Sticking to a budget is inherently difficult, especially if you’re a parent: from surprise trips to the doctor, unexpected school fees, and paying for your kids’ social lives, it can be hard to save money. If you’re in this boat, you can set yourself up for success by learning to manage your finances, sticking to a strict food budget, and eating healthy, inexpensive staples. In this article, The Off Brand Guy offers tips on personal money management to help you get started.
Best Way To Manage Money
Healthy Food Choices
For most families, food spending outweighs almost everything else. From eating out to surprise trips to the grocery store, it’s not hard to blow past your food budget without even realizing it. If you’re saving for the future, reining in your food spending will be a great way to reach your goals.
Along with making (and sticking to) a food budget, remember to purchase low-cost healthy staples such as quinoa, peanut butter, and lentils. All three options are high in protein and are easy to store in the pantry. Dry goods are great because they almost never expire, and staples such as legumes and grains can be used for several different meals.
While buying healthier food often means increasing your food budget, it’s a worthwhile expense to ensure your family stays healthy. Organic items are often pricier, but as Organic Trade Association explains, both the short and long-term health value far outweigh the cost. Everyone is subject to a certain level of toxins in the air and water, and children are especially susceptible. By choosing organically raised foods, you help to minimize the exposure to you and your family members.
Budgeting For Nutrition
When you’re putting together a budget, look at other areas of spending where you might be able to reallocate funds. For example, rather than putting away your earnings for a new tablet or smartphone, consider adding those extra dollars to your food budget each month so you can afford fresh, organic veggies and other healthy choices at the grocery store. And don’t forget to look for ways to save on healthy food, whether it’s checking out coupons or buying in bulk.
If you’re finding it consistently difficult to stick to your budget even after allocating more each month, consider shopping at different grocery stores to save money.
Managing Your Finances
Get Some Help
Even though there are budgeting apps out there to help people keep track of their finances, sometimes it’s better to call in the professionals. Personal money management can be stressful, and if you’re working through it with your partner, you might benefit from having the perspective of an outside resource.
Whether it’s through an accountant who can set you up with a doable budget and a plan for saving or working with a financial planner to help make retirement planning easier, it pays to get the assistance you need.
Tips For Success
Even if you get help from an accountant, you should have ongoing conversations with your partner to discuss budgeting and spending. Budgeting often requires a shift in priorities, and myMoneyCoach notes some spending habits can be hard to change. There are ways to help you curb frivolous spending, such as going cash only to limit what you can buy, making detailed lists and sticking to them every time you go food shopping, and taking a time-out before big purchases to determine whether they’re worth the money.
Wise Money Management
Plan For The Future
Homeownership is a common goal for most parents, but to achieve this, you have to be diligent in saving money for a down payment, figuring out what your current home is worth, and, at the very least, doing everything you can to boost your credit score. While it’s easy to get swept up in looking for a home when you’re ready to buy, a careful approach ensures you don’t overspend and that you get the right loan. Find a trustworthy lender who understands your situation and who can point you toward the best loan programs to fit your family’s financial situation.
Finally, with personal money management your future needs to be top of mind all the time. With so many families having too little put away for retirement, the future could prove to be very difficult. Work with a financial planner to strategically put away money; and remember, your retirement comes before helping out with college. In addition, consider purchasing insurance for an extra layer of protection. Whether it’s life insurance to make up for lost income if you or your partner dies, or long-term care insurance so you have coverage whenever the time comes for senior living.
Financial planning is crucial for families who are saving for their children’s futures. By making a budget that you can follow, you’ll be taking a big step toward reaching your financial goals as a family.
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