Frugal Living for the Whole Family

Being single and living a frugal lifestyle isn’t that difficult as you are the only one involved in all the decision-making. However this all changes once you have a partner or if children come along, expanding your family and income requirements. To ensure a more harmonious life and to avoid future rows about money or even worse getting into financial difficulty it is important that every member of the family understands the need to live a frugal lifestyle.. Sorting out the family budget needs to be tackled first by the adults in the family, as they will have to have a united front if the rest of the family are going to be persuaded to follow the new frugal living regime. The first things to discover and sort out are:Whether either of the adults have any outstanding debts or savings. These should both be consolidated.If either of them have credit cards and if so which ones, it is important that the amount of credit cards are kept to a minimum and that the ones that are used are providing the lowest interest rates and best terms.How much each of them spends a week and how they record their spending. A budget needs to be set for personal spending and a single way of recording the family’s finances should be put into place.Once the adults are sure of the finances it is important for the whole family to sit down together to discuss the families future goals and why living a frugal lifestyle will help them to achieve these goals. Some common goals are:Saving for holidaysRetirementBuying a new homeChildren’s futuresReducing any existing debt. These goals should be clearly written out and placed in a prominent place in the home as a permanent reminder to everyone.The last main hurdle in making sure the whole family keeps to a frugal living budget is to make sure they all understand the value of money and sticking to a budget. To do this I believe it is important to treat all children in an honest and adult fashion and instilling in them a sense of responsibility and commitment to the family as a whole.Young children will need to be given a broad understanding of the concept of money; this can be done in a few simple steps:Involve the children in buying decisions for large household items, explaining why the items are so expensive and how valuable they are.Get them to help with making the weekly shopping list and get them to compare one brand with another and the difference in costExplain how you make money and how many hours you have to work to earn certain amount.Give your children a small amount of weekly pocket money in exchange for a small job around the houseProvide the children with a piggy bank and encourage them to save money for items they want to but.Show them alternative places to shop like charity stores and Garage sales.Teenagers will need a slightly different approach as their demands for money for things such as buying music; makeup and clothes can put quite a strain on the family budget if not checked early on. It is important to make them realise that they can have these things but in moderation.Allocate an amount of money that you are prepared and able to spend on your teenagers each week for things like clothes, make up and Cd’s etc and then give the teenager that amount of money in one go every week, making sure they understand that it is up to them to budget this money themselves.Once the whole family understands that by living a frugal lifestyle they will be helping to achieve family goals and they will all benefit at some point, it will be much easier to keep a reign on the budget and to have a much happier family life.

Kate and her partner co-write a site all about living simply and frugally in the modern world. Their second site is a cat friendly site full of cat health and cat care advice.

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