Priorities Bring Focus to the Family Budget
For many families the household budget can be an intense source of familial conflict. Not everyone always agrees with how the money should be spent or how it should be managed. More often then not the rest of the family reluctantly defers to whoever brings home the most pay when it comes to financial decision making, but many times this can cause resentment towards that person.
Money is an important part of any family’s life and many times family peace and cohesiveness are threatened by the lack of a sound financial plan that has little or no direction. By including everyone in the decision making process and setting a list of priorities and goals that everyone agrees on you can bring peace and harmony to the family money situation.
Here are four steps to bringing peace to your family budget:
1. Set Priorities – Priorities and goals are not necessarily the same thing. These are things in your family’s life that you want to focus on in the long term. This could be anything from purchasing a new home, college savings, or any other long term financial plan. The goals you set in step 2 are specific targets you need to hit in order to bring your priorities to fruition.
Do not set to many priorities. No more than 2 or 3 at the time. Remember these are long term plans that will have a positive impact on your family’s life. As you and your family set your priorities write them down and keep them conspicuous. This will give your entire family the focus they need to meet these plans.
2. List Your Goals- Once your priorities are set you can start listing the goals that will support the priorities. Goals are specific and measurable conditions that are met in such a way that they bring you closer to fulfilling your priorities.
When you set a goal it should be a target that is achievable with a sound financial plan that starts with the family budget. A goal can be paying off a certain debt in a certain amount of time or saving a set sum of money in a year’s time. If you set one to two goals per priority you will find yourself staying focused on the task at hand.
3. Meet Your Goals – Once you have set your priorities and goals it is time to start working towards them. The first step is the implementation of the family budget. This will allow you to track the family money, both income and expenses. It can be as simple as writing it down in a notebook or you can buy personal accounting software that helps you manage your family finances. Which ever method you use it is imperative that you track your family’s money with a budget.
4. Periodic Evaluations – From time to time check to see how you are progressing towards your goals and priorities. This is something the whole family can do together. As you check off goals met it will give you and your family member a certain feeling of satisfaction. As you meet your goals and then your priorities re-evaluate your current situation and set new ones that can be met.
Andrew Bicknell Andrew Bicknell researches and writes on a variety of subjects. To learn more about building a family budget please visit his website Household Budgets by clicking here.