5 Financially Savvy Tips for Parents
Keeping on top of family finances isn’t easy. We all have bills to pay and with the price of everything from energy and food to gas constantly going up, it’s hard to keep track of what we spend. If you’re struggling to get ahead with your finances, take a look at our five favorite financially savvy tips for parents from my friend Justin, one of our guest writers.
Find What Works for You
First of all, not all money saving tips for families and budgeting systems will work for everyone, so it’s important to figure out what works for your family. You may need to try out a few systems to get the best one for you. Perhaps you prefer to pay for everything by card so you can keep track of what you’ve spent. Perhaps you’re old-school and prefer to use cash. Perhaps you create budgets to the nearest cent or penny. Maybe you prefer to round things up to give yourself a bit of leeway. Find what works best for you and stick to that plan.
Don’t Forget the Variables
It makes sense to create a budget that includes all your fixed expenses, such as your mortgage payment or rent, car payments, insurances, and entertainment packages. However, you also need to account for the variables – the things that you don’t necessarily pay for each week or month. These can include items such as birthday presents and kids parties, school events, new clothes for the kids, etc. You can either schedule these in for the months that they’re likely to fall into or put aside some money each month.
Create a Bills Account
One way to never forget about a regular payment is to create a bills account. By this, we mean a separate bank account that you pay a set amount of money into each month or pay cycle. You can set up regular payments for bills such as the mortgage, utility bills, etc. so that they automatically come out of the account on the day they are due. You’ll need to work out how much money needs to be deposited into this account each period and who is going to fund it. i.e., if you have a partner, will you put in equal amounts?
Find Ways to Lower your Monthly Expenses
If you’re finding it hard to make ends meet, look for ways to lower your monthly expenses. If you have an existing student loan, it may make sense to look into an Earnest student loan refinance as you might get to enjoy lower monthly payments. You may want to look at ways to reduce your energy consumption or cut back on some of your entertainment packages or other discretionary spending. Or why not try calling your phone company or internet provider and see if you can get a better deal? Small savings all add up and may make a considerable difference to your overall monthly expenses.
Pay Down Your Credit Cards
Paying off your credit cards now will pay dividends in the future. Think of it this way. If you’re using credit, then you’re taking on more debt and the interest rates for credit cards are usually high. Set yourself a goal to pay off more than your minimum payments each month to pay down your credit cards as quickly as possible. Once your credit cards are completely paid, the extra money can be used for savings or investments.