One of the most important aspects of family life is money. Although money certainly is not everything, we all need it, and the better we are able to manage it, the easier family living will. With that in mind, I’ve put together some tips for getting your family finances in order…
Create a budget
The first, and most obvious, thing you’re going to want to do if you’re serious about getting your family’s finances in order, is create a budget. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time – and, in fact, there are numerous apps and software packages that can help you with it – but it is important that you know exactly how much you have coming in and going out each month. Once you know what figures you have to work with, it’s far easier to manage your bills, save money and plan family days out or DIY projects. A budget really does make day to day life a lot easier to manage.
Make a note of your financial goals
Taking some time to sit down as a family and work out some financial goals for the future is a really positive way to plan ahead and put wheels in motion to improve family life in the future. Good financial goals include saving for home improvements, putting money aside for when your child is older and heading off to university and saving for retirement, but it may be that your family have other goals in mind.
Once you’ve worked out exactly what you want, you can start looking into how much money you will need to save. You can then use your budget to determine how much cash you have free to put towards these goals, and then it’s just a matter of saving on a regular basis and reviewing your financial goals on a regular basis.
Get out of debt
If you happen to have debt in your family, mortgage aside, it’s probably a good idea to focus on paying it down. Debt is not only expensive, but it is a common cause of stress and arguments within the family. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to start seriously tackling your debts from transferring your balances to a 0% credit card to looking into loans for homeowners that will allow you to consolidate your debts. If you are really struggling, and you can’t see a way through, talking to a debt counselling charity is a good way to get through and work out a plan that will enable you to manage your debts without being stressed.
Check your entitlements
So many families are entitled to extra government support that they are missing out on because they simply are not aware it is available, so they end up paying more for things like childcare than they really need to. If you think this could be the case for your family, it might be worth looking at one of the many entitlement calculators that are out there on the net.
Build an emergency fund
Family life can be challenging at times and you never really know what’s around the corner. If you haven’t prepared for them financially, things like broken washing machines, car repairs, injured pets and job losses can really hit hard and make life way tougher than it needs to be. That’s why every family should have an emergency fund. Even if you can only set a few pounds aside each day, over the weeks and months, it will grow bigger and bigger, and give you the security of knowing that, should the unexpected happen, you have something to fall back on.
There’s no set sum of money that will work as an emergency fund for every family, but if you could work towards saving at least 3 months’ salary worth of cash, that would go a long way to giving you some financial breathing space in an emergency situation.
Get life insurance
When you become a parent, you become responsible for another little life, and that applies financially too. No one wants to think about passing away, especially when they have young children, and hopefully, it’s something you won’t ever have to think about. However, you simply do not know what might happen and it makes sense to secure your children’s future by taking out a life insurance policy.
Plan your meals
Food shopping is one of the biggest weekly expenses for many families. If it’s an issue for you, and you’re looking to tighten up your finances by cutting your food bill, a good thing to do is to start planning your meals. If you work out what you’re going to eat each day of the week, you can buy only the food that you will eat, thus reducing waste and cutting your food bills at the same time.
If you can afford to, and you have the space, you may also want to consider buying staples in bulk. Bulk purchases tend to come with a discount, which is good for your wallet and good for ensuring that you never run out of anything either.
Budget for fun stuff
The best thing about being part of a family is that you get to spend lots of fun times together hanging out, exploring new places and doing the things you love. Obviously, what you can and cannot do hinges, to some extent, on your finances. That’s why, when you’re planning your budget, saving for your emergency fund and paying off debts, you should set a fun budget too. It could be as simple as a piggy bank that you put a few pounds in each week so that you can raid it on a rainy day, or it could be a regular amount that you transfer into a savings account so you can all head off to Disneyland – being financially responsible can be fun too!
Fixing your finances for a better family life is smart, simple and a way to ensure that life runs more smoothly, so what are you waiting for?