Do you need help managing your finances so that your family can realize more of their needs and wants? Family members of all ages must learn to communicate and understand what their financial situation is. Open discussions among family members often results in greater cooperation when deciding what the best things upon which to spend. Family members need to understand the difference between a need and a want. Then an open discussion can set priorities for the money available.
Your family may decide to reduce spending so that more needs and wants of each family member can be made. Here are a few suggestions:
- Categorize your expenses in two categories: wants and needs. Make everyone aware of the difference and how important it is to consider each purchase through this categorization. Needs include housing, basic utilities, childcare, etc. Wants could include going out to eat, high fashion, newest electronics, etc. Everyone has to understand that a want purchase can be spaced over time.
- Do not let your impulse determine purchases. Postpone unplanned purchases at least 24 hours so you can rethink your plan.
- Before purchasing an item, ask yourself, “Why?” Many people are now wearing a plastic bracelet that reads “Do I really need this?” It helps them make decisions based on wants and needs.
- Save on food by planning meals with abundant seasonal items and based on supermarket specials. Check the store ads and utilize coupons to buy what is on your list but don’t let the coupon result in your buying items you would not buy without a coupon. Make a list before going to the supermarket and then work your list.
- If you have debts, accelerate repayment. There is little reason to retain savings that earn 3% interest while you still owe installment debts and loans that carry true interest rates of 12%-22%. Yes, everyone needs an emergency fund but after it is secured, repay your loans.
Want additional suggestions on how to cut expenses and save money? Go to www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu and request the bulletin FCS7009.