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Family Lifestyle

Family Finances: Going Beyond “Making Ends Meet”

For many families, the task of making ends meet is an uphill challenge in itself. Perhaps you find yourself in a tricky financial situation. If you can simply pay your bills and keep the household running then you’ve done a good job. But you might want more for your family in terms of your monetary situation. Maybe you want to go beyond simply making ends meet, but you’re not sure how to improve your personal finances. If you want to start securing a better future for your children and your family as a whole then here’s some financial advice that should steer you in the right direction.

Make a strict budget

One of the first ways in which to improve your family finances is to make a strict budget. You’re probably already quite strict and frugal when it comes to making ends meet, but you need to start tracking expenses if you want to start having excess cash that can go towards other things (e.g. university funds or holidays for the family). Calculate how much money you have to set aside for essentials on a monthly basis. The money that remains is your disposable income. That doesn’t mean it’s your spending money, however; you should aim to save your excess earnings as much as possible. When you’re treating yourself to luxuries, make sure you’re always getting the cheapest deal; shop for new clothes when there’s a sale, and go to theme parks during the quiet off-peak season.

Of course, if cutting back on luxuries doesn’t help to free up some more disposable income then you might want to take a look at the necessary costs and bills listed on your budget. Obviously, you don’t have to cut back on the basics in order to save money. You shouldn’t ever deny your family the essentials that they need, but you can spend less and still get the same things. For instance, you should also search for coupons, discount codes, and other online deals before you check out a shopping basket online (or before heading out to a store). There’s always money to be saved if you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare on Google.

Additionally, you could save money on your bills by looking for better providers. You might want to check out broadband deals to see if there’s a cheaper option than your current provider that still offers a speedy and high-quality service. Remember, cost isn’t always indicative of quality; companies are always undercutting one another to draw in new customers. That’s why it’s smart to search for cheaper options on the market when it comes to your energy or internet providers. You should also shop around for cheaper alternatives whenever it’s time to renew your car insurance. Insurers often offer huge discounts for new customers, but your existing provider has no incentive to do so. Get the same coverage at a cheaper price.

Start investing

Investing your money is a great way to increase your wealth. Rather than leaving all of your earnings in an account to slowly gather interest, you need to be brave enough to start moving your money around. You might be scared to invest money because your instinct is to protect, but the best way to protect your family’s future is to improve your financial situation. And we’re not just talking about investing in property or shares; you could invest in your pension so that you start to build up substantial funds for the future. You could even invest in an ISA for your children to help them afford their first houses in the future. You need to seize opportunities to multiply your wealth.

woman sat at a laptop with a credit card in her hand and a shopping bag in front of her

Set up a standing order to yourself

Perhaps the reason that you focus solely on present-day costs is that you struggle to stick to a savings plan. And that’s understandable. When you’re constantly focusing on making ends meet, it’s hard to think about the future. It’s hard to bring yourself to save money when you feel as if you need to use that money for the costs you face today. However, saving money doesn’t have to be a costly venture. It’s a gradual long-term process, and that means you only need to set aside a small amount of money on a regular basis in order to slowly build up some substantial savings.

The best way to stick to a savings plan is to set up a standing order to yourself from your main account to your savings account. Set the transfer to take place on the same day every month and for it to take out the same amount of money. Perhaps it could happen the day after payday. That way, you won’t have to think about saving money; it’ll happen automatically. You also won’t have to worry about accidentally spending your disposable income before you’ve had a chance to save it. This standing order can simply become a small expense to include in your budget, but you’ll know that the money is still going to you and your family. It’s just money for the future. Perhaps it’ll go towards putting your children through university, and perhaps some of it will go towards your retirement. Whatever the case, you need to start planning ahead. Setting up a regular savings transfer will mean that you’re protecting your interests beyond the present day.

Plan for unexpected events

It’s important to build a savings fund for all the costs you know you and your children will face in the future, but you also need to think about the things that you can’t predict. You should have an emergency fund in the house with savings that are solely there for the purpose of covering any unforeseen costs. You could gradually build up this emergency fund by putting change in the jar on a daily basis. The savings will grow quickly, and they could help you in the event of a leaky pipe that needs a plumber or a car breakdown that requires repairs. You need to expect the unexpected so as to protect your family’s finances.

 

*This is a collaborative post*

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