Starting a Family Budget
Living can get expensive in a hurry, especially if you have a family. Whether you’re replacing a broken TV, paying for medical bills or setting aside money for college tuition, it’s easy to get overwhelmed unless you’re properly prepared. That’s why having a family budget is so important.
Making a budget might seem stressful, especially if you don’t have much financial flexibility after paying the bills. Still, it’s important to put your finances in writing so you can make the best-possible decisions. Consider these tips when making a family budget.
1. Keep it simple. Use Excel spreadsheets, or write things down on paper—whatever comes easiest. Don’t make your budget too complicated.
2. Set goals as expenses. Try to budget for small contributions each month to go toward those goals. It helps give meaning to saving.
3. Focus on debt. If you have debts, use a budget to decide which one you’ll work on paying off first. A generally good practice is to start with your lowest balances. If you have comparable balances, then pay off the one with the higher interest rate.
4. Talk to your significant other. Couples sometimes clam up when they should be talking about money. Communication is key when crafting a budget. You want to be sure you’re on the same page.
5. Evaluate billing cycles. You can work with your creditors to adjust your billing due dates. This can be helpful if your bills are regularly due before you’ll have your next paycheck.
Setting a family budget can keep your household’s finances growing in the right direction. Don’t be overwhelmed by talking about finances. With a spending plan in place, talking about money becomes far less stressful.