What was it like to create your family
spending plan? What were the results? Did you find that your family
spends less than its income? Or, like many families, did your family find that
you spend more than you make?
If your family expenses exceed your income, it’s important to take action.
Like individuals, families must spend less than they earn to manage their money
well. The key to financial success applies
to families just like individuals.
You can find ways to increase your income by being creative. Never underestimate
the power of positive thinking! Families that work together can produce
great results. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Family members might
take on extra jobs.Even a few hours
a week can make a big difference.
Hold a garage sale. Garage
sales can be great ways for making extra income. You can
earn money while organizing your house at the same time!
Do you have extra “stuff” around your house
that you don’t need? It doesn’t take much planning
to turn your “stuff” into cash. Have a weekend
Earn a raise. Is
one of your family members due for a raise? Have you been
working hard for a while without a promotion? If you work
for a company, how do your efforts help the company succeed?
Do some research to understand the value you bring to the
business. If you’re not bringing much value, find
ways to bring more. Then ask to be compensated for what
you contribute. Sometimes a clear request is all it takes.
Ask for ideas.If
you’re struggling, you may benefit from the knowledge
of others around you. Does your family know successful
people who are achieving their goals? Ask them for ideas
on how you might improve.
Change your viewpoint. To
make more money, it might be time for a change in attitude.
Do you usually focus on what you’re missing? Or do
you take time to be grateful for what you do have? Often
families emphasize what they lack instead of expressing
appreciation. Hold a special family meeting to acknowledge
your achievements. You might wish to hold a “success” meeting
once a month. Make a list of all the income sources for
which you are grateful. Even if your income is small, at
least it’s a start! Keep your eye on your goals,
not your obstacles. A good attitude can help you move forward.
In addition to making more money, you can balance your budget by cutting
costs. Take a look at each expense category in your spending plan. Where
can you spend less?
Following a spending plan takes discipline. Here are some ideas for how
you can make your money go further by reducing costs:
bank fees. If you need to get cash from a
cash machine or ATM, use the ATM at your bank. Your bank’s
ATMs are usually free. Other ATMs can cost you up to $3 each
time you take out money.
Reduce coffee costs. Make
coffee at home rather than buying it at a coffee shop. If a family
member has been buying coffee each day, this can save $10 each
week or more.
lunches from home. If family members eat
out at work or school, this expense can add up. Establish
a routine to make lunches each day. Put the extra cash saved
toward something important.
Choose low-cost entertainment.If
your family spends a lot on having fun, look for ways to save.
You can rent videos and DVDs instead of going to the movies,
magazine costs. If you buy magazines at the
grocery store each week, consider subscribing. Subscription
costs are usually lower than store purchases. If you already
subscribe, are you reading what you receive? If not, stop
your subscriptions. You also might share magazines with neighbors
or family friends.
Buy in bulk.Some
stores offer lower prices on items purchased in large quantities.
Buy these items in bulk and store the extras until they ’re
for sales. At the end of each season, sales
are common. Clothing sales, for instance, reduce prices by
as much as 75 percent.
Pay off your debt.If
you have debt, you’re probably paying interest. This interest
can add up. Pay off your debt to reduce your interest charges.
You’ll have peace of mind, too.
store brands. Name brands at stores are almost
always more expensive. Are the name brands really better
than the store brands? Try store brands to see. Many store
brands offer the same quality at a lower price.
Buy fresh foods.Today’s
stores sell many products for convenience. Prepared foods are
more expensive because you pay for the preparation. Buying fresh
foods helps keep your costs low. Eating fresh foods is healthier,
coupons.Coupons can save a bundle at grocery
stores. Some stores accept coupons even after the expiration
date marked on the coupon. Each store is different in its
policies. Ask at your store to learn what coupons you can
Shop with a list.Stores
are designed to encourage “impulse buying.” Stores
place displays in all the right places to tempt you to buy items.
Avoid this trap by sticking to your shopping list. Even if you
have a coupon, only buy items you were planning to buy.
before you buy. Doing your research can save
you a lot of money, especially on big purchases. Find out
what experiences others have had with products. Some products
may look flashy but don’t work well. Other products
may provide you with more features than you need. If you
won’t use the extra features, there ’s no point
to paying more for them.
Pay the best price.Shop
around to be sure you’re getting the best price before
you buy. Compare prices at different stores and be sure to look
online. Online stores often offer the least expensive prices.
Some stores will match the lowest price you find, even online.
You can save hundreds of dollars below the store price.
To bring your budget into balance,
take one of three approaches: