5 Ways Dads Can Make and Save More Money This Summer

Here’s how fathers can improve their family’s finances.

Most people think of summer as a time to spend money on vacations. But for dads, it can also be a good time to save money or even make some. The days are longer, which means that families may be enjoying free outdoor activities. The weather is warm, so families can spend less on heating (although they might be spending more on air conditioning). And with so many people on vacation, things can sometimes be a little quieter at work.

If money’s on your mind this summer, here are five ways to make or save more money to improve your family’s financial situation.

Automate your savings. As a dad, you have a lot of things you need to save for, from college and retirement to Christmas and vacations. Unfortunately, if you wait until the end of the month, finding money for all of them can be tough. Automating your savings as a deduction from your check is the best way to ensure that your good intentions don’t pave the way to an empty savings account. How do you automate your savings? Contribute to a pre-tax retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or traditional IRA, to save for your retirement. Or consider contributing to a 529 savings plan for college expenses. These are all savings plans that are automatically deducted from your check before taxes come out, which increases the actual amount you will be able to save.

Open a Christmas savings account. Saving for those big expenses, such as Christmas or vacations, can be challenging, which is why these kinds of purchases so often end up being paid with a credit card. The interest on these purchases then adds to the overall cost of the trips or gift. Get ahead of the game by starting a savings account just for these kinds of expenses. You can set up an account with your bank and have funds transferred directly into this account, automating the saving process. Some credit unions or smaller banks even offer a special savings plan, called a Christmas Club, just for this purpose. But if your bank doesn’t, you can still take advantage of this idea. Just make sure to put the money you’re saving into a high-interest account, such as a money market account, through your bank.

Max out your retirement plan employer contributions. Many employers offer a 401(k) matching program that matches your contributions up to a certain percentage of your income. These employer-matching programs are very popular. Of employees who participated in a retirement savings plan through their employer, 62 percent were in plans in which the employer matched, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For instance, if your employer matches your contributions up to 5 percent, that means when you save 5 percent of your income in your 401(k), your employer will contribute the same amount. Your 5 percent suddenly turns into 10 percent. If your employer offers this program, make sure to participate in it since it doubles your money with no additional investment or effort on your part. Also keep in mind that you are not limited by employer contributions. You can always save more.

Sell your excess stuff. Every time the season changes, you inevitably retire some items. This is especially true when you have kids since they outgrow their clothes, shoes and toys almost as fast as you can buy them. Instead of letting the discarded stuff clutter your home, why not turn it all into some quick cash? Now’s the time to go through your kids’ things and identify which items you can keep, sell or donate. To reduce the hassle of selling and get the most money for your items, bundle your clothes by size and season and sell them in “lots” on Craigslist or eBay. EBay buyers often pay more, but if you don’t want to bother with shipping, go with Craigslist to find local buyers. Take note: Summer is the best time to list kids items since many parents are getting started on school shopping.

Make more money with a side gig. Saving money is great but sometimes the best thing you can do to improve your financial situation is to increase the amount of money coming in. That’s why, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 29 percent of workers nationwide have a side hustle, including 44 percent of those age 25 to 34. A side gig has many benefits, from allowing you to increase your job experience and work on projects you enjoy, to increasing the amount of money you have left over at the end of the month. There are many ways to do this in today’s “gig economy.” You can drive for Uber, list your home on Airbnb, start freelancing through a site such as Upwork or even begin a consulting business on the side. The options are almost endless, but check with your employer to ensure there are no rules at work that limit your ability to moonlight at another gig.

The summer will be over before you know it. Implement these ideas now, and you could make a significant improvement in your family’s financial situation in just a few short months.

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