Your family budget does not necessarily have to fit a template – even if you do use a template, you can customize it. A budget that really fits your style and family dynamic tends to be a lot easier to stick with, and can even be fun! Get your whole family to participate in creating the budget to make it really yours. Create common goals and brainstorm for fun and creative budgeting ideas. Here are some tips for making a fully customized and creative family budget.
Eating out can be a large drain on any family’s food budget. The great American cookout is a great way to have an “outing” while saving money. If you grill seasonal garden vegetables, it’s an even bigger money saver. Get creative – you can grill inexpensive, “ordinary” foods and make them seem like a treat. For example, mix up some flat bread dough and cook it on the grill. You can even do pizza on the grill.
Go “Shopping” for What You Don’t Need
This can be fun as a family. When you’re out running errands or at the mall, make a point of pointing out all the useless things you see that you don’t need. Some people can have a lot of fun with this – they find the craziest looking clothes, for instance, and laugh about how much they don’t need them and how much they’re saving. It’s fun, but it also teaches your family some important lessons about needs versus wants.
Creativity through Change
Have you heard of a “swear jar”? Some families who are trying to improve their language will institute one. Any family member who swears has to put a quarter into the jar. Get creative with your family – is there something your family would like to improve on that could use a “swear jar”? Here are some ideas:
- Every time your child talks back he or she has to put a quarter in the jar.
- Family members must pay a quarter each time they don’t put away their shoes, toys, or whatever item always seems to be left on the floor each day.
- Complaining about dinner will cost family members 50 cents each.
- Playing video games, watching television, and other entertainment media “costs” 50 cents for every half an hour.
Another method is to simply never spend change. When you pay cash for something, always use paper money – if the total is $5.26, give the clerk $6. Then put this change into the jar. You’ll be amazed at how this can accumulate over the year, especially if you use cash often.
A tight, yet creative family budget rarely has much room for those little repairs. There are loads of online tutorials to help fix minor problems around the house. Try typing your problem into your search engine and look for videos with detailed, step-by-step instructions. It’s amazing how much information is on the internet, even for solving obscure problems.