Budgeting. Everyone has heard of it, but how many people actually know how to do it? How many women actually make a budget and stick to it with their family? Money has become overwhelming, but do we actually think of our money as cash?
Budgeting and Saving Challenges are Wide-Spread
Paying the bills, saving for college and stashing away the dollars for retirement is not as easy as it used to be. In fact, it is a huge challenge for married families and single parents everywhere to budget and save money. Retirement is no longer the relaxing ‘haven of golden years’ like it was either.
Since times have changed, women are finding themselves on their own much longer than in previous years. Both genders are finding that their wages and the economy contributes less for saving, if any at all. College tuitions are consistently on the rise, the cost of rent and mortgages continues to soar, and women are stuck without the know-how, skills, and tools for achieving their financial goals.
These factors have significantly impacted our culture, resulting in the widespread epidemic of people not only struggling to maintain their present financial needs but are completely ill-prepared for their future financial obligations.
Technology and Cash
In order to get started, recognize that in this day and age we spend our cash earnings differently than our parents did. We never learned how to manage our money through technology because credit and debit cards were not used around the clock way money is spent in today’s world. However, we use technology for nearly all purchases. In other words, physical cards and automated technology have separated people from the actual concept of cash.
Stop the Separation from Cash Cycle
The separation from cash continues to get worse as consumers pay at retailers with their smartphones. If you and your family truly want to learn how to manage money and save for the future, then you must change the way you think about the money you have coming in. Your family will need to stop making random swipes of a card and clicks from the phone to buy unnecessary items. Once you take a good look at the incoming cash you can spend and how it is being used for bills and other purchases, you will be able to get a grasp on the amount of money everyone is spending. Print out all bank statements and credit card statements showing the last three months of purchases. Get all paycheck stubs together and add in any other incoming cash not paid via payroll check.
Start a Family Budget
At this step, your family needs to analyze all purchases in black and white and agree on which purchases will be cut going forward and which ones will remain. Make decisions here everyone can live with every day. For instance, a $3 coffee everyday on the way to work or school should be slashed. Coffee can be brewed at home for huge savings. Family members can pack lunches four days a week out of five versus buying out every day and enjoy a delicious meal out on Fridays. Make a plan for what will be spent going forward for each person in the household after figuring out the amount coming into the house every month and the amount going out for necessary bills. You must close the gap of separation your family has become accustomed to in regards to spending and establish a family budget everyone can get on board with so that bills can be paid while everyone else gets just what they need every month with an occasional reward. If there are reoccurring bills that aren’t a necessity or aren’t being used (monthly gym membership, magazines, etc.) then get them closed to save money monthly.
Manage Money with the App
Get a grip on spending by utilizing your bank or credit union mobile phone app to keep in touch with your money. Numerous credit card companies have fantastic apps for their customers to stay on top of their money and balances. Most institutions have advanced, easy to use interfaces to help you keep track of your money for better financial money management and with some you can digitally communicate with your family about their purchases and the budget for the week.