Hey, hey everybody! Guess what? My blog finally (FINALLY) has a second official “healthy lifestyle” post! I’m loving sharing all my recipes and blogging tips with you all, but I have to admit that I haven’t been great about keeping up with my content schedule for the lifestyle posts. Thanks to my new friend Kumiko, author of The Budget Mom, I was able to put an end to this lifestyle post drought!
Several days ago, Kumiko contacted me offering to write a post about family finances. And I’m SO glad she did! This is a topic I am interested in and passionate about… but also an area of personal struggle. I know personal and family finances are a key component of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I also know navigating finances takes a certain level of planning and restraint. I have the planning side of things down, but when it comes to exercising restraint… I tend to swing more toward “impulsive” on the pendulum, unfortunately.
Lucky for me, Kumiko has some great tips that we’ll be trying out soon in the Fereday household! I’m excited to get more serious about our approach to family finances, and I hope you will be too! So without further delay, let’s check out her post: 3 Tips to Improve Your Family Finances!
Dealing with your finances can be very overwhelming. Throw a husband and kids into the mix, and it can be downright hard! There are many things that may affect your marriage or family relationships, don’t let finances be one of them. Whether you are a finance wiz, or don’t have a lot of experience with personal finance, there are 3 simple rules I would like to share with you today. These rules will help you deal with your finances as a family, and allow you to find financial peace together.
Don’t Assume Your Spouse Knows What You Know
Everyone grows up with different backgrounds. You might have grown up with a family who was very open about finances, or a family who taught you all about balancing a check book, but maybe your spouse did not. This is one of the biggest causes of frustration when families try to talk about money. One person is great with finances, and was taught everything they needed to know to succeed financially – but the other person in the equation was taught nothing. Never assume your spouse has the same financial knowledge you do. Be patient, and respectful when talking about finances with your other half.
Always Have Family Finance Meetings
Make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to spending money. Figure out your expenses, and communicate with your spouse. Designate a time every week, every two weeks, or every month to sit down together as a family to talk about where you are with your finances. I always think it’s a great idea to involve children in the conversation, as you are teaching them valuable lessons in finance, money management, and goal setting. In your family finance meetings, talk about upcoming expenses, purchases you want to make, and finance goals you want to achieve as a family. This is what pulls you together, and allows everyone in the family to be on the same page. Stop your spouse from yelling, “You spent how much on what?!!” Talk about big purchases before hand, and always allow them to be a part of the decision. Waiting until your spouse racks up a fortune on the family credit card, will only make the conversation harder. The goal of family finance meetings is to have a calm, relaxed, and open discussion when there’s no lingering emotions at play.
Figure Out Financial Duties
There are many ways families deal with financial duties. In some households, one spouse makes all of the financial decision or pays all of the bills. There are some families where the responsibilities are literally divided in half. There is no right formula when it comes to who does what. You simply have to do what works for you as a family – BUT SPELL IT OUT! You shouldn’t have to pay for late fees, or get into arguments because you did not take responsibility for your financial duties. Maybe you are in charge of paying all of the bills, and your spouse is in charge of paying the mortgage. Whatever it might be, make sure you sit down together as a family, and write out a very clear plan.
Other Helpful Tips
Have Separate Credit Cards: When you get married, the thought of getting divorced never enters your mind, but it is a possibility. What happens if your spouse passes away? These are things you have to think about as a family. Make sure you have at least one credit card in your own name. This will allow you to maintain a separate credit history. Getting a loan, credit card or mortgage is nearly impossible without your own credit history.
Always Track Your Spending: I am not saying this just because I love budgeting. The only way to find financial security is to know where your money is going. Creating a successful budget for your family plays a huge part in your family finance meetings. Without it, what is there to really talk about? You cannot define financial goals, like a family vacation, if you don’t know how much to save, or where the savings will come from.
Look into Creating Legal Documents: Simply talking about money with your spouse is only one important part of the equation. Do you have minor children? Do you have something in place to financially provide for them if something happens to you or your spouse? A last will and testament should be something your family looks into, especially if you have children. Have a plan in place to take care of the people you love, even when you can’t be there physically.
Well, folks… that’s a wrap! Hopefully you all find Kumiko’s tips as helpful as I did! Some of you may be looking for even MORE to help you with your family finances. When I asked Kumiko if she might suggest a book for us all, she was quick to respond with this book:
Click the link to find it on Amazon (Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link) or check it out in my Shop 🙂
Thanks again Budget Mom 🙂 Be sure to check her out over at www.thebudgetmom.com!