Financial Planning / Wealth & Prosperity

Family Budgets – A Healthy Outlook

"Family Budgets - A Healthy Outlook "Having a family budget means, for some people, whipping out the calculator at every purchase, or viewing the budget on their mobile device in the grocery store. For others, a family budget is just a formality and they never really glance at it. Between these extremes are those who sort of use their family budget with moments of obsessive adherence, or those who try but give up altogether because they go crazy trying to keep track of all the details.

Where’s the balance? How can you maintain a healthy outlook without obsessing or ignoring your family budget?

Here are some tips on how you can cultivate a healthy outlook regarding your family budget.

Flexibility

For those who tend to err on the obsessive side, it is a good idea to remember to be flexible with your budget. Of course, flexibility does not mean ignoring your parameters. But it does mean you can take a little from one area and cut back in another when necessary.

Get Your Family On Board

Nothing can make you frustrated with a budget like lack of family participation. Family members might just rack up expenses without giving the budget a second thought, leaving you to tear your hair out trying to balance it and cover the expenses. If the whole family is included and on board with the budget, it can improve everyone’s outlook.

You Don’t Have to Keep Track of Every Penny

Some people avoid a budget because they don’t want the stress of keeping track of every cent spent. They’re right – that is stressful. But it’s not the only way. Look into budgeting in a general way, or simply work out a list of expenses, income, and how much you have in the bank right now.

Customize

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your budget, and customize it for your family’s needs. Your outlook is likely to be a lot healthier if your budget is suited for your income, expenses, and personality. Your family dynamic should be taken into consideration when you form your budget.

Set Aside Money for When You Need it.

The new school year is a perfect example of the types of things that should go into a family budget. It’s important to have the funds available that are necessary to get the kids off to a good start.  For parents of school-age chiddren, the budget will likely include new clothes or school uniforms, school supplies, doctor visits (to comply with the school’s medical/immunization requirements) and more.

Forgive Yourself and Family Members

Everyone makes mistakes and breaks the budget now and then. Beating yourself up over a budget mess-up is not conducive to a healthy outlook, and neither is nagging and punishing family members. If it’s a chronic “mistake,” it may need to be addressed in a civil family meeting. But to keep a healthy outlook, let the minor offenses go.

Know When It’s a Real Emergency

What constitutes an “emergency” can differ between family members. Dipping into the emergency fund for non-emergency expenses can deplete the money pretty fast. Make sure everyone knows what a real financial emergency looks like for your family.

 

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