Have you ever realised that when financial experts talk about a budget, most of the time the focus is on the individual. But come to think of it, I mean if one member (read spouse/partner) does the opposite, then you really are doing zero work, because all that person does is reverse the necessary mechanism that you have put in place to control your spending. Thats why I always think that it is very important for an individual to think of the other members of the household who will be affected by his/her decision. The following article by Andrew Bicknell explains the importance of a family budget.
The first step to any kind of family financial peace is the creation of the family budget. With today’s go-go-go lifestyle, keeping track of income and expenses is a necessity. Too many families get into financial mess, simply because they do not have any idea where their money is going, until it is gone.
When you first build your family’s budget plan you may be met with a certain amount of resistance, simply because a lot of people have an aversion to the word “budget”. The thing to remember as the builder of the budget that you need to pass along is that this new way of dealing with money is not a set in stone law. A budget is simply a tool that allows you to see where your money is going, and how you can better manage it. There is a certain amount of give and take, or fluidity, to a budget because it is constantly changing with the needs of your family.
The first thing you and your family need to understand, is that a family budget is a long-term solution to many financial problems. It will give your family a solid financial future which will benefit all members. The best way to do this is to talk to your family about what type of financial goals your family should have and any budgetary constraints you are facing at the moment. Lay it all out for everyone to see, from mortgage payments and other bills, to long-term financial goals that include retirement and college funding. If you can help them see the whole picture, and how they fit into it your chances of successfully building a family budget are much greater.
If build an environment in which your entire family is working together for one common financial goal, a budget will be much easier to incorporate. A good way to do this is to have each family member create their own mini-budget so they can better understand how their spending may be affecting the big picture. If they can find places to cut back on this can be translated into the overall family budget.
One way to rein in an over exuberant child who thinks money just magically appears out of the ATM machine, is to have them budget their own allowance. If a child has to use their own money to buy the things, they will soon learn the value of money. Not only will this go a long way to helping the family budget, it will start to teach them how to manage money which will stay with them into their adult life.
As you build your family budget you will see patterns of spending start to emerge. Pay close attention to this, and see if some of them are really necessary. Often times the things you are taking most for granted, such as eating out, will eat up a large portion of your monthly income. For a regular sized family eating out for one night could often buy enough groceries to last for almost a week.
Building a family budget is the first step to taking control of your financial future. Only when you know where the money is going can you take control of the situation, and make your money work for you.