15 Budgeting Tips for Families

Lidia Staron, author at OpenLoans
Lidia Staron   Head of Content
Personal Finance
I enjoy navigating people through important financial decisions.

Not many of us find budgeting inherently fun. If you’re lucky, you might have never really had to worry about learning saving and budgeting tips to get by, especially if you have only had to look after yourself. However, as time goes on, learning budgeting tips for families is essential if you have a young family. Whether you’re on an absolute shoestring or you’ve got a high level of income, it still makes sense to budget and be sensible. In this guide, we’re sharing the top 15 budgeting tips for young families.

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Budget Basics

Budgeting basics.

Budgeting is all about working out how much is coming in and planning for outgoings accordingly. Simple, right? It can be simple, but it can also be complex if you have many people spending from the same pot. Budget well, and you can make sure there is money for vacations and that you don’t have to borrow. Budget badly, and you might find yourself in a tight spot. You can see why budgeting tips for families are so important.

How to Create a Budget

To create a budget, you should start from your income and work from there. It’s no good budgeting to spend more than you have coming in. Make sure you consider salary and any other forms of income before writing down your expenses. A simple spreadsheet should suffice. Always leave some wiggle room, too.

Outline Your Family Savings Goals

What are you saving for? If you’re making a budget to make sure there is a surplus of cash weekly or monthly. As a family, you need some savings goals to work towards. How much do you need to save by a specific date? This will inform your budget somewhat.

Budgets Weekly

Weekly budgets.

Most of us get into a routine each week. This makes it far easier to budget effectively. For instance, you may have a specific activity you do once a day or once a week to know a certain sum of money. Breaking it down weekly, with a weekly budget, means you can see how much you are spending.

Family Check-up Every Weekend

Every weekend, you can check on your progress! There are always some things that can get in the way; you never know when you’re going to have to replace something that breaks or pays for car repairs. However, a weekly check-up lets you see a more extended sample size of what budgeting tips for families work for you.

Over time, anomalies and one-off costs become less important, and you can see what you are regularly spending instead. These chronic changes will make all the difference.

Calculate and Adjust your Expenses

Calculating expenses.

One of the most straightforward budgeting tips and tricks is calculating what you spend and adjusting accordingly. It may not be fun to keep a record of everything you spend, but it is an effective way to ensure that you’ve got the data you need.

You might find that some expenses are way more than you thought. Budgeting strategies for families can be as simple as cutting a few luxuries; this might make all the difference and allow you to build up some cash or live more comfortably.

Prioritize your Costs

When we’re talking about luxuries, we’re discussing those expenses you don’t have to make daily. Prioritizing your costs means that you pay what is essential first. When budgeting for low-income families, this is particularly important to ensure that you don’t waste money on non-essential items.

Things like the rent and food bills must always be paid. Put these at the top of your list and prioritize accordingly.

Have an Emergency Fund

This is one of the top budgeting tips for families. Without an emergency fund, you can get disheartened as you feel like you’ve ruined your budget when something goes wrong. There is an option to pay for emergency car repairs with a personal loan. However, this is where the fund comes in useful!

Make Sure your Household Stick to the Budget

Family indoors.

There’s no point in knowing all about budgeting for families if you are simply not going to stick with it. It’s a continued effort from everyone, and therefore it is essential to regularly check in and see if everyone is doing their best and managing to stick to the budget. It could be that you all have your budgets to improve accountability.

How not to Overspend

Overspending.

It’s all very well having money budgeting tips, but what is the point if you continue to overspend?

 Ensuring you don’t overspend can involve:

  • Learning how to control impulse buying.
  • Taking extra time to shop around and compare prices.
  • Seeing if you can reuse or repair things rather than replacing them and spending in the process.

Using Cash to Keep Spending Under Control

Using cash to keep spending under control.

People spend more money using credit cards compared to cash. When you have plastic and the option to put things on credit cards, there is no actual transaction. This can be dangerous! When you know how much you must spend, why not ensure that you only take this much with you, like cash, with no cards. This means that you only pay the money you need to and don’t get tempted by other things.

Find the Family Savings Resources

Savings resources.

How can you as a whole family save money? The activities that you might have previously carried out might change to save money together as a family and reap the benefits as a result.

Keep Birthdays Simple

You can have a lot of fun on your birthday without having to push the boat out and spend a lot of money. Think about activities you can do to save money. Can you cook your favorite food at home rather than spend it on a meal out? It’s incredible how much a family can spend on birthdays. Instead, keep gifts and activities fun but inexpensive.

Plan for the Holidays

There is so much pressure to spend at the holidays, you can get sucked in, and your money can quickly get accounted for. Instead, try to think ahead. You can buy gifts while they are on sale from the year before. You could even arrange a payment plan to gradually spend on the holidays rather than having to splurge all at once.

Control Spending on Food

Eating at a restaurant.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve got tempted and spent money on food that we really shouldn’t have. We all must eat every day but controlling spending on food can significantly impact and reduce our outgoings. Say you spend $3 on a coffee each day. Over the year, this is over $1,000. You can see how it adds up. You could make your coffee for a fraction of the price.

Plan Your Family Meals

Planning meals has a few benefits, one of which is reducing your food bill. It lets you buy ingredients in bulk; it also means that you can reduce the cost by planning meals that don’t use expensive ingredients. These money/budgeting tips aren’t rocket science, but they are very effective. Planning also reduces the temptation to order takeout.

Teach your Children

Father and child.

One of the best budgeting tips for young families is to teach your children financial literacy. This might mean that you give an allowance and let them make their own decisions to understand the value of money and what it takes to save.

The best budgeting tips for families let everyone contribute and let everyone reap the rewards. If you work together to save money, you can save far more effectively and enjoy vacations together or work towards a financially healthy future.

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