Family finances are an area that each family needs to examine each year without fail. If there is no budget in place, a family can quickly find themselves going into debt. Getting out of debt is a resolution individuals make each year, but as a family, this can be accomplished with more help.
Kids are not left out of the budget process. Kids who aren’t old enough to have a job spend money, too. They get allowance money. In order to receive their allowance money, they need to complete their chores each week. Uncompleted chores mean no allowance money at the end of the week.
Set up a family budget at the end of the year. Use a family meeting time to tackle this big job. Each family member should come prepared to discuss their spending habits and ways to make changes in order to save money.
It is never too early to expose children to fiscal responsibility. Teaching them to manage money at a young age prepares them for life on their own.
Make a list of the monthly family expenses. This includes any expenses for the kids that occur each month like school lunches and clothing. Estimate the monthly gas bill and allowances for the kids as well. Now that you know the expenses you incur each month, you can look at the money coming in to cover those bills.
For a family, there needs to be a “rainy day” fund. This money is set aside for car repairs, hospital bills, and other emergencies that cannot be predicted but usually happen. The fund is equal to at least two months salary for the working moms and dads in the household.
Preparing a better budget
Now that the family knows where they stand, they can move forward. The first thing to do is to find ways to cut expenses. Consider the utility bills. Turning off lights when you leave a room and keeping the thermostat at a constant temperature make a difference in the electricity bill over time. The summer and winter are the times when the electricity is most expensive. Use ceiling fans, window fans, and gas log fireplaces to cut cooling and heating bills.
Carpooling is a way to lower the automobile gas bill. Take turns shuttling the kids to sports practices with other parents in the neighborhood. Try to make all of the necessary stops while you are already out in the car instead of making several trips in the same day.
Families with children spend a lot of money on the grocery bill. Get a list of what everyone’s favorite foods are and plan a trip to the grocery store. Shop with coupons and buy items on special if you need them. Purchase enough food for a month. One trip may cost a few hundred dollars, but visiting the grocery store once or twice each week and the fast food restaurant adds up to more than that if you total the receipts. Let the cost of the grocery trip be the amount that you budget for food each month to start.
The same tips for sticking to other family resolutions apply to the family budget as well. Reward the family when they learn to save more money. Take the family out for dinner and a movie. No one said that a family couldn’t eat out every once in a while. When it is earned, the food tastes so much better. If every family member sacrifices a little, the entire family benefits.
What are Your Family’s Goals and Resolutions for the New Year?
Family resolutions not only keep the family together, but allow for a closer unit. Working, playing, and praying together increases the family bond and affords everyone in the family to have a voice, to look out for each other and to care for each other. No matter what the circumstance, having family goals is a cohesive effort than can truly be the catalyst that effects change. In addition, when an entire family resolves to make those changes it serves to strengthen the family unit as well.
More importantly, families that commit to resolutions each year will experience a lifetime of memories.
Visit Real Life Solutions Personal Finances Page – It is your resource for articles and information on managing your business and personal finances, saving money and living debt free. From Grocery Money Saving Tips to Saving for a College education, you will find many resources for your personal finances here financial resources here.