Five tips for families on a budget – by Patrick Canion

Over the years, I have heard plenty of tips – and tried twice as many again. The best ones are those that reflect how families interact and how we behave with money. These are staggeringly simple, but incredibly effective – I know because I still use them all!

  • Actually, HAVE a Budget: ok, I know this one seems strange – but most families don’t even know where their money goes? It’s not easy when money is so virtual. But a budget – ANY budget – is a step in the right direction. To stop the money slipping through your fingers, try taking out in physical cash your pay. Sit the family down at the table and then split it up into all things you need. Make money real.
  • Choose your money roles: whether you are a single or double income household, have an honest conversation with your partner about who does what with money. Successful money management means clarity about who does what.
  • Budget for Family Holidays: You have to budget for family time as well as for food and electricity. The tough part about holidays as a family is that everyone else wants to go to the same time as you do. So, by planning ahead you can get the places you want at a price you can afford.
  • Make your own lunches: Yes, really. If it is good enough for billionaires Sam Walton and Warren Buffett, it’s good enough for you too. Whip our a couple of extra pieces of bread when you are making the kids lunches and do yourself a favour. Not only will you save a lot of money and time, you’ll probably eat healthier too.
  • Never do grocery shopping without a list: Supermarkets are living psychology laboratories, designed to get you to buy more of what you don’t need. Making a list first means if it isn’t on your list, you don’t need it and it isn’t in your trolley. When you do have a list, you focus on the paper in your hand, and your eyes – and your stomach – don’t get tempted to stray into temptation.

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