Family life can be pretty expensive. If you don’t have a good handle on your money, you’re likely to watch it disappear. An array of financial obligations appear throughout your children’s lives, from diapers and ointments to field trip fees and graduation gowns. Fortunately, with the right priorities and some creative thinking, you can save money and handle your finances like a champ. Here are six small ways you can make a big difference in your family’s budget.
Focus on the Environment
There are tons of ways you can focus on the environment and sustainability that also save you money. For example, you can keep a bucket in your shower to collect gray water, which you can use to flush your toilet, among other things. This saves water and reduces your impact on the planet. Another great option is to plant a food garden in your yard. This allows you to get great, fresh food at very little cost and cuts back on your carbon footprint.
Cook at Home
Most of us could save a lot of money if we cut back on going to restaurants or ordering delivery. True, cooking with kids isn’t always easy, but it’s bound to save you money over the long run. However, making your meals at home isn’t just useful because it saves you money; it’s also a good chance to pass on a valuable life skill. By getting kids involved in age-appropriate ways, you can give them a solid start on caring for themselves.
Track Spending Closely
When you do spend, make sure you know where your money is going. Mindless spending is one of the simplest ways to ensure your money doesn’t stretch as far as you need it to. When you keep track, however, you can start to notice habits and patterns that are holding you back.
For example, perhaps once you start tracking you notice that you’re most likely to order food rather than cook on a particular day of the week. Ask yourself this question: What is it about that day that leads to extra spending? Is there anything you can change that will cut back? This kind of feedback is invaluable when it comes to keeping your budget on track.
Get the Kids Involved
Although you don’t want to stress your kids out with money issues, getting them involved in an appropriate way will be good for all of you. For example, you could have your kids help plan the budget for a family trip, or even have them track spending for one category, such as groceries. This gives them practice for handling their own money once they’re older.
Save for the Future
Don’t forget that the money you make today can make a big difference for tomorrow. One of the most responsible things you can do for your family’s financial future is to put plenty of money into savings. Retirement funds and educational savings accounts, for instance, are two areas you should consider. Most importantly, make sure you have at least six month’s worth of income saved in the event of an emergency.
Finally, if you don’t already have a diverse investment portfolio, now is the time to do so. In addition to the aforementioned savings accounts, you should have some money invested in stocks and bonds. Property is also a great investment, especially if you’re interested in owning a rental property that can lead to extra income.
Finding ways to save and spend money wisely will make a big difference for your family. Financial stability will make you less anxious and more available as a parent. It will also expand opportunities and keep your family safe and secure.
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