It’s not just you anymore. Heck, it’s not just you and your partner, either. There are four family members, and all of you need certain things to get by. As one of the grown-ups, it’s up to you to figure out how you can afford it all.
Fortunately, there’s the magical skill known as budgeting, which can ensure that you spend where you need to and get everything you need. That’s a pretty vague way of saying that you should use a budget, so here are some real advantages to crunching some numbers — and sticking to them:
1. You’ll Feel Like You’re In Control
Simply put, knowing where you’re spending money puts you back in control of your finances. I often harp on about the advantages of a budget, and for a good reason — it works.
Writing down what you’re spending will show you where you can stand to cut back. For example, that morning cup of coffee from your favorite shop can cost you hundreds of dollars each month, thousands every year. Chances are, as a family of four, you could use that cash elsewhere.
So, knowing where you’re funneling your income can put you back in the driver’s seat. Rather than looking at your bank account at the end of the month and wondering where it all went, you’ll know where you will put your money ahead of time. I promise it’s incredibly empowering.
2. You Can Better Handle Big Expenses
I’ve touched on expensive coffee habits, but your budget can uncover a slew of places where you’re overspending — everything from groceries to clothes to gas to entertainment could be foiling your financial standing. Once you have a handle on your budget, though, you can better prepare for significant expenses that’ll come down the line. And, as a parent of two children, you will need such a plan — trust me.
Perhaps most notably, you might have to send your children to daycare or hire a nanny soon. When we’re talking about expenses, this might be the biggest one your young family can face. Figuring out where you can shave excess from one corner of your budget and funnel it into another will be vital to cover the costs. Finding out you can’t afford it just yet will help you in that you can plan and try other methods to get your kids the care they need.
3. You’ll Avoid Arguments
Even if your spouse is the bona fide love of your life, disagreements will always arise between you. A survey from Money found that a whopping 70 percent of couples argue about money. Yes, money causes more problems than chores, preparing dinner, snoring… you name it, it’s probably less of a firestarter than finances.
So, building a budget upon which you and your partner agree can be the key to avoiding such blow-ups. You both have a lot on your plates as parents and perhaps as professionals, too. Making it easy and stress-free to spend money is, therefore, one of the best advantages to budgeting.
4. You’ll Start Saving
Like I’ve said a few times before, delineating a budget can be an eye-opening process. When you realize where you’re overspending, you can start to put that money elsewhere. Sometimes, you might have more money to play with than what you expected to find. Then what?
I can’t suggest saving enough for you and your family of four. For one thing, a savings account filled with liquid assets comes in handy in case of an emergency, lost a job, health crisis or another extenuating circumstance. Once you’ve built that safety net, then you can look to invest and grow your cash for retirement or your child’s education costs down the line. Thanks to budgeting, you can build for the future, too.
Alternatively, a healthy amount of savings can help you cut down on debts, too. Whether you have student loans, an outstanding mortgage or credit card debts, it’s worth budgeting to help pay them off ASAP.
I find that the saving bug bites hard. As such, you might want to start streamlining your budget in more ways than one. You can easily do so by meal planning in advance, scoping out budget-friendly family vacations and using cash so that you don’t overspend. Soon, you’ll have a big, beautiful bank account that’s ready for whatever life throws at you.
5. You’ll Be Happier
I’ve already touched on this with the you-won’t-fight-with-your-spouse tip. Budgeting makes you a happier person overall. Gone are the days of stressing about the lack of cash in your bank account when you know what you have to spend and where you’re putting it each month.
As a parent, there’s nothing better than removing this stress from your shoulders. There’s enough to worry about when you have little ones running around, and the crazy world we live in gives us anxiety-inducing headlines for days. So, do your best to make yourself as happy and stress-free as you can when it comes to family. When it comes to the advantages of a budget, there’s nothing better than that.
Why do you budget? What are your best tips? Let me know in the comments section below!