a post with a ton of ideas for things that you can do for free (or very cheap).
I don’t know about you, but as much as my daughter loves going to adventure parks or the soft play, her favourite place in the world is the beach – and she is obsessed with trips to the park as well – she is yet to tell me that she is bored with either of these.
Going back to my psychology learning, it is proven that being out in nature is amazing for our physical and mental well-being – various studies show that patients in hospital have had greater recovery rates when they have something as simple as a plant in their room, or a view of some greenery out of their window. There are various other reasons why as well, but I won’t go into them today! Just know, that being out in nature is one of the absolute best things that you can do for your soul.
Earn Extra Money As A Family
Without a doubt, this is one of the things that my daughter loves to do the most with me. There are a variety of things that you can do together to earn some extra cash, and I really encourage it. Some ideas could be:
- Doing a car boot sale together (good way of decluttering and earning some extra!)
- Dog boarding – you can go for walks and play with the dog together!
- The classic car washing or gardening odd jobs
Earning extra cash will help you towards whichever financial goal you are working towards as a family, especially if you are coming up against some resistance on the cost cutting methods. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do the cost cutting methods – just that earning a bit of extra cash will get you to your goal quicker.
Not only that, but it will help your children to see that money comes from hard work and takes time to accumulate. Learning about money from a young age will be hugely beneficial to them throughout their whole life, especially if they are seeing first hand their parents working hard to earn it.
Also, if you are looking for fun free things to do with your family, doing these side hustles can be a good idea of something to do.
What are some suggestions you can think of that would help someone who is struggling to get their family on board with changing the finances?