Budgeting Advice for Families

Families who have too much month left at the end of the money have found that a family budget helps them take control of their finances.

 

A budget is a tool that helps you plan and understand your spending. It puts you in control of your money, instead of your money controlling you. A budget can:

  • Show you where you are wasting money
  • Help you save for trips, college and retirement
  • Reduce stress in relationships and families

Budgeting Basics

Too often families are at the mercy of their next paycheck, spending when their pockets are full and not aware of upcoming expenses and shortages of income. Without a budget, it is difficult to understand how much money you spend on coffee, dining out or utilities. With a family budget, you will not be able to hide how much you spent last month, or how much of your income goes to credit card debt.

Budgeting is a powerful tool for saving, as well. Being able to avoid credit card debt by saving and paying cash for larger items can save a family hundreds of dollars in interest each year. Unfortunately, for many families, impatience and thinking they “need it now” leads to deep credit card debt which robs them of being financially secure. By adding items that you want to purchase to your budget, you can effectively save for them and buy them without adding any more debt to your bottom line.

Sharing your finances

In the beginning of any partnership, conversations about money can be scary. You may be embarrassed by your debt, you may be afraid that your partner’s goals will not align with your goals. It is normal for married couples to have different ideas about money and budgeting. If you take the time to understand each other’s priorities you will be able to create a plan that works.

Money may not buy happiness but mastering control of your family finances will bring peace and confidence to achieve your financial goals. If you are interested in ideas on how to handle your family’s finances and budget there are many different categories to explore:

  • How to create a family budget
  • How to combine marriage and finance
  • How parents can save money
  • How to save for a family vacation
  • How to save for your children’s college expenses

Family Savings Goals

Learning how to create a family budget can help your family afford to do and buy the things you all want. A budget does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. A few simple guidelines will help you get organized and stay on track with your spending. It is important to get whole family (especially those who share in the financial responsibilities) committed to the household budget and to review it at least twice a month. Budgeting is not time consuming, either. Once you have your budget set up, it will only require a few minutes each week to maintain.

Marriage and finance can be a tricky mix. Above all it is important that couples are honest about money matters and share their thoughts and information openly. Studies often show that finances are the number one stressor in marriages, but they do not have to be. Planning ahead and making sure both you and your spouse are working toward the same goals can ease the tension that financial discussions sometimes cause. Talking about finances when you are newly married is especially difficult. As you learn more about each other every day, it is important to take the time to understand each other where finances are concerned. As your relationship grows, and your financial status changes, it is critical to keep the lines of communication open and to make your plans together. Working towards the same goals will unite you as a team and enrich your relationship.

Parents find budgeting extra challenging. With kids, there are many unplanned expenses such as education costs, sports fees, injuries and medical bills, and even the ever-growing grocery bill. Knowing how to look ahead at upcoming events and milestones can help you anticipate some of those expenses. Budgeting helps parents see where there is too much spending and where there may be opportunities to cut costs.

 

Being in control of your money means you will be able to use your money for the things you want, like a dream family vacation. Saving for a family vacation takes organization, commitment and patience but the reward is worth a hundred times the effort. When you take off in an air plane, knowing you earned the vacation with your hard work and budgeting efforts, your vacation will be that much sweeter and stress-free.

A big family stressor is how to prepare for your children’s college expenses. With budgets and expenses, your money still only goes so far. So how do you save for your kids’ college? Utilizing special savings programs and power of compounding interest can get you there more easily than you thought. The earlier you start, the better off you will be. There are a number of tips and tricks that parents have used to make a college savings account grow without causing too much pain or sacrifice to your family.

Finances are a team effort

Finally, family budgets and finances must be a team effort. There are many different ways to handle family finances successfully, and there are many resources for tips, advice, strategies and tools. Finding what works for your family will evolve over time and will naturally change as your situation changes. But above all, communication is the key. Just like partners in business, partners in life must be able to trust each other, and that includes finances. It doesn’t matter where you are in your relationship or what your financial situation is. What matters is that you get started, right away! Begin to budget, communicate, save and plan your family finances. Be the master of your money.

 

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