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Creating a family and household budget

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Making a household budget is a great way to help you plan for the future and hopefully save some money.

But the budget doesn’t have to be only your job. In fact, getting the whole family to chip in with ideas can be great for everyone. It’ll help your children to learn the value of a dollar, plus you’ll be able to make group decisions about meal plans, weekend activities and even vacations.

So what can you do to make sure the family gets involved when it’s time to create a budget plan?

Budget planning – leading by example

When it comes to planning the household budget, the buck stops with the parents. If you make - and stick - to your spending and saving goals, you can demonstrate the kind of good behaviour with money that the whole family can learn from.

You need to be transparent about how much you’re spending and why. Giving your family a clear picture of your budget allows them to see that you’re practicing what you preach. Let your teenage kids know exactly how much that cell phone plan costs a month.

And if you’ve got a little left over at the end of the month, encourage everyone to put some aside for their own rainy day project. Many families have a shared savings jar that they put towards a joint goal like Movie Night or a new video game to play together.

Making a budget plan with your children

It may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but getting your children talking about money will help everyone get on the same page. With everybody thinking about their spending habits, you could start to save small amounts of cash and allow the whole family to contribute towards that goal.

Help older kids make up their own budget based on what they earn and what they spend, whether that’s from an after-school job or their weekly allowance. Teaching them about being responsible with money will have lifelong benefits.

And if they’re planning on moving away to work or go to school in another city, why not show them the process of paying their bills and sending money ahead of time at your nearest Money Services. Our helpful in-store associates could give them a few tips.

How to make a family budget plan – top tips

  • Expect the unexpected. If a sudden expense arises like the need to make home repairs or replace school equipment, try to keep enough money on hand in an emergency fund.
  • Plan for higher expenses. If you know your energy bill is typically higher in a certain month, figure that new total into your monthly expenses. Then you can do a better job at trying to save money to cover your expenses.
  • Coupon-cutting. Get the whole family involved in collecting coupons for their favorite household items, so you can save money every time.
  • Pay in cash. It can help to see the money you spend on groceries or gas up close and personal, so you have a visual idea of where your money is going.

Keeping your budget going

Even if you’re a little worse off now and then, it’s important to keep the family engaged in money matters every month. It shows you trust them enough to stick with the plan, and it may even encourage them to come up with ways to save that you didn’t think of.

Saving goals are always important whatever the age - even if it’s just a few bucks a month in a piggy bank. You never know when it will come in handy. Review your budget every month and show everyone the latest news in as simple a way as you can.

If you have any questions, stop by at your nearest Money Services and our staff will be happy to help out.

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