When my husband and I were dating, we didn’t worry about the money we spent going out to dinner, going to concerts, buying each other expensive gifts, making truck payments, etc. However, when we decided to get married and start a family, we knew that this all had to change. It wasn’t exactly easy in the beginning but it turned out to be the best thing we ever did for our new family. We have now been married for almost twelve years and still follow these same financial rule-of-thumbs.
Eliminate Unnecessary Debt
Though you can’t just simply stop paying on your bills, you can stop accruing more debt. Eliminate all credit cards; If you don’t have the money to buy it, don’t buy it. Consider selling the vehicles that have a payment attached and buy one that you can pay for in full or with half the payment. Do not finance furniture or household items, etc., unless it is completely necessary. Don’t let your ‘wants’ get in the way of what is best for your family as a whole.
Create A Budget And Stick With It
This is perhaps the hardest thing for most people to do. They tend to think it is OK to tweak it and cut corners at times. It isn’t. This includes things like your mortgage, cell phone bills, groceries, gas, monthly medications, etc.
Eat Family Meals At Home
You will be amazed at how much money you save by simply eating family meals at home. A steak dinner for two people, including two vegetables and a salad, at a restaurant will cost you around fifty dollars or more. The same meal (depending on your choice of steak) cooked at home will cost you around fifteen dollars. A big savings. This can also be a great family bonding time; everyone sitting around the table discussing their day.
The best thing to be when starting a new family is ‘ready’. It isn’t always easy and takes a lot of effort. There is simply no room for ‘lazy’. The good news is after a while of living by these rules, it will become second nature, a routine that you will naturally do and live by. Perhaps your family is well established; It’s never too late to start implementing these rules. What better time than now?
My Challenge For You
If you can’t successfully complete all of the listed ideas in a six month time frame, at least pick a few and stick with them. I recommend the family meal plan to start with. After three to six months, you will have saved a great deal of money and I bet you and your family will be closer than ever.