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Walking the Line: How to Keep Your Family Finances Tight This Year

As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to finances, it’s very difficult to heed that advice as there are numerous temptations you and your family face. Many people find it difficult to draw a line between living comfortably and living beyond their means. If you find that you fit this category of financially challenged consumers, then perhaps it’s time to make a change. Here are some tips on how to keep your family finances tight this year.

Credit Carefully

Use one credit card to be reserved for emergencies only. Though they seem like a lifesaver at the time of use, many people just don’t know how to use them responsibly. Credit card debt can add up fast; five dollars here and five dollars there and before you know it, you’re in a bind. The more you spend, the higher the interest rate will be. Don’t let those high annual percentage rates and other fees come back to haunt you when it is credit card processing time at the end of the month. You can process credit cards at your bank or company to make sure you’re not going over the limit. You might also consider using a Check 21 Processing instead of an ATM debit card network so you get faster deposits and verification.

Try Couponing
Clip and organize coupons for food purchases. When you receive a coupon in the mail or find it in the newspaper, place it inside a special envelope and put the envelope in your car so it will always be available when you’re out and about. Make it a goal to eat out only once a week. When you do eat out, order something off of the value menu; you can feed your entire family for less than 15 dollars with this system.

Corral the Kids
Teach your children about the value of a dollar. If they are teenagers who drive, encourage them to walk or ride their bike instead of using gas. For pre-adolescents, encourage them to do chores such as mowing the lawn and cleaning the house before paying them an allowance. This will save you the time and effort or the hassle of paying someone else to do it. Also, reward your children in other ways instead of money such as taking them to the zoo when it’s free on some holidays such as MLK day, or just doing something fun at the park.

Most importantly, always make sure that you are making more than you spend so that you always have some money put away for emergency purposes. Being stringent with the credit card, using coupons, and teaching your children to be smart with money will put you and your family ahead of the rest.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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