‘Budget’ does not have to be a scary word. Yes, I know it sounds restrictive; rather like ‘diet,’ or ‘schedule.’ But what if we had a little perspective shift?
What if we thought of it as a tool for managing and maximizing our money? Suddenly, it becomes less about punishing ourselves and more about rocking our financial goals.
So if you want to keep your own money stress low, your kids happy and your bank account in the black, then these tips for improving your family budget are for you.
1. Stay clear of the edges
This is about leaving a little buffer between you and the edge of your financial resources. When you plan your budget, round down your income and round up your expenses. This leaves a small zone of safety for miscalculations or surprise costs.
2. Need versus want
Let me start by saying that both categories are perfectly valid – you are allowed some desirable objects. But take care of your needs first.
3. Short versus long term
Do not just budget monthly. Keeping your eyes on the prize quarterly and annually is a very smart move too. Where do you want to be financially in one year’s time? Plan for it now and you can make it happen.
4. Keep it in context
When we focus so much on how much money we have, it is easy to get carried away with it. Money does not need to be on your mind every minute, and let’s just remind ourselves that it is not the center of the universe.
If there is one truly finite resource on earth, it is time, not money. So I suggest you focus more on spending quality time with your family, and that does not have to mean spending much at all.
5. Teach the kids the value of money
Do your kids expect you to just hand over their allowance when they want it? That is not a great deal for them or for you. Try setting them some chores in exchange for allowance. Yes, I am suggesting that they earn it.
Not only will your housework benefit from the extra help before the kids ‘payday,’ but also they will understand the concept of money being earned.
6. Plan your menu for the week
Every family budget has a few leaky points, and for many, groceries are a big hole in the bucket. So many families shop without a plan, and it is a classic way to waste funds.
Plan your meals for the week, list the ingredients, and then buy only what you need. It is so simple. Hey, why not keep a note of how much you save each week, and use it to treat the family at the end of the month?
7. Work in some fun
Just as it is true that a diet that it too strict will not last very long, the same is true of budgets. Fun, in my opinion, is essential. After all, what are we working so hard for if we are not allowed to live a little?
With a few simple steps, you can totally reboot your family budget and have more extra cash for the essentials or entertainment. Do you have any clever budget tips? Please leave me a comment below.