Living a financially responsible life is surprisingly easy yet many of us still struggle with it. The trick is to focus on making some relatively small, yet effective, changes to your lifestyle. Here are the key areas to focus you and your family on.
Make a Budget
The first step on the road to fiscal responsibility is to produce a detailed budget. Your budget should serve as a guide for all your future spending decisions and will be your single most powerful weapon against bad spending decisions. In order to produce a useful budget, you will need to first get an accurate snapshot of your current financial position. This picture should include your current savings, your expected income, and your projected outgoings. Once you know all of this, you will have the information you need to start making some more detailed plans.
When it comes to writing the budget itself, be prepared for it to go through several iterations. If you aren’t able to stick to the budget you have set for yourself, it won’t be of much help to you. Worse still, failing to meet the targets you set yourself will drain your motivation and will make it increasingly harder for you to adopt the very practices you need.
Your budget doesn’t need to be very detailed to begin with. Some people find it easier to track their spending over a period of weeks or months and then use this information to inform their budget decisions. Once you have your budget, you need to try and force yourself to stick with it. If you are struggling to stay within your budget, be honest about yourself whether this is a problem with the budget you’ve set, or a problem with your self control.
Get Everyone Involved
Saving money as a family is going to be much more effective when the entire family is involved. This is easy enough with the adult members of your household. Anyone who is paying towards bills and upkeep has a pretty good incentive to get in on the spending reductions. However, you can also get your children involved in a number of ways.
One of the most common, and easiest to fix, sources of wasted money in the average household is electrical appliances that are left on even when not in use. Remember, when a device is turned on and using power from the mains power supply, it will be costing you money in energy bills. It is therefore a good idea to get all your family members into the habit of switching off any appliances when they aren’t in use.
Another simple but effective way of saving money as a family is to switch from the branded products and instead turn to generics. When you are shopping for groceries, sometimes switching supermarkets can lead to some impressive savings. If you have several supermarkets all close to one another, you can save even more money by splitting your shopping between them. Comparing prices is easy with the availability of smartphone apps and price comparison websites.
Check Your Services
Now that services like Netflix and Spotify have proven the potential of the subscription-based model, there are more businesses than ever before looking to capitalize on this newfound potential. In some ways, this has been a welcome development for consumers. But for the more inattentive among us, it is rapidly becoming a regular drain on our resources.
Make sure that you pay attention to your monthly bank statements so that you can cancel any subscriptions for services that you aren’t using.
Secure a Loan
If you are in need of some money to tide you over, perhaps until you wait for a new job to start, there are a number of sources you can turn to for a quick cash injection. The funding options available to you will depend largely upon your current financial state, as well as your credit history.
Generally, those with worse credit scores will have a harder time securing a loan. However, while loans for bad credit are harder to come by, there are a number of businesses like everyday-loans.co.uk who are dedicated to providing them.
Seek Better Deals on Utilities
Utilities are those things that we need, like water, gas, and electricity, but which also cost us money. The less you can use of these utilities, the lower the costs you will incur, but it is unlikely you will be able to eliminate any of them entirely. Seeking a better deal on your utilities can sometimes save you a significant amount of money.
Check out this guide for connecting a new home to utilities. In an existing property, you can either try to negotiate new deals on your utilities individually, or you can seek to switch to a combined deal. By opting for a combined deal, you will often receive a discount.
Taking control of your family’s finances doesn’t have to involve any dramatic lifestyle changes. In fact, by focusing your efforts on a few key areas, you can save a significant amount of money for a modest effort.