Do you have one house payment or rent payment in savings if something goes seriously wrong? If not, check out the tips below to make sure that your family will have a month to work your way out of a financial speedbump.
Get the Whole Family Onboard
If you’re recently remarried or part of a blended household, money issues can be a source of conflict. For families with children, it’s important to provide kids with as much information as they can handle and to help them see the goals. For example, a shared goal of visiting a nearby amusement park on summer break can be a great target to help young kids curtail their expenses during the school year.
Reduce Credit Card Use
Using credit or debit cards for all your expenditures makes it very easy to overspend or spend thoughtlessly. Older kids (and adults) can often benefit by going back to cash. Making money tactile and real can help everyone in the household to consider each purchase. When money is very tight, the two big questions need to be:
1) Do we really need this?
2) Do we have to have it now?
Nearly always, you can work out a way to avoid or reduce the expenditure with this mindset.
Get your household utilities on a monthly budget plan as soon as you can once you’re settled in. This will reduce nasty surprises and help you set up these payments so you can stay on top of them, protect your credit rating and keep the lights on.
You can reduce utility bills by avoiding electrical use during peak times. Late in the afternoon is a common time for air conditioning units to run continuously. To cool down, head to the local pool or library. Have the family night owl start the dishwasher before they go to bed. Keep windows covered in the summer and let the sun warm your house in the winter. Every little bit can help.
Groceries and Food
There are only two ways to waste food: Buying things that spoil in the refrigerator before you can eat them and buying and eating unhealthy foods. Put together a meal plan that includes some make-ahead foods using what’s on sale at the store, then do the majority of your food prep on the weekend. This will save both time and energy.
When you get out the cutting board, be ready to prepare three dishes. For example, you can
1) chop vegetables for a salad,
2) load the crockpot with a small beef roast and vegetables for dinner tomorrow, and
3) fill your roasting pan with veggies for dinner tonight.
Break down leftovers into individual servings and freeze these to use as cooling packs for the grown-ups lunch bucket. Boil some eggs for healthy grab and go snacks and chop veggies for a crunchy treat. Buy crackers instead of chips and break them out into single servings snack bags as soon as you open the box.
It can be hard to get everyone using the same shampoo. In fact, this may cause conflict. Instead, do what you can with shared products like laundry soap and dishwashing liquid. Do your best to set a good example with careful usage until others are on board.
While you’re building up a savings account, emergencies happen. If you need your car to get to work and have transmission problems, you may have to take out an online loans with monthly payments to cover the repair and keep your job. With access to fast funds in an emergency, you can keep your family moving forward.
Don’t Be Too Strict
You will need to gather data for a time before creating your budget. If you start too soon, your numbers will be off because you just haven’t gotten all the information you need. To start, simply work to reduce your expenditures with a flexible budgeting app and stash away some cash.
Budgets done wrong or too rigidly can feel like a financial punishment. Instead, think of them as a tool that can give you the peace of mind knowing you’re covered in an emergency.