After Christmas, finances tend to be tighter than usual. I know how family has to really budget during January and sometimes have to dip into savings to help afford the necessities until our salaries reach our bank accounts. We’ve developed a strategy over the last few years, and it makes handling the family finances much easier – throughout the year! Here are my 10 steps to implement to take control of your family finances.
Only Allow One Person to be In Control
Having more than one person controlling the family finances gets messy. You have to leave notes for each other and track every little thing you do. If one person is in control, you know exactly when money is going in and going out. Take control of all the different accounts in the house, including bank accounts, savings accounts and the outgoings. Set up a spreadsheet with the different accounts and monitor the outgoings and incomes to help organize a budget.
Take Control of Your Debt
Before you concentrate on your savings, you need to take full control of your debt. Debt usually has higher interest rates so you gain more by paying it off. We’re still in some debt and tackling it one bill at a time. I have full control of the finances and have set out a plan for the credit cards. I clear the one with the lowest balance first, then work on the next one, but I know others who work on the highest interest first, no matter the size of the balance; I like seeing zeros, and it keeps me motivated to work on the next card or overdraft. Find something that works for you and take control of your debt as soon as possible.
Set Up a Family Budget
Take the spreadsheets that you have created, and set up your family budget. This will take into account the amount that you spend on necessities and how you will use up your disposable income. Even though you are tackling your debt, have some money left over for emergencies and special purchases. My husband and I have a set amount in our budget that we can spend on anything that we want to avoid constantly worrying about money.
Set Up a System for Bills
You need to stay on top of your bills, whether they are internet costs, telephone charges or energy bills. Create a system to log the bills as they come through the post or your email and note the date they are due in a diary. Create a home filing system that works for you.
Plan Your Meals and Shopping
Do you go to the grocery store without a list and then end up surprised by the amount that you have spent and bought? Make a list of your meals for the week and write down the food that you need for those meals. Take that list and avoid all other aisles. Don’t put anything in your shopping basket that isn’t on your list. You’ll save money and your shopping trips will become shorter. You could also try these methods to lower your shopping budget.
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