Family Budgets (MNP 3 Minute Debt Break)

Every family, big or small, is busy. Between work, school, house chores, and extra-curricular activities you're probably wondering when there is time to do one of the most important things a family needs to do… budget. Without a plan to get or stay out of debt, many households may inadvertently be setting themselves up for failure.

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By following a few simple steps, any family can get themselves confidently on the road to financial well-being and prosperity — regardless of what expenses they have or how much time they are able to dedicate to the task.

The first and most important step of any budget is to understand what matters most for your family. Odds are there will be several financial goals you're trying to balance. From vacations, home upgrades, sports or dinners out, what's important is that everyone is clear on what your priorities are and their order of importance. That way everyone is working toward the same shared goal and are mutually contributing to your family's long-term financial success.

The next step is to figure out how much money is coming in each month. This includes all employment income and any other money that can be consistently relied upon to support your family. Begin by documenting your fixed expenses and all the costs that stay consistent from month to month. And finally, decide how much you would like to set aside for savings. Remember, many irregular expenses such as birthday or Christmas gifts may not fit neatly in any of the above categories. Be sure to include them in your savings plans to avoid being caught off guard when they come up.

Tracking and Maintaining the budget is the tricky part. You know how much money you're able to spend each month and you're aware of how much money you need to spend each month. Now you must do the hard work of staying within that limit — which is usually easier said than done. Having a running record of what you've purchased, and your available budget remaining is the best way to keep your mind clear and reduce the stress and anxiety in your already busy lifestyle. It has also proven, time and again, to be the most effective way to reach your financial goals.

Finally, remember that your family is dynamic and constantly changing. Make adjustments as required and keep the lines of communication open. That way everyone will feel like they're contributing to the same result. By working together, your chances of getting wherever you want to go will be much improved and you'll find a lot more joy and cooperation on your journey.

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