Family Finance Makeover
If your family finances need a face lift, we’ve got some great tips and ideas to help you get your budget in order.
Get Your Priorities Straight. Before you budget a single dollar, determine what’s important to you and what your goals are. This is an essential first step; your spending should reflect your goals and priorities. Are you saving up for your child’s college education? Are you looking to grow your family? Dreaming of taking your family on a nice vacation? These desires and drives will help you direct your budget.
Analyze Your Current Income and Spending Habits. Look at your monthly household income and how much of it you are spending and saving each month, as well as what you are spending your money on. Many credit card companies send a yearly overview that breaks down how much you spent on entertainment, travel, food, and a variety of other categories and these overviews are a great reference.
Make a Budget – And Stick to It! Now that you’ve determined your goals and analyzed your income and habits, you can start making a budget. Be sure to allocate money to your retirement account (if you don’t have one, this is a great time to set one up!) as well as a high-yield savings account. Companies like Vanguard, Fidelity, and ING offer some great options.
To help you stick to your budget, reward yourself! Treat yourself to that gadget you’ve been wanting or start planning that dream vacation, but remember to stick to the budget. Having rewards set up will motivate you to keep to your budget.
Involve Your Kids In The Process. Budgeting is a great time to teach your children the value of saving and money management. The younger they are when they learn, the more time you’ll have to instill good habits that will help them successfully manage their finances as adults.
Making and sticking to your budget will take some determination and resolve, but the results are worth it.