Managing the family’s finances can be a tricky job to do, particularly if you’re on a tight budget. As a Mum of three, I’ve learnt a few simple things over the years that have really helped us to keep our finances under control. These are my five top budgeting tips for families.
1. Know your budget
It may sound silly, but you’d be surprised at how many people actually do know what their budget is each month. It’s so easy to just go from pay cheque to pay cheque without actually knowing how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out.
Sit down with your bank statements in front of you and work out exactly what your incomings and outgoings are each month. Make sure you include everything, including those payments that come out quarterly or annually so that you can get a real grasp for what your budget is.
Once you know your figures, then you know whether you need to make any changes. If you’ve got more going out than you have coming in, then it’s time to make some cutbacks.
2. Work on your debts
Debts are a real part of many family’s lives, and there’s nothing wrong with using a loan or a credit card provided you’re not struggling to make the repayments. If you have multiple debts and it’s becoming unmanageable, then it’s time to work out the best course of action going forwards. You might want to think about consolidating your debts into one loan so that it’s easier to manage. You can find out more about debt consolidation by clicking here.
3. Meal plan
For many families, groceries are one of the biggest expenses. And as we all need to eat, we can’t just cut this out of our budget! It amazes me how much we can spend on groceries each week if I’m not careful. Planning out meals really does help and it’s so simple to do. When it’s time to write your shopping list, go through all of your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have in. Use that to start making your meal plan and plan out as many meals as you can based on your existing supplies. Then, spend some time planning other meals for the week and write your list. Make sure you think about all three meals of the day as well as any snacks and drinks you’ll need. Once you’ve got your list, stick to it. Meal planning will really help you to buy only what you need and cut down on any unnecessary expenses.
These three tips may seem really simple, but I guarantee they will make a difference to the way you manage your money. Get the kids involved in your budgeting too – managing money is a really valuable life skill and something that all children should understand before they head out into the adult world. You could even give them a small budget to plan one meal each week for the family so they can learn how to get the most out of their money.