photo by Drew Hays via Unsplash

5 Budgeting Tips For Growing Families

April 9, 2021

in collaboration with Simply Local Magazine

Are you thinking of starting a family or having another baby? Raising children is exciting, but it is important to understand the importance of having a solid financial foundation and practicing good budgeting habits to be able to provide the best childhood for your bundles of joy. 

With the month of April being Financial Literacy Month, now is a great time for you to look into your current budgeting strategies, and perhaps talk to your children about the importance of financial literacy too.

Here are five budget tips to keep in mind as your family grows:

1. Keep Track of Your Spending Habits

Families can spend lots of money each month, and, by the end of the year, it can be hard to see where all the money went. Therefore, you should try your best to hold yourself accountable and be as financially responsible as possible. One way to do this is by creating a monthly budget spreadsheet that keeps track of income and expenses, broken down by category. Your older children can practice writing down what they spend their allowance on too, in order to help them get introduced to balancing a budget. This way, you can all better understand your spending habits and potentially cut down on unnecessary spending that you might not even have been aware of.

2. Practice Sustainability

One great way to save money is to practice sustainability. Not only will you keep more money in your pocket, but being eco-conscious is important for the health of our planet and future generations. Try upcycling, or reusing some of your children's items, such as furniture, baby clothes, and toys, to name a few. This will help prevent you from spending on unnecessary funds, and instead repurpose some items you already have at your disposal. Children grow quickly and it can be expensive to constantly have to buy new sizes of clothing; try getting hand-me-down clothes or thrift shopping to save money. By reusing what you have, you can save a lot of money and cut down on waste.

3. Consider Your Home Needs

One important consideration for growing families is housing needs. It is helpful to have a home that you can grow into. Growing families should consider whether or not their home is large enough to meet their current and future needs. Does your home have enough bedrooms, an office space, and a large enough backyard to support an active lifestyle? Is it located in a family-friendly neighborhood? All of these factors come into play with expanding families, and many families will outgrow their home at some point. Upsizing can be expensive, so it is important to put aside money to cover moving expenses in the future. You can look into talking with a real estate agent, browsing homes that may suit your needs better, and getting preapproved for a mortgage to better help you balance your finances, know your saving goals, and prepare for this future investment.

4. Find Ways to Cut Down On Childcare

Childcare is known to be a major expense for families. Even if you work from home, you will potentially need someone to take care of your children during the day while you focus on your work and to help eliminate distractions. However, it is costly to pay a nanny, and that can quickly eat away at your finances. Therefore, if you can find ways to reduce child care costs, it's all the better for your budget. They say it takes a village and if family members or close friends can help fill some of the gaps, all the better. 

5. Plan and Save For Future Expenses

Another challenge families face is when unexpected expenses come up, such as a need for major purchase or repair or life milestones. Sometimes, families realize there is a need for cash at critical moments, making things more difficult if those funds are not readily available. To prevent yourself from having to borrow money and being faced with debt, it is essential to start planning and saving money long before the need arises. For instance, planning and saving for your children's education well in advance will prepare them for a bright future and reduce stress when the time comes for them to fly the coop. Also, the price for a new car, home repairs, or a future wedding, for example, are all costly. However, finding a small contribution to set aside from your paycheck for such expenses can make all the difference in your family members’ lives and sense of wellbeing. 

Accounting for all of the needs of a growing family can seem overwhelming, however, keeping up on financial literacy, combined with smart and sustainable budgeting tips should help you more effectively keep everything on track for years to come. 

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