If you are struggling to stay true to your household budget, it may be time to take a different approach. Budgets are a great way to manage routine spending, but they often overlook unexpected family expenses. A honeymoon, after-school programs for the kids, or even birthday party gifts are additional costs that chip away at your savings.
Involving your family in financial decisions is a start. Anyone can create a plan, but will it stick?
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What Makes Family Finance Unique?
When you’re combining finances with a spouse and preparing for current or future kids, planning becomes more complicated. Everyone in the family may have different ideas about what’s important. In fact, you and your partner may have already developed distinct financial habits that change how you save, spend, and invest.
Putting those puzzle pieces together and then creating a healthy financial culture for your own family takes a bit of effort. Not only does it save your household money in the long run, but your family will learn valuable financial literacy skills.
8 Family Financial Management Tips
Juggling different priorities can sometimes feel like a game of Twister. Try the following ideas to get your family on the same page financially.
Talk to Your Family About Finance Early
Only one-third of high school students must take a personal finance class, but the desire to teach kids is growing. It’s never too early to discuss how to manage money wisely, and teachers are taking notice even at the middle school and elementary school levels.
Whether there’s money from the tooth fairy or gifts, encourage your child to start thinking about saving, spending, and investing. Older children benefit from learning about topics ranging from credit cards to homeownership. Building solid financial skills is more than just saving money for a rainy day; they are life-long habits that create money-savvy adults.
Build a Budget & Set Goals
Creating a family budget isn’t just about paying the bills. Planning as a family ensures that you take care of everyone’s needs and goals.
Have a birthday party to attend? Your immediate goal might be buying a present. Want to add an extra dance class for the dancing genius in your family (your child or even you)? If you can’t afford it now, create a short term goal to save towards. Hoping to buy a house or start a college fund? Long term goals can be achieved with a bit of planning!
Have a Weekly Check-in
It doesn’t need to take long, but schedule a weekly check-in with the adults and older children. Discuss your progress on the family budget, add any new items, adjust your goals, celebrate your achievements, and talk through any setbacks. A good family plan is flexible. By reviewing how the family did for the week, you can reinforce the habits that support your financial plan.
Look For Savings
New expenses always seem to crop up with kids, like field trips, sports equipment, or dance costumes. Always check that you are getting the best price before buying. Whether you comparison shop on the internet or find used items, there are plenty of ways to save.
Easy options include using cashback apps, shopping on FB Marketplace, clipping coupons, and looking for secondhand goods. If you have to buy new and missed out on a deal, MoneyLion’s RoarMoney debit card refunds the price difference within 90 days of purchase.
Insurance protects your family from the unexpected. But that doesn’t mean you should pay more than you need to. For example, you may qualify for discounted or free health insurance, depending on income levels. Auto insurance companies also provide discounts for a good driving record or qualifying professions like teaching.
Check discounts for bundling insurance policies. You might get a significant discount by buying home and car insurance from the same company. Many insurance companies offer new client discounts. Be sure to review all your policies for appropriate coverage and add life insurance or supplemental disability insurance where needed.
Plan For Emergencies
Emergencies can ruin the best-laid plans. Unexpected car repairs, job loss, or disability can all drain the family budget. The effects can be felt for months, even years.
As uncomfortable as it may be, make plans in case a parent becomes ill or passes away. Discuss those plans with a trusted family member so that they can help if necessary. If you have children, creating a will or trust makes sense, no matter how much your net worth is.
A good practice is also to build up an emergency fund. As part of your family budget, earmark savings for three to six months worth of household expenses.
Guide Your Children in the Workforce
If your teenager is ready to work, expose the realities of holding down a job. Your child needs to balance homework with paid work while figuring out the logistics of getting to and from work. Discuss available options, like working for a restaurant or starting an entrepreneurial gig like babysitting, doing yard work, or selling art. They may need your support in managing schedules, setting prices, and marketing services.
Paying for family expenses doesn’t seem to leave much spare change. Yet investing early with any amount sets your family up for the future. Even small amounts can grow with time.
Even if you’ve never done it before, an easy way to invest is to open a MoneyLion Investment Account. Accounts are fully managed, low cost, and have no minimum balance requirements. You can even automatically deposit cashback rewards into your investment account.
Setting The Course For Your Family
Once your family establishes healthy financial habits, it’s easier to continue. For example, getting cashback rewards is almost effortless once you start. Most programs offer simple features with big rewards.
Getting into a routine of discussing goals, protecting against emergencies, and investing creates financial security. A workable plan blends investing, budgeting, cost-saving, and cashback strategies. Even a few small changes can add up over time. Most importantly, educating the family in financial skills puts everyone in a position to achieve their financial goals.