Money really doesn’t make the world go around, but having enough of it sure makes living on this planet easier. The typical family of five has the normal everyday bills such as rent, gas, water, electricity, and insurance. There are also other things necessary to keep up with such as clothing for growing children, the grocery bill, and school expenditures like field trips and proms.
Unfortunately, there is a third category that exists, as well. This one is made up of all the surprises life hands us. These include, but are not limited to, the car breaking down all of a sudden, little Bobby busting out the neighbor’s window with a perfect home run hit and unexpected medical bills.
All of the above speak to the importance of making and sticking to a budget within a family setting. It will not only help you save money and keep up with the bills but it will be a wonderful teaching tool good for showing your children how to take care of their finances in the future. Below are some ideas to keep in mind when creating your family budget.
Let’s assume that all the necessary bills listed above have already been worked into the budget, but you need to find a way to save for a new car. The old family vehicle has seen a lot in its day but is making the slow progression to the junkyard. Set a clear goal to save the amount you need for a new car and then get to work.
First, it’s always good to set apart about 10% for savings anyway. As we discussed earlier, you never know when life is going to throw that curveball. Having a rainy day fund is crucial to maintaining financial sanity. Also, take a look at your regular bills. Are there any that you might be able to cut?
Understandably, bills like the rent can very rarely be adjusted for the better, but trimming some off of bills such as the water and electricity is definitely doable. Energy saving bulbs, using natural light, and using the proper amount of water for things like a load of laundry can help save a few extra dollars.
The Difference Between a Want and a Need
Since the beginning of time, there has been debate after debate about the difference between what a need is and what a want is. Let’s clarify this. A need is something you need to sustain life with. You need a roof over your head to keep you from the elements.
You need electricity or gas for cooking and staying warm. You need water in order to live period. These are needs. Wants might include a gaming console, which can be good for stress reduction but is not a life or death matter. They might even include a car. Yes, you read that right. Many of us live in walking distance or biking distance of our job place.
A car is not necessary if you have two working arms and/or legs. Think of the money you could save on the payments, insurance, maintenance, and gas if you took a walk or bike ride to and from work every day. On top of everything, you would get your exercise and help the environment.
Learn How to Say No
Which brings us to the last tip. Learn how to say no. In order to keep the family budget from becoming a chaotic mess, there will be times when you will have to deliver the dreaded no. This talent is especially useful when your income drops but the bills stay the same.
Children are notorious for asking for things in times of monetary drought. Who can blame them? They feel the stress of poor times, too. Be that as it may, you will still have to deliver the word no to options not necessary for living. We adults can be just as bad, if not worse.
We think we can juggle the bills to fit what we want, but in the end, more times than not, we end up in debt and behind on our bills. It’s just not worth sometimes. The word “no” won’t kill you. Using it will help you and your kids build character and save money at the same time.
Running a home and family from a financial standpoint can be extremely challenging. Refer to the tips above and make the task a little easier on the brain.