A Simple Guide to Maintaining Efficient Family Budgets
How can you create the best family budget that works for you and your family?
Budgeting is hard as it is, right? So imagine having to make a budget for everyone in the family, with different needs and wants.
That doesn’t sound like fun at all .
Wouldnt it be great to effortlessly make healthy financial decisions for your family without having to continually whip out the calculator at every purchase or viewing your budget on your mobile device in the grocery store?
How the heck do you do that?
Now that’s what this article is about.
So stick around for actionable tips that will help you create and maintain a successful family budget.
Why Is Family Budget Is Important?
As you may soon come to realize, a family budget is really crucial.
Why do I say so?
Longs story short, a family budget helps your family successfully manage its money, which is important because it will help you and your family keep tabs on bills and finances.
This is great because you never miss a bill or risk debt in the case of an emergency.
However, having a family budget means different things for different people.
For example, for some people, it means whipping out the calculator at every purchase. For others, a family budget is just a formality, and they never really glance at it.
So we usually see between these extremes, those who sort of use their family budget with moments of obsessive adherence,
Or those who try but give up altogether because they go crazy trying to keep track of all the details.
So That said…
How can you maintain a healthy outlook without obsessing or ignoring your family budget?
Because the thing is, budgeting can be really comprehensive when kids are involved.
Many unpredictable expenses could pop up, for example, sports, camp, or any other extracurricular activity.
Oh, and sure, I didn’t forget the occasional runs to the hospital because all the little ones thought it was a great idea to run into things.
So in this guide, I’ll be covering tips on how you can cultivate a healthy outlook regarding your family budget.
Keep reading to learn more.
How to Maintain an Effective Family Budget
Let’s be honest, budgeting can get really is rigid and restrictive, and for a while, it might get you all fixated on it and trying to get it to work out.
We’ve all been there…
I find it easy to budget when I use a budgeting app or budget calculator to get all my data in one place.
I personally love and use Mint, and the best part is, it’s free. Other great options of budgeting apps are YNAB or EveryDollar.
Now let’s get down to business, So what are the ways to maintain an effective family budget?
#Set Goals Together
I am a fan of doing things together as a family, so why not take that into budgeting, too right?
While on the topic of doing things together, you may like these fun and exciting home date ideas for you and your partner.
Now back to family budgets, set goals for your family budget together.
It might be a good idea to ask your kids what they will like to see in the budget.
Granted, you’ll be getting lots of fun requests and things being included, but then it is up to you to put everyone’s wishes together and establish a common goal.
It is an excellent idea to work on common goals when formulating your budget.
This means you may have to track your spending weekly for at least one month before attempting to create your family budget so you can understand your spending patterns and habits.
You can even find creative ways to save money.
#Leave Emergency Funds For Real Emergencies
This is the point where you have to make sure everyone knows what a real financial emergency looks like for your family.
What constitutes an “emergency” can differ between family members.
This is because dipping into the emergency fund for non-emergency expenses can deplete the money pretty fast.
What this means is you may have to determine what constitutes an emergency and what doesn’t so your family can stick to only dipping into the emergency funds when completely necessary.
#Get Your Family On Board
Honestly, nothing can make you frustrated with a budget like a lack of family participation.
The simple truth is family members might rack up expenses without giving the budget a second thought, leaving you to tear your hair out trying to balance it and cover the expenses.
This happened to me. My husband just went out and bought complete sets of bathroom and kitchen fixtures earlier in the year.
Perhaps he had seen too many episodes of property brothers. Who knows??
But yea, that wasn’t in the budget I made, and our old ones work just fine.
So, If the whole family is included and on board with the budget, it can improve everyone’s outlook.
#You Don’t Have to Keep Track of Every Penny.
It’s no surprise that some people avoid a budget because they don’t want the stress of keeping track of every cent spent.
They’re right – that is stressful.
But the good news is, it is not the only way.
Look into budgeting from a broad angle. For example, You could work out a list of expenses, income, and how much you have in the bank right now.
By doing this, you can easily budget without having to track every penny spent continuously.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your budget and customize it for your family’s needs.
After all, it is your budget.
Your outlook is likely to be a lot healthier if your budget is suited for your income, expenses, and personality.
Take your family dynamic into consideration when you form your budget.
And remember that flexibility is key to maintaining an effective family budget, especially if you tend to err on the obsessive side.
Try as much as you possibly can to be flexible with your budget.
And dont forget, budgeting is tough already.
The trick is to try to stick to your budget as much as possible while taking from one area and cutting back on another when necessary.
#Let It Go
By now, you’ll have realized that family budgeting is a bit comprehensive, having to consider everyone’s needs .
So here’s the point, everyone makes mistakes and breaks the budget now and then.
Beating yourself up over a budget mess-up will not be a great approach to healthy and effective family budgeting.
And yes, neither is nagging and punishing family members. ( yeah, I am not picking any sides today😀)
Granted, If it’s a chronic “mistake,” it may need to be addressed in a civil family meeting; however, to keep a healthy outlook, you may need to let the minor offenses go.
Normally, it’s easier for parents to want to keep financial situations away from kids.
However, while this may seem like a good idea at first, it’s not the best option in hindsight, not letting your kids or family know how things work financially.
Indeed, you don’t want to overburden your kids with responsibilities that aren’t theirs,
But you should know that including them in an open conversation about the finances of the family will go a long way to helping the family create and maintain a good budgeting system.
#The Family Meeting
Raise your hand if you’ve never done a family meeting before.
If you raised your hands, family budgeting might be a great place to start.
You can start by calling a family meeting to discuss finances.
A word of caution, however, is this is certainly not going to be everyone’s favorite topic, but it’s an important one.
Ultimately, your kids and spouse will be glad you included them in the discussion.
Aim for a time that doesn’t interfere with playtime or other times where everyone is busy with thier favorite activities.
#It Affects Everyone
To maintain a healthy outlook on your family budgeting, everyone needs to understand that family finances affect everyone in the household.
So, you’ll need to be clear and specific.
For example, you may need to list the cost of groceries, tuition, and all the things that cost money and how much it cost.
This doesn’t have to be done frequently; but, it is great for everyone to know how much money is available and what it’ll cover.
Maybe so the next time your little one requests something they dont need and you say no, they may understand why. Just maybe 😁
It’s easy to take things for granted.
In addition to this, If the budget involves cutting back on some things, it’s a good idea to pick areas that involve the whole family generally and not just a single member.
The Bottom Line Is…
Budgeting for the family can seem very intimidating at first,
Especially with all the up and downs that come with everyday parenting.
But it is easier than you think. You may simply need to have serious conversations and carry the whole family along.
Doing this will help you with the budgeting process.
It will also help you develop a healthy approach towards budgeting, ensuring a successful budget outcome.