5 Simple Tips for Your Family Budget
Setting up a budget for your family can seem like a large task, but the key is taking small, simple steps. A family budget is important for a variety of reasons: it can help you save for what matters, prepare for emergencies, and give you peace of mind.
In honor of Family Wellness month, we've put together these 5 simple steps to get you started on your journey to financial health.
1. Plan Meals
A well-planned food budget can help cut the cost of feeding your family.
Planning out meals weekly can help you save time and money when shopping, preparing, and cooking throughout the week. If you can, try to set aside some time on your least busy day to plan ahead.
Plus, heading into the grocery store with a shopping list can help reduce impulse buys, repeat trips to the store that week, and you can come prepared with coupons.
2. Buy Reusable Items
Disposable goods appear cheap and super-convenient in the moment, but the costs can actually add up over time.
A lot of disposable, every day items are available as reusable items. Paper towels, for instance. A roll can be as cheap as $1, but how long does it take your family to run through a roll? Consider buying a pack of washable cloths. They're usually around the same price, and will save you money in the long run.
The same is true with buying plastic water bottles by the case. Purchasing a water filter and reusable bottles for each member of your family is more cost-effective, and better for the environment.
The next time you're about to purchase a disposable item, ask yourself: is there a renewable option that will save me money in the long run?
3. Eliminate Services You Don't Use
Most people have services they rarely use or could live without. Often, these are services we've signed up for and forgotten about, or don't realize how little we actually use them.
In the age of streaming entertainment, the possibility of under-used services is pretty high. Maybe you forgot to cancel after the trail period. Maybe you just don't realize how little you watch shows or movies through that service.
Take a look at which services you've signed up for, how much they cost, and how much you actually use them. This will give you an idea of the true value of the service, not just the monetary value.
Even if you only cut out one service every 6 months, or each year, the savings will start to add up over time.
4. Shop Smart
Supplementing your retail shopping by checking out thrift stores, yard sales, or discount stores can help you save money.
Thrift stores, especially national non-profits, usually have a rigorous quality control process, so, even though the clothes are used, there's little to worry about.
Kid's grow out of things incredibly quick. Toys, TV Shows, and especially clothing. Thrift stores and discount stores offer good quality clothing at a fraction of the cost. So when they come home with ripped jeans or stained shirts, it might still hurt your heart a little, but not your wallet as much.
5. Set Up a Budget
Setting up a budget is a smart way to ensure that you know exactly how much of your money is going where each month. This could help you avoid overdraft fees on your checking account, missed bill payments, or charging too much on your credit cards.
One simple strategy is the 50/30/20 budget. This is where you set aside 50% of your monthly income for needs (such as food, rent, utilities), 30% for wants (entertainment, dining, home decor), and 20% for savings (vacation, retirement).
The 50/30/20 strategy is just one strategy and may not fit your individual goals. Some people, for example, may need to set aside more than 20% for savings, or more than 50% for needs.
There are many ways to set up a budget, so be sure to do some research to find out which way best fits your personality, your specific situation, and your financial goals.
There are many more simple steps, tips, and tricks to reduce your household expenses. These 5 are just to help get the ball, and the imagination, rolling.
We believe financial education is important, so we post articles like these regularly. Be sure to check our website, Facebook, and Twitter for more articles like this.
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