For families who desire to have healthy finances, there’s a couple of basic things that they should do at least once a month.
My family is doing pretty good in the financial department in terms of budgeting, reducing debt and building wealth so I’d like to share some of the regular steps we take to ensure that we continue on the road to healthy finances.
Regular Financial Discussions:
Have a talk at least once a month of not weekly regarding financial goals. The key areas that my husband and I address are our plans for giving, spending, saving and reducing debt. There’s really not much variation in the topics but we meet almost weekly to discuss our goals in each of these categories. We double check our progress to ensure that we are on track and to see if there are any changes we could make.
Depending on where you are financially, this could be stressful. It could even lead to arguments, however there is a way to discuss finances without it turning into a battle of wills. Ignoring your finances to avoid conflict is not going to help you reach your financial goals. If you want to take control of your finances, you are going to have to come to terms with your difference and work together as a team.
Reviewing the Budget:
Either myself or my husband (oftentimes both of us) will sit down each week to review the budget. We look over our expenses sheet for expenses that can be reduced or eliminated. We want to makes sure that we are not spending one cent on anything unnecessary.
We use this time to see if we are 1) paying to lowest possible price for the service rendered and 2) if we still need the service(s) we are paying for. This goes for things such as memberships, subscriptions, insurance, banking, internet and any on non-necessity fees.
Goals and Dreams Assessment:
We have a ‘goals’ section in our budget binder where we store two kinds or information. In one part we write down our dreams. These are the things we’d do right now if money was not an issue. Some of the goals are redoing the entire house in hardwood, sodding the backyard, installing a privacy fence to name a few. Some of other dreams include several vacations.
Along with each goal and dream, we record the cost to obtain them. We use this section as a guide to steer our spending and saving habits. These goals and dreams give us a road map of how do allocate any extra money we earn or receive. During the months when we earn more than we expect, we divert the extra money to start funding the stuff in our goals and dreams section. I think everyone should have one of these. Even if you can’t see past your current debts to dream about vacations, use this section to to write down the debts you want to pay off.
When we first began paying off our debt, the only thing we could dream of was being debt free so that’s what we wrote in this section. We wrote down all of the debts we wanted to pay of except for the house. Now that those debts are gone, we can imagine some of the much needed re-modeling projects. With no debt hanging over our heads aside from our mortgage, we can relax at the thought of saving up for a vacation.
Making More Money:
All of the budgets and financial planning in the world are not going to mean a thing unless you make money. The thing that’s going to super charge your budget is going to lie in your ability to make more money. There are plenty of ways to do this which include taking on a second job, which my husband did for years while we paid off our consumer debt.
During that time I helped by finding way to reduce our expenses and increase our income. I spent my free time at home taking surveys and would make as much as $250 a month. Between my husbands second job and me taking surveys, we were able to pay off all of our consumer debt.
A part-time job doesn’t have to be forever nor is it for everyone, but for those who are determined to get their finances on track an extra $100 or more per month will help you reach your financial goals much faster.