Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Family Economy: Managing Your Budget for a Better Future

Raising a family can be both a challenging and a rewarding endeavor. As a parent, it is important that you have enough money on hand to provide food, clothing and shelter. You also need to consider the health care needs of your children as well as having a little left over for entertainment. No one is a natural-born accountant, and managing family finances can stretch one’s abilities. How can you manage your budget to ensure financial security now and in years to come?

Prioritize Your Spending

The first step to creating a quality budget is to prioritize your spending. Your needs should come first, which means you want to save the majority of your income for food, shelter and other necessities. Next, you want to create an emergency fund that can help cover your necessary expenses if you lose your job or encounter an unexpected expense. If there is anything left over, you can put that toward a vacation or other discretionary spending.

You Don’t Need the Newest of Everything

An easy way to save money is to buy used or wait until the next generation of a given product comes out. For example, if you have your eye on a smartphone that has all the features that you want and need, wait two or three months until the next model comes out. You can then buy that same phone that has everything you need for a fraction of the cost. This same concept can be used to save on your next vehicle, next pair of shoes or anything else that you want but don’t necessarily need right away. If you truly appreciate the value of a dollar, you may want to purse an online master’s in economics or other related field that suits your personality.  If you have the skill and interest, such a degree is a great idea.

Never Stop Saving

Your savings goal shouldn’t be a fixed number. Instead, you should aim to save a consistent amount each time you get paid or whenever you have extra money to put away. Saving even $50 a week or month can turn into hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of several years of decades. While you may not get rich quick, it can help you save enough for emergencies or help you retire comfortably at some point.

Whether you are just starting out or are looking to overcome previous money mistakes, it is never a bad idea to learn how to budget. Creating a realistic budget now can help you save more of your money and provide your family with as comfortable a lifestyle as possible.

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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