This is a partnered post.
That was the trip we went on in September, a big surprise to our kids, but in order to make that happen I had to plan meticulously with our finances. During the planning I learned from mistakes and good financial decisions alike. Today I just want to take a moment to share with you a few things I have learned as the one who manages our family finances.
- Budget. Know your monthly income and outgoing bills. If you can’t live off what you bring in, you aren’t going to have the extra fun money so make sure what you are sending out is less than what you are bringing in. You don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck…trust me, we’ve been there before. If that means cutting some things like cable, cell phone out of our life…then do it.
- Talk About It. There are things that are a given, that don’t require conversation, gas, food, and living bills. However if there are purchases outside of that realm, it is best to talk to your spouse about it. There are few things that can take a harder toll on a marriage than not talking about purchases outside the “needs”. It’s just a very respectful thing to do and it’s a great way to make sure the funds are there.
- Bring In The Kids. I don’t believe kids need to see the stresses that sometimes come with bad money choices affecting you but I do think it is important to teach them early. Show them the bills you have to have to live, let them see the fun extras you have but aren’t a necessity, teach them how to pay a bill. Essentially prepare them for when they go out on their own. If there is one thing you don’t want, is a kid who doesn’t understand finances when they leave your house. Let them help in some little ways and understand the responsibilities that will come as they get older. Make them budget the money they earn…we’ve seen this make a difference in them understanding really how much we do for them…and how much it costs, which makes them appreciate it more.
- Set A Goal. If you have that vacation you want to go on, that car you want to buy, or have a dream of having XX amount in savings, make it a goal! When you are working toward something you are more likely to figure out how to get there. If you don’t set a goal you may not take a step to saving money…it will be spent. So work toward that dream purchase…or savings!
- Take A Deep Breath. It’s just a given, you will get stressed and frustrated at least once (and if that’s all then I applaud you and give you a standing ovation). It’s okay…it’s normal. Take a moment, step away, regroup and refocus. When you are stressed over your finances, everything will look much worse and you may not be in the right frame of mind. I’ve made a BIG mistake in my checkbook in the past and almost had a breakdown. I had to stop, take a break and let myself regroup so I could focus and fix it. I did and since then I have noted the importance of having a clear head when working on our finances.
One of the things that can help women (or men) who may not have a set budget or figure out the best way to reach to your goal is to have a financial advisor. Whether you choose to use one or set yourself down and make your finances be exactly what you want them to be, it’s important to go in with an goal in mind. That will make a world of difference. If I don’t have a goal it’s much easier to spend away, but if you have something you want to do (go on vacation, buy a house, etc) you are less likely to spend randomly.
What are some things you’ve learned as you have you’ve become responsible for your finances?
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