Smarter family finances are key to keeping everyone entertained, well fed, and raising kids without going broke.
This page offers helpful tips on how to get everyone in the family on the same page about money, keep costs in check, and still manage to live your best life.
Read on for suggestions on how to…
The values we pass down to our kids are an important factor in shaping the people they will become later in life.
Learning to be polite, respectful and honest are just as important as learning the relationship between work and reward, the reasons to avoid debt, the need to be self-sufficient, and the importance of being generous givers.
Teach your kids about money to help ensure that they succeed with their finances later in life.
Consider teaching your kids how to make a simple budget with money they get from their allowance or birthday gifts. This will help them learn to make their money last and make budgeting a not-so-foreign topic when they’re older.
Most importantly, lead by example.
Even if your family finances aren’t exactly where you want them to be at the moment, read other pages on financial-jungle.com, keep learning, and keep improving one day at a time.
Your commitment to get on the right track financially and stay there is the ultimate positive example for your kids.
Whether you’re single or part of a growing family, creating and sticking to your budget is an essential part of family finance.
Simple is best; it doesn’t have to be complicated.
The key to successful budgeting is understanding how much money comes in and out of your wallet each month, and tracking expenses so that you spend less than you make each month.
If you can do that, everything else will fall in to place.
>> Learn More: How to create a budget and stick with it
They say it takes a village to raise a kid, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Billions of kids around the world have never even touched an iPad, so don’t feel like you always have to buy your kids the newest and nicest things. Giving your kids your time, attention and affection will help them grow richer in the ways that really count, more so than a blinking screen ever could.
Keep your family finances in tact with these tips:
Food costs can literally eat up (pun intended ) a big chunk of your budget each month, so it is necessary to keep a close eye on your grocery spending.
I shop at Costco for great quality stuff at fair prices. If you have the space to store the food and enough mouths to eat it before it goes bad, it makes sense to buy in bulk.
Also, don’t take your kids grocery shopping with you. Chances are they will see some things that they want and you will walk out of the store spending more than you originally intended.
>> Learn More: Money Saving Grocery Shopping Tips
The family trip to Disney world is almost an essential part of American culture.
But let's face it: park tickets are ridiculously expensive cost these days!
Many smart families are finding other forms of entertainment that won’t wreck your family finances.
There are a plenty of fun activities to do with the kids for little to no cost.
Here are some ideas that both kids and adults can usually agree on:
Kids are completely happy to play with sticks, pots and pans, old toys, art supplies, and whatever else is available at the house – until a TV commercial teaches them to want the latest and greatest stuff.
In fact, many of them will enjoy playing with the box that a new toy comes in just as much if not more than the toy itself (I know I did!).
There is nothing wrong with buying your kids new gadgets and toys on occasion, just make sure that you can afford it. By “afford it” I mean don’t put the new toys on credit if you’re not able to pay them off in full this month.
Never jeopardize your family finances for a toy that your kids will likely forget about in a few months.
If you have an older sibling, chances are you’ve probably worn a few hand-me-down clothing items growing up.
My younger brother wore my old clothes, and he was one stylish kid .
Now that you have kids of your own, you can use this strategy and even take it up a notch. If your siblings also have kids around the same age, set up a clothing co-op and trade clothes around.
Any clothing items that your kids have outgrown can be donated to the collective pool and shared with the family.
Often the biggest drain on family finances is housing costs. That’s why the choice of where you decide to live can either make or break your budget.
As we go through life and accumulate stuff, who wouldn’t want a bigger place with extra rooms for a home gym, an office, or simply extra storage space?
I know I would, but I urge you to resist the temptation.
Don’t go rushing to buy a bigger home as soon as you have kids. Let the kiddos share a room for a while, and save that money for a bigger down payment to lower your monthly housing costs.
Stay in a more affordable place that meets your needs as long as you can.
Maintaining healthy family finances will involve working together with your partner no matter how much he or she drives you crazy sometimes.
Here are some tips that will help you reconnect with your partner and achieve your financial goals together.
Great communication is the foundation of any successful personal or professional relationship.
When it comes to talking money with your partner, it’s no different.
While we all want a chance to have our voices heard, we can all agree that it would be a complete waste of time and energy if the person you’re talking to wasn’t paying attention.
So, don’t be that person.
Focus on listening more than you speak, and listen to understand, not just to reply.
Every relationship goes through ups and downs.
Often the keys to fixing most relationship problems are time, effort, and effective communication.
To speed up the process, think back to what attracted you to your partner in the first place.
Remember the good times as well as the obstacles you’ve already overcome together.
Recommit to being a team.
Believe that you can overcome this challenge just like you’ve done in the past.
Even if there are a million issues at hand, there’s bound to be some area of common ground.
Create a savings / spending plan and focus on your shared goals and dreams first.
By quickly coming to an agreement on a few things, you’ll be making progress, and hopefully feel more confident that you can tackle the smaller stuff later.
No matter what, always remember to be kind and respectful towards your partner.
Even if your partner is a chronic overspender, they have feelings too. Putting them down will not solve the problem and might actually make things worse.
Instead focus on listening and developing a plan together where you can meet in the middle and satisfy everyone’s needs and wants.
While our focus may often be on keeping food on the table and the roof over our heads, an important part of family finances is teaching your kids about money.
Opening a checking, savings, or investing account for your kids can be an effective tool to teach them how money works.
This hands-on approach will help them learn how to be responsible with money under your watchful eye so that they can hopefully avoid money problems in the future.
Checking accounts designed especially for kids and young adults often have no fees or minimum balance requirements.
You can deposit money electronically or at any ATM and even set spending limits.
Having a debit card will enable our little ones to avoid carrying cash and learn to manage their money at an early age.
A low-limit credit card for kids can be a great tool for developing an understanding of how credit works and the importance of paying off your balance in full, without the risk of racking up a huge credit card bill each month.
Some cards also notify you whenever your kids are making a transaction so that you’re always informed about how they are spending their money.
Teach your kids about the need to invest for the future and the power of compound interest.
Opening an investing account for them and helping them buy their first stock will undoubtedly prepare them for future success.
As they watch the stock rise over time (hopefully) and perhaps collect some dividends along the way, they will learn to work smarter not harder by letting their money work for them.
Got any advice on how to stick to a family budget?
Or have you ever rewarded kids with cash for getting good grades or helping around the house?
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