Having a family surrounding you every day is one of life’s biggest joys. Yet, with so many people to manage, you may often find it more difficult to spread your finances so easily. Owning a home, having kids, and feeding a family are all just a few reasons why people incur financial trouble in their lives. This can add extra stress on top of the family commitments and work you may already have, but it is something that can be easily avoided before it becomes a big problem. Even if you are not great at understanding finances, there are some tips you can implement quickly and easily into your family routine, without having to burden your mind.
Talk about money
One of the biggest mistakes families make when trying to manage their finances is to not talk about it. When you have a partner or kids who are old enough to understand the value of money, having regular talks about spending habits or how financially stable you are should become part of your lives. This may be tricky when you are struggling, but unless you are honest about what is going on, your kids will never be able to learn about family finance effectively. Not only this but as the parents in your home, any large expenditures or financial setbacks should be discussed, rather than being brushed under the table to be dealt with at a later date.
Make a monthly budget
One of the best ways to manage your money is by making a budget. While thinking on a monthly scale is tricky, it allows you to take into account a few weeks’ worths of spending and incomings, so you know the concessions you can make. Sitting down at the beginning of each month and making a loose plan of what needs to be paid for, what money you have coming in, and how much savings you can take for that month is a great place to start. If you have a large family, it is sometimes wise to employ an accountant for a short period of time to help you work out where your money is going.
Take note of spending habits
Over time, you will notice that there are some aspects of family life that you spend more money on than others. Although you may feel as though your budget accounts for this, you could be seeing a mismatch in numbers when it comes to the end of the month due to unrealistic expectations. Before you start your budget for the next month, remember to take note of how much money you have spent on food, schooling, and clothes before you set out to make a more accurate budget for the coming months.
Prepare for emergencies
Although you may have accounted for emergencies in your budget, there will be times when your backup fund doesn’t stretch far. This can be in the case of car accidents, an unexpected job redundancy, or a surprise tax bill. In this case, it can be easy to rely on credit cards to get you out of certain messes. While these are great for small emergencies, you can see huge interest rates on large ones which may become unmanageable. In times like this, you can use a payday loan to help cover any expenses that arise until you next get paid. The best thing about these loans is that they are usually available immediately and don’t require a long credit check, which means they are always there for you in your time of need.
Have a joint account
When you are your partner operate as a unit, it can be very easy to sign up for a joint account through which to get paid into and spend money from. This is ideal for those families where one partner is the sole breadwinner and those where both parties are working. This is because it makes it much easier to track spending, especially in times where money is tighter. The best thing to do is to build your own credit scores, but keep a joint pre-paid credit card for you to put your budget onto for the month. Not only will this enable spending to be easily tracked, but it means that you can put your life savings into another account without having to worry about any large expenditures.
Have a multiple savings accounts
When you start to mix your spending budget in with your savings, this is where confusion can occur over your finances. The last thing you want is to have your savings eaten into without you realizing, so it is key for you to have a separate account where you can put your savings. Ideally, you should have more than one, where you can specify for each area of your life. This could be for retirement, for family holidays, or for emergencies; in any case, you should keep it safe. In the chance that you would like to invest your savings into stocks, these accounts can become more important, as you don’t want to see any losses on your investment impact whether you can put food on the table that month.
Look to the future
When you have a lot going on in your home life, it can be impossible to think into the future when you need to focus on what is in front of you. Yet, having an account such as this will mean that your future is taken care of without so much as a second thought. If you put some savings away each month, you can create a great amount of your children’s college education or your own retirement.
Buy food in bulk
When you are a busy homeowner with lots of kids to feed, it can often be easier for you to go on quick trips to the store whenever you need any food in your house. However, these small trips can add up and become more expensive than if you buy in bulk. Although buying large amounts of food is a big expense up front, it will save you lots of money in the long run due to savings on multibuys. In the United States, couponing can help you save on household items such as toilet roll and washing up liquid, as well as on food. Making the time for a big store trip every few weeks means that you will only have to pop out for fresh foods to keep your family fed well.
Don’t shy away from second-hand
Whenever you are looking to buy some new clothes or update your home with some new furnishings, the first option many people jump to is to go to the closest store and pick up whatever they see. While this might work in the short term, in the long run, it means your expenses on such things will amount to a lot. If you have kids, then this amount will be even higher. Luckily, lots of secondhand online stores, or thrift shops, have more affordable items for you to choose from. Often, there will be many hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere else. Shopping at such stores is not sustainable, but if you can cut down on some spending here, you can save more money for better purchases in the future.
If you can make the time each week, it’s wise to skip your usual store food shop by seeing which food is available locally. Sometimes, you can find better quality fresh food that is cheaper because of how few food miles it must travel to reach the store. Not only this but if you can build a good relationship with nearby, local food businesses, they will be more inclined to give you the best produce they have available, as your business will mean a lot to them.
Grow your own food
You could go one step further to grow your own fresh produce at home. Meat, sweet treats, and milk will need to be bought in the store, but you can grow fresh fruit and vegetables in your garden to save lots of money on healthy eating each week. This will also help you instill healthy eating habits in your kids, and teach them to be self-sustaining. This can be a huge saving if your family consumes large amounts of fresh produce each week and cuts your shopping time in half once you have a healthy allotment growing.
Save your change
Much spending in the modern day is done by card, but there will be times when you take cash out to spend in the store, or in other places. This can mean that you are left with lots of spare change after some purchases, which is easy to assume is worthless. However, if you make a change jar and fill it with all the spare change you collect every day, then this can add up to a hefty amount in the long run. This change can be put towards your next holiday, a family meal out, or straight into your weekly shopping, where you can shower your family with treats.