The government shutdown at the beginning of this year highlighted a number of cracks in our financial lives, including the fact that 8 in 10 American families are living paycheck to paycheck. That means a majority of families whether they are high-income earners or even multiple income households are still living month to month with little or no savings. Yet, the importance of establishing a rainy day fund at the very least is constantly being stressed and for those larger families, the task of saving a little each month to build that emergency fund can seem like simply a dream. This is where being creative and a joint family effort comes in; utilizing the additional resources that come with having a large family. As a bonus, you will be setting a great example and help your kids become educated about money.
Don’t Just Be Aware of the Term ‘Budgeting’
If you are going to overhaul your financial habits to find spare cash to build up your savings, the first thing you need to do is identify areas where that cash is going to come from. You have two options in this case: you can make cuts to your family spending or you can seek ways to earn more income. Budgeting is an extremely useful tool for families, particularly larger ones. In those families with more family members, it can be tough to keep up with all of the expenses that come with each family member. Even raising one child will cost you an average of $21,000 in the first year alone and a total of $233,610 until the age of 18.
However, it is not just about drawing up a family budget and identifying areas to cut back on; the more important part is sticking to it. Almost 60 percent of families don’t track budgets. As a result, many of them end up spending more than they can, building debt and struggling with repayments. This, in turn, can not only affect their savings but also damage their credit trustworthiness and financial standing. For a family budget to be truly successful, everyone needs to get involved. Begin with making the process an inclusive one, including your partner and any other suitable family member. Make frequent check-ins the norm, with the help of mobile financial and budgeting apps for all members that warrant it. Setting spending limits and segregating income by categories can also help to stick to your preset goals.
Look At What Your Family’s Diet Is Costing You
Estimates from the Bureau of Statistics says that American households spend around $7,700 each year on groceries and dining out. However, much of these figures are based on a family of 4. For larger families such as a 6 member family, food costs can easily come in at just under $1,000 per month. Given that our food costs are one of the largest spends in our monthly budget, it makes sense that it is one of the first places you look when trying to redirect money into savings.
The typically hectic lifestyle of large families can mean they are often looking for ease and convenience; the typical recipe for takeouts and overpriced shortcuts in the supermarket. Start with getting your family involved in meal planning and batch cooking when you do make meals. Go for meals that can be repurposed so you can get more than one meal from it while avoiding that monotonous feeling. When shopping, skip the brand and focus more on the ingredients. Often, you end up paying twice as much for the same thing with better branding.
Downsize Your Home, Your Life, & Your Possessions
While it may seem daunting to downsize with a large family, it is definitely not impossible and can, in fact, help you foster a closer familial bond. You can make larger changes like opting for a smaller home and creating sharing quarters for your children. Many families also convert spaces such as their attics or even garages into bedrooms to find much-needed space, without the larger mortgage price tag. Alternatively, you can adopt a minimalist lifestyle and have a declutter of your family home. These items can then be resold at a garage sale and added to your savings. Finally, think about your transport options. Skip the car financing and go for second-hand cars instead or downsize to just one family car altogether. If you have good transport links and are situated close to schools, this move can save you money each month.
Life with a large family can mean you do things a bit different; and sometimes, do things on a larger scale. There’s more laundry, more dishes to wash, more love to go around and of course, more costs to go with it all. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to hear that larger families are looking to carve out some savings but questioning how they can get it done with increased financial responsibilities. The truth is that it takes a team effort and a few original strategies, but it is certainly not impossible.
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