Having a family is one of very most rewarding and fulfilling things we have in our lives. Family fills our memories with a lifetime of “firsts” and “the best” type moments. I really believe that there isn’t anything else that can bring more everlasting happiness then our families!
But that doesn’t mean if we have a family then we have everything set and we won’t ever have any challenges in our life. Not at all! One of the top causes of stress within a family is propelled by family finances.
As your family starts to grow so does your list of bills and expenses. Making it very easy to get off track and if you aren’t careful, you can quickly fall down the hill of the financial slippery slope.
It doesn’t even have to be some major life disaster. In our family it has always been the little things that have led us off track. The quick stops at gas station on the way into work or the almost irresistible dollar spot at Target. It can be shocking how quickly those little purchases can distract us from the goals we have for our family finances.
If this has happened to you, don’t worry! Here is a plan that will help you get your family finances back on track in just three months time.
Month 1 – Get your family onboard
Before you even start to look at your budget you need to have a conversation with everyone in your family. It doesn’t matter how old they are. Get them involved. The conversation is going to be different depending on their age. You need to make it clear that your spending habits are going to change but don’t forget to explain why you are going to be making these changes. Don’t forget to explain how these changes are going to help your family.
Practice makes perfect. Instead of sending your family into financial shock take this first month to ease your family into a new habit of spending, or rather, a habit of not spending.
Go through your bank statement for the last month and make a list of all the “extras” you spent money on. Pick two of your biggest financial habits (eating out for example) and take this month to cut back a little bit. But be prepared because over the next two months you are going to be going full force. You can do it!
Month 2 – Set the budget
This is when you are going to figure out all of your expenses and compare those numbers to your income. Are you over spending? Are you cutting it a little too close for comfort each month? Are you able to set some money aside for emergencies? These are all questions that you need to answer when getting your budget set up.
Because you have an entire month to get your budget started you can take your time and really get all the details squared away. Be accountable for every dollar your family is spending.
To make this process a little easier you can follow this 3 Step Series to Starting Your Budget. Make sure to take your time to set the perfect custom budget for your family.
Month 3 – Cut your spending and establish new habits
You now have a custom budget set up for your family finances and have had a chat with your family about how some changes need to be made. Now is the time when you convert all of this talk into action.
Make it your family’s goal to stick to the budget you just set! Evaluate where you stand at the end of each week. See how you guys are doing at keeping to your financial goals. If you have fallen off a little bit, get back up and try again. Make adjustments to your budget to make it more realistic. But always strive to do better!
It’s Not All Bad
Throughout this entire process of getting your family finances back on track, remember to keep the positive at the forefront. Why are you cutting back? Are you getting rid of your debt? Are you saving for a family trip? It would be a good idea to write down your end goal, frame it, and put it up somewhere in your house. It will be a great way to keep your eye on the prize!
It’s not going to be easy peasy but you are going to be so happy that you made these changes! Your entire home will become a more happy and calm sanctuary for your family.
Want more help?
Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on living frugal and fabulous! These are great places for us to chat and help each other.
In the mean time, here are a few more articles that can help you live pretty for just pennies:
How to Budget and Be Happy
7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Casual Couponing – 15 Minutes a week is all the time you need!