If you are currently raising a family, then there is a good chance that your greatest daily challenge is how to make ends meet. You may also have some personal debt resulting from student loans, medical expenses, and credit card balances. Credit card debt is especially rampant in America, with citizens currently owing over $700 billion dollars in 2016, according to data collected by Bloomberg. However, a new year is approaching, and if one of your resolutions is to improve your family’s budget, there are several strategies you can try that might work for you.
1. Build a New Budget
You may already have a family budget in place; however, if you always find yourself short at the end of the month, then it may no longer be working as it should. It could be that some of your expenses have increased so slowly you may not have noticed it or that you failed to adjust for a rising credit card payment.
Building a new budget may sound like a daunting resolution to keep, but it can be a simple process if you plan for it. Gather all your current bills, use a spreadsheet on the computer or on a paper tablet if that works better for you, and make sure you include all your expenses and their current costs. The more precise you can be, the more viable your budget.
2. Leave Credit Cards at Home
While credit cards can be a convenient way to pay for things when you are short on cash, they can also cause you to impulse shop. While buying something on the fly or because you like how it looks can satisfy that impulse for the moment, it can come back to haunt you when the bill comes and you cannot afford to pay it.
To avoid buying items on the spur of the moment, leave your credit cards at home. Put them in a personal safe or fire box. If you want to treat yourself to a shopping trip, make sure to budget for it at the start of the month and do not take your cards with you to the mall.
3. Review Current Expenses
When the new year starts, think about vowing to review your current expenses and discovering ways to reduce their costs. Student loan debt may be reduced by requesting a lower rate, and you may qualify for a variety of car insurance discounts as well. Ask your local insurance agent about how your driving record can help you be eligible for money-saving perks.
4. Start an Emergency Fund
If you find yourself constantly dipping into your savings to pay for unexpected expenses, this can impact funds you are saving for college or a family vacation. However, when the new year begins, you can resolve to start a separate account for emergencies. Ask your bank about what kind of account might gain the most interest. These funds can help you cover car repairs, unexpected vet bills, and home improvement necessities.
New Year’s resolutions related to saving money can be difficult to keep. However, when you plan ahead and review expenses carefully, your family’s savings can grow steadily throughout the year.