why you need a family budget

Family Budgeting – why you need a family budget

Family Budgeting

This year has been financially tricky for many and even if it hasn’t impacted your family I will bet that you have been thinking more about the what ifs?  What if you couldn’t work for a while?  What if you were made redundant or furloughed?   One way that you can help prepare for the unknown and for that rainy day is through family budgeting and ultimately saving.

Family Budgeting

What is a family budget?

A family budget is pretty much just a record of what you earn and what you typically spend.  It is a way of controlling what you spend through thinking about it in advance and planning not just for your regular spend, but also for saving and any emergency contingency that might be needed.

Why is family budgeting important?

Budgeting and living within your means are important for any family, but if you are a large family, like we are then it is perhaps even more important to know what you are spending and what is coming up as even the weekly shop can become huge if you don’t take care and if 4 kids suddenly need school shoes and this hasn’t been accounted for it definitely adds up and impacts that month. 

Having a family budget takes the guess work out and allows you to spend time enjoying being a family as you know when you are out doing something you can afford it.  It isn’t necessarily a fun process doing the family budget though – I won’t lie, but you will see as you read on that I have found some great tools that help.

Why you need a family budget:

How can a family save money?

In these tricky times, we, like many other families have been thinking about how we are spending our money.  The first step with saving money as a family is, I think, having the conversations which is where family budgeting comes into play. 
family budget 10 ways to save
Our family conversations have given us some easy ways that a family can save money.  So here are 10 ways that we have found we are able to save some pennies:
  • Find ways to have fun at home and in the local area rather than doing expensive day trips
  • Make your own coffee and take a flask with you rather than buying take out coffees
  • Make sure that you are setting aside money each month for the big ticket items like holidays, car insurance etc…
  • Plan ahead for big annual events like birthdays and Christmas
  • Keep kid’s birthdays simple (if lockdown has taught us anything it is that kids just don’t need that massive party to have a great birthday)
  • Instead of getting a takeaway make a ‘fakeaway’ at home and if you really don’t want to cook supermarkets do their own versions of some takeaway classics.  Sure it isn’t quite the same, but if you need to save it is an easy way to make a change
  • Be less wasteful with clothing for example if jeans get too short, but still fit round the waist cut them into shorts
  • Keep an eye on food expenditure and make sure you are only buying what you need
  • Get meal planning so you are wasting less food and batch cooking can also help reduce food waste and so unnecessary expense
  • Talk about budgeting and saving with your kids – teaching kids about finance isn’t just good for helping support the family saving efforts, but it can also set them up for their future.  I noticed on Pigly they have some fantastic advice about how to teach kids about savings which could be really helpful for these conversations.
The Financial Conduct Authority has some really useful information about support you can get during the pandemic in the UK
This site is packed full of hints and tips for saving money along with practical advice for all matters financial. 
Pigly is a consumer focused site full of awesome calculators and planners all free to use.  Some of the tools are a quite US market focused, but there is still tonnes of stuff that I know those of you not in the USA will find useful.  My favourite calculator on there is the lunch savings calculator. You can actually work out how much you can save across the week, month or your career by taking  your own lunch to work.  With everyone working  from home that has got to make a few people smile!
Family budgeting  is, in my opinion, not something you want to leave until your are in a difficult financial situation.  I hope that this post helps you get started with your family budgeting and that some of the sites I have found helpful when looking at my family’s budget and spend will also be useful for you.

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