Money problems is the number one factor leading to divorce in the United States, so finding ways to handle the family finances together, and to do so successfully and with as little stress as possible, is very important.
Tips for organizing family finances
One of the most important methods to organize family finances is to work out a monthly budget for the household. This budget should include the rent or mortgage payment, all utilities and any other living expenses that are regularly incurred during the course of an average month. It is also advisable to add a little extra to the total to allow for possible emergencies.
Household bills should be paid as quickly as possible after receipt and preferably should be settled on a weekly basis. Online bill paying is a stress-relieving option, saving both time and paperwork, as well as ensuring that the payments are processed and registered quickly.
The family should set agreed financial rules for the household, such as only using credit cards in an emergency situation. Agreeing to them jointly ensures that everyone understands them and is able to adhere to them; it also makes sticking to them easier for the entire family.
Saving money should be a priority every month. As soon as money comes in, a portion should be taken off the top and saved, ideally 10 percent of income. Taking 10 percent and putting it aside for the future helps the entire family’s stress level to go down as, over a period of months, they steadily build financial security.
One of the greatest stresses to families or anyone for that matter is trying to live within their means. This is particularly difficult for households with two incomes, since the temptation to live off both paychecks is so great. Living within the limits of a single income, even if a supplemental or second income is available, will ensure that extra funds are always available, whether for emergencies, extra charitable giving or to be added to the family savings.
For many families, utilizing the expertise and assistance of financial experts and programs may be necessary to keep family finances organized and stable. Just as small businesses may employ the services of umbrella companies in order to manage aspects of accounting procedures that they cannot, families may choose to seek the services of accountants and brokers to assist them in understanding and handling their household financial issues. For example, a family may seek the guidance of an accountant or broker to help them plan for their children’s future education or to create nest-egg accounts for them.
Using any of a variety of financial management software programs may also significantly reduce the stress of handling basic household financial management. These programs make calculations based on the information entered into their databases, providing a current and accurate total of incoming and outgoing money. They are designed to log receipts and paycheck stubs, as well as calculate tax payments and store reminders for weekly, monthly and yearly bills and tax payments, as they become due.