The Family That Budgets Together...Has a Plan for Their Future
The hardest part for you in taking on your finances might be one of the steps that can help you the most: involving your family.
Your desire to shield your loved ones from the realities of your financial situation is understandable. You might not want anyone else to feel the burden you do, you want to believe they can continue enjoying living as they have and you might even be nervous about letting them down.
If you are willing to look beyond those concerns, you might discover that involving everyone in planning your way out of this situation, could bring you and your family closer together. It can also provide life lessons about finances that will benefit you and your children for years.
Here are seven steps to involving your entire family in overcoming your financial situation whether it be creating a new budget or eliminating debt:
- Make a detailed calendar of all your bills you are required to pay. Spread it out over at least three months to cover those bills that come every other month or quarterly.
- On that same calendar add the income you expect from your jobs and all other sources. Be conservative about the amounts and if there is any doubt a check will come, leave it off the list. Let it be a pleasant surprise later.
- Keep a running total to the side of each entry so that you know what your balance is. If you use a spreadsheet program the numbers will come in automatically. If you’re writing it out on paper, use a pencil, because you will be making lots of changes.
- On a separate sheet create a list of all your debts. Include the monthly payments and the balances on each. At the bottom add the payments into one total and the balances into another.
- If you are married or have a partner, have a meeting before you present the information to the entire family. Make some general decisions, but save room for decisions to be made as a family.
- Arrange to have a meeting with the entire family to go over your finances. Show them the calendar. Let them see your current bill situation and allow them to make suggestions for ways to save money or pay debts quicker.
- Agree to have a regular progress meeting. Monthly might be too much for the overall debt picture, but that can be about the right time to talk about things that worked and those that didn’t. Once a quarter might be a good time to demonstrate how your debts are lower and other progress. And don’t forget in the quarters that follow to always refer back to your starting point.
Plan a family celebration of some kind for the day you become debt free or you’ve met a savings goal. Once you get there, don’t stop the meetings. Now you can talk about ways to save for the future and enjoy the benefits debt-free living can give you. That way your kids will not only know how to get out of financial trouble, they will learn ways to handle money responsibly, something they will thank you for years later.
Published Aug 7, 2014.