As adults, there are always things we need to do for ourselves and our family. Generally, this means we have to have a good handle on our finances. Many of us find this easy and don’t even have to think twice about creating a spreadsheet, and keeping it under control. But there are times where unexpected things happen, or where we just lose track of where we are during a month OR you’re like me and have fibro fog and forget where your money goes sometimes. Here are some tips on how you can manage your finances, and not have to rely on credit cards or loans by the end of the month. It doesn’t matter whether you are paid on a weekly or monthly basis, having a budget in place keeps you in control and avoiding problems. If you do need a loan, make sure you look for reputable companies. This bank site offers options for US residents. For my UK readers, this site helps you find the best type of loan for you has a huge amount of options as well as people to help you decide which type of loan works best for you.
Budget for food
By this, I don’t mean buying the cheapest food available. That rarely works out to be the healthiest in the long run (hello processed food!). But learning how to cook meals from scratch if you don’t already know, can really make a difference to your weekly shopping bill. I paid for Blue Apron for a year and while it was a little pricey, I definitely learned some invaluable techniques to help me throw things together myself. Keeping within your weekly budget when it comes to your food shopping isn’t always easy. There are special offers there to tempt you every week, but if you stay strong, plan out your meals at least a week in advance and STICK TO THE PLAN, it should really help reduce your shopping bill. When I adding meal planning to my weekly to do list, we saved over $1000 a month on our grocery and food budget! In addition to this making sure that you have a list and that you don’t move away from it at any point, it means that they won’t be any unexpected shortfalls at any point. Of course, when things don’t always go to plan, it’s easier to order out, right? DON’T! You can come up with meal ideas and recipes from your fridge and pantry any time using MyFridgeFood! You input what food you have at home and gives you recipes based off of ingredients that you already have! It’s a great way to stretch what you have if you are waiting for your next paycheck or just have zero clue what to make.
Keep track of your bills
There are many ways in which you are able to keep track of your bills, there are now apps and plenty of online services that you can use where you can track exactly what is going in and out of your bank account. My husband manages our online bill payments with Mint and I use cash envelopes for any thing we might go over budget on and save the receipts to enter into my daily ledger. Generally, there are online banking services available with your bank account, but you can go even further and either create your own log to tick off every day when a bill has been paid, Or even old-fashioned pen and paper if that’s what you prefer, but whichever way you keep track, it’s important to know where you are going to be throughout the weeks and months so that you are able to avoid unexpected shortfalls. Of course, you can always look at the best type of loan for you if need be, but getting past relying on these kinds of financing options is so much less stressful.
Regularly updating your records, keeping track of any changes to the amount of money you need to spend, either on extra activities or if regular bills such as insurance jump in price, can ensure that you are in full control of your finances. They say that looking after the pennies is important (every little bit adds up!) and the rest will look after themselves. It’s true that if you keep track of everything, and make sure that you know exactly where you are, you should be able to get ahead financially and avoid disasters. That would be awesome, right?
Back up funds
One thing that financially successful people will tell you is that you should always have a backup fund, or savings in the bank, to take care of any unexpected emergencies. If your boiler goes and you don’t have the money to replace it, they’re not only are you going to lose out financially, you will be spending much longer without water and be unable to take showers for longer than you should need to. This emergency fund can help you avoid serious stress, and need to take money from other areas of your life, which can be detrimental in the long run. These funds can also help you by gathering interest if you keep them in a secure savings account with your bank. Eventually, you may be able to put this money towards something fun if you never need to dip into it, but letting at least 6 months of expenses (and I mean every last cent) is the smartest way to go. But either way, ensuring that you have a little bit of a safety net is never a bad idea.
Get the family on board
Making sure that your whole family is on board with these ideas will certainly help it become a lot easier when children are constantly asking for things that cost money. When you need to budget effectively, it can put more pressure than necessary on you. But if you can get your whole family on board with budgeting (maybe by having a family fund that goes towards purchasing something for everyone, or even a day out) then everybody knows exactly what it takes to earn these extra treats, and it is a wonderful learning curve especially for children and teenagers. Life lessons such as saving, and budgeting, aren’t taught in schools (not when I went anyway), so making sure that children understand exactly how income and expenditure works, is a great way for them learn how to be financially independent. Think about giving them some chores to do and a budget to work with themselves. Teach them that money isn’t unlimited and that they have control to a certain degree over their own spending. Reminding my kids of this and explaining the benefits of saving that dollar for something better instead of spending it on slime has helped them be much more careful about how they spend their money.
The benefits to your family by keeping control of your finances and ensuring that everything is accounted for are vast. Ultimately if you want to go on a vacation, upgrade your car, or even just have a fancy dinner in a nice restaurant, then finances need to be in order. Even though it may be a chore keeping your finances under control it is necessary and something you will thank yourself for over time. Trust me!
I use this monthly budget printable and I’m more than happy to send it over to you so you can get started on establishing and maintaining a budget as soon as possible.