USAA Tips: Plan your week and save

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

Keeping your spending under control when your calendar is out of control can be difficult. In order to keep life as simple, harmonious and planned, follow some of these simple rules to help keep everything on track.

Use Shared Calendar Apps.

One of the best ways to keep everyone scheduled is to use a shared or a family calendar. There are numerous free mobile and cloud based software apps available that accomplish the task of a shared calendar and notifications. Ensure that all family members are on the calendar, notifications are set for everyone, and everyone can change and adjust the calendar.

Create a Weekly Calendar Responsibility Plan.

One of the largest expense items for a busy weekly plan is extra gas from trips to and from various activities. On Sunday mornings, have a brief 15-minute family meeting with the calendar to determine who will go to which activity when and why and what they need to bring. Also, determine which family member will be responsible for drop off and pick up. This plan allows for the most efficient transportation to save fuel expense.

Pre-Make Meals and Snacks for the Week.

Takeout food, drive-thru, and buying snacks can get very expensive very fast. In order to save money, actively prepare and freeze 4-5 dinners and lunches the weekend before and refrigerate them during the week. The prepared meals can be either reheated at home or taken with you to activities. Keeping the car stocked with healthy snacks and drinks keeps everyone fed and healthy while reducing unnecessary calories and expensive snacks. Finally, plan for any friends or relatives coming along to make sure that there is a meal and / or snack for them.

Pre-Pack the Car with Items for Activities.

Packing your car on the weekend with all the necessary items for sports activities, e.g. soccer balls and water bottles will help make sure you have everything you need and hopefully prevent a last minute purchase of a critical item. Finally, create a simple checklist and double check right before you go so nothing is inadvertently left behind.

Tell the Kids the Plan for the Week.

Keeping kids in good spirits during a busy week is hard. A great start for the week is to tell the kids the plan for weekly activities, what the meals will be and where they will be eaten, and ensuring the kids pack toys, books, and drawing items if they have to wait at an activity while another child participates. When kids get grumpy, the wallet comes out fast to buy them something to get them to calm down. Tell the kids the plan, the meal plan, and make sure they have their favorite items.

Take a few minutes of planning and preparation for a happy, productive, week of activities and savings.