Tips for a Financially Healthy Family
Track spending to know where your money goes. Identify expenses
that can be reduced or eliminated - and take immediate action.
Expect and prepare for emergencies. Aim for six months worth of expenses set aside in a liquid account.
If housing costs are too high, consider downsizing, renting or
home sharing with friends or family members.
Communicate about family finances regularly with your spouse or partner, and any of your children you feel are old enough to be involved.
Do not try to "keep up with the Joneses."
Explore nanny share care, babysitting co-ops, and subsidized daycare.
Childcare is the single largest expense for most working parents,
so investigate all reasonable options.
Explore whether you would be financially better off if one parent were to be a "stay at home" or a "work from home" parent.
Unless you have endless funds, accept that you can't buy everything
you want for your child. This is often harder than it sounds.
Remember that you are the single greatest role model in your child's
financial education. He or she will remember everything, from
arguments about money to how you deal with debt. Teach good habits
Pay for unreimbursed medical expenses and dependant care with
pretax dollars using a flexible savings account. Check with your
employer for availability.
Commit yourself to spending within your means. A line of credit
should never be confused with an emergency fund or extra income.
Remember - you are not being "cheap" for the sake of
saving a few dollars. You are doing it for the well being of your
family over the long term, and will come out ahead by doing so.
Get professional assistance and support. Contact BALANCE for free
financial counseling to help you prioritize your expenses and
understand debt repayment options.