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Hey hey now friends! If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know we are now back home from our Colorado trip. It was a blast! While we were there I received a few messages from some of you that asked about our family budget, and how we are able to travel essentially on one income. So today I wanted to share tips on how we balance our family budget. I’m finding there’s a lot I want to share about balancing a family budget, so this is part 1. Expect more in the future.
Balancing a family budget can be tricky, but with a dedication to the big picture outcomes for your family, you can conquer debt and live within your means. It can seem overwhelming at first, so start with getting a basic idea on paper of what your family makes each month. Once you have the income from all sources written down, begin listing your monthly expenses. Start with the necessary ones like housing, utilities, insurance, and food. Then add other monthly expenses for savings, investment, cell phone plans, gifts, and entertainment. A budgeting form can help you get organized.
As you look at your two lists, one being the income and the other being expenses, you will start to see areas where you could maybe reduce your expenditures. When you spend less, you will have more cash to pay down debts such as college loans and credit cards. I know this concept seems “easy”, but for us it’s been easier said than done. A great option is to visit your local insurance agent to discuss getting bundled policies for your home and car insurance. Often, you can get a discount and lower your overall expenses in that area.
It may also be helpful to track every expenditure you make over a month so you can see where the little extras are sneaking in to wreck your budget. This was a game changer for us! Again something super simple, but trust me having it down on paper and tracking everything you spend your money on will make you more aware of where your money is going and where you can make changes if you are willing to.
Below are some ways to reduce expenses so your family can work toward being financially stable.
Tighten the Food Budget
This was a big one for us. Your family doesn’t need to eat Ramen noodles every night for you to stay within a budget. Unless you like Ramen noodles, then go for it, and bask in the savings! Most families can save on their monthly food bills by planning simple meals incorporating sale items at the grocery store and by limiting their shopping trips to once a week or less often. Each additional trip to the store means risking incidental purchases that can quickly add up. Also, planning your menus can help you make sure you avoid expensive ready-made solutions.
Look for Discounts On Insurance
Visit your local insurance agent to discuss ways you can save on insurance. Online insurance options may have great advertisements, yet a local agent may be able to get you special discounts by combining policies or for good driving record. Local insurance agents may assess your insurance needs to get you the best rates on life insurance or other investment options as well. It is very helpful to have a local agent you can trust to help you with this aspect of your family finances. We just recently invested in life insurance this past year. Hello peace of mind.
Plan for Emergencies and Eventualities
A lot of families are concerned about how they will pay for college for their children. Some families worry about emergency medical needs. Both of these topics require you to have a good savings plan included in your budget. As you regularly save a certain percentage from your monthly income, you will gradually build up a good rainy day fund. Help your kids start their own savings accounts, as well. You may qualify for financial-aid to help pay for college, so along with saving, check out the variety of options to help pay for higher education.
Finding a little wiggle room in your budget to add to your savings and eliminate debt will help your family become financially stable. There’s no better time than today to work with a wise budget to help you meet your financial goals.
The above are just a few strategies we have adapted to make our family budget work for us, and allow us to spend in areas that are important to us, such as family travel. If something is important to you, you will find a way.
Hope this was helpful to you guys! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below or reach out to me via email, I’d love to chat! How do you stay within your family budget? What are some money saving tips you have?