Three Important Things to Include in Your Family Budget
When it comes to money management, you’ve either naturally got it, or you haven’t, but if you have a family, you have no choice but to learn how to budget and manage your money. The obvious things to account for when budgeting include rent or mortgage payments, utility and other bills, car payments and fuel, food shopping allocations and, where possible, savings payments.
Don’t panic though, you’re not alone. HSBC carried out a Budgeting & Savings Survey which showed that 36% of those surveyed in the UK do not follow a budget. They recommend following the 50/30/20 rule, which admittedly, we haven’t heard of along with 34% of people who took part in the survey. You can see the full findings of that survey here and below.
This will ensure everything you need to pay for is covered, and everyone is fed and happy, but this isn’t the be-all and end-all of the budgeting. Whilst it’s important to save money, not every single last penny needs to go into savings. Here are three important things you should include in your family budget after the basics listed above.
1. Days Out
Family bonding is crucial, and going on days out is a great way to spend quality time together and encounter new experiences as a family unit. Days out can be free, or they can be paid for. Both are great, but it’s a good idea to budget for at least one family fun day out somewhere new each month. It could be a trip to the beach, a day out at the zoo, overnight camping stay, a visit to the aquarium or a day at a theme park. Whatever it is, try and weave it into your budget. When you have both adults and children going on a day out, costs can quickly mount, which is why unless it’s factored into your money management plan, you might struggle to afford it.
There are ways you save money on said trips; keep an eye out for vouchers and coupons online and on things like food packaging. In addition, consider packing your own picnic rather than buying lunch out each time.
2. Date Nights
When you have children, your life revolves around them and creating a magical childhood for them – often at the detriment of your own experiences with your partner. It’s important to remember that you exist outside of your children and that it’s okay to have quality time with your partner without your children. Before all of your budgets get consumed by family-centred fixtures, try and reserve some for at least one date night or date day a month.
This might be a simple dinner out, or it could be a humble night together with a boxset and a takeaway. Whatever your date style is, make sure you make time for it. It will strengthen your bond with your partner and give you some time as just the two of you to rekindle your romance and keep the flame alive.
3. Good Deeds
Every parent wants to set a good example for their children, but amidst the chaos of family life, it can be hard to find the time to demonstrate altruistic acts regularly. Religious families and cultural influences are likely to be the main show of good deeds for most children, donating to the food bank during harvest time or paying Fitrana during Ramadan. That being said, neither of these apply to every child, nor are they applicable throughout the year, either.
Rather than wait to donate at a specific time of the year, try and weave an allocation for good deeds into your budget. It might be saving an extra £10 to pay it forward at the coffee shop, or it might be visiting a local animal shelter to donate a monthly haul of toys, food and treats. Incorporating a good deed allowance into your family budget will promote altruism amongst your children and help someone else in need.
Will you be trying to add any of these into your family budget moving forwards?