You’ve probably heard that getting everyone involved is important to the success of your family budget. But you may be wondering if that’s really necessary, or how to even do it. Here are some ideas and tips for getting everyone onboard with the family budget.
The hardest thing about getting everyone onboard with the family budget is that today’s society is a “we want it now” kind of mentality. Some family members, especially kids, are not aware of what it takes to maintain a house, cable & grocery costs, things required for the running of an everyday household.
The earlier you can instill these values in your family, the better able they can do the family budget when they are the ones supporting their own family.
Getting Everyone Onboard With The Family Budget:
Sometimes parents try to hide their financial situation from their kids and/or each other. While this may seem like “sparing” the ones you love, in actuality it can cause undue stress on the one family member who does know how bad things are, or how things work financially.
It’s true that you don’t want to overburden your kids with responsibilities that aren’t theirs, but including them in a frank discussion of your financial situation can go a long way toward easing your burden and garnering their willing participation.
By being open with them, you are creating a way for them to talk about financial matters. This will especially be important when you start teaching them about budgeting when they are a college student. By giving your children realistic expectations, it may be easier for them to understand why they can’t go to that expensive college.
The Family Meeting
Call a family meeting to discuss finances. If you’ve never done a family meeting before, this is a good place to start. It may not be everyone’s favorite topic, but it’s an important one.
Ultimately, your kids and spouse will be glad you included them in the discussion. Another tip on the meeting – try to call it at a time when it doesn’t cut into other plans. This should help reduce resentment.
Explain how your family finances affect everyone in the household. Be clear and specific, citing fees, tuition, allowances, groceries, etc. and how they all cost money. There’s no need to beat everyone over the head with this information, so to speak; but it gets family members to think a bit about where the money comes from. It’s easy to take things for granted.
If the budget involves cutting back, it’s probably a good idea to cut back in areas that affect the whole family rather than just one member. Otherwise, that one person may resent what seems to be preferential treatment of the others, and you’ve lost your whole-family approach to the budget.
One of the things we have done with our budget is cut back on all the extra channels on our cable. Yes, they were nice, but they weren’t worth the price we were paying. The money we saved from those extras can go towards something else.
And yes, initially there was some grumbling(from the adults too!), but now, you hardly even realize they aren’t there.
As you work to formulate your budget, work on common goals. What would your youngest child like to see as part of the budget? She might say toys. Your oldest child might point to electronic devices as something to include; your spouse may say a nice vacation.
Consider everyone’s wishes and come up with some realistic, common goals. Not everything is doable, of course; but finding creative ways to get everyone’s needs met is what family life is all about. As a treat for saving now, you may even be able to afford a trip to Disney World!
So I hope these ideas for getting everyone onboard the with the family budget are helpful. Take what works for your family, adapt what doesn’t, and in no time flat you will have a workable budget plan the entire family agrees on.