You’ve probably heard that getting everyone involved is important to the success of your family budget. But you may be wondering if that’s really necessary, or how to even do it. Here are some important steps for getting everyone on board with your family budget.
Sometimes parents try to hide their financial situation from their kids or even each other. While this may seem like “sparing” the ones you love, in actuality it can cause undue stress on the one family member who does know how bad things are, or how things work financially. It’s true that you don’t want to overburden your kids with responsibilities that aren’t theirs, but including them in a frank discussion of your financial situation can go a long way toward easing your burden and garnering their willing participation.
Meet as a Family
Call a family meeting to discuss finances. If you’ve never done a family meeting before, this is a good place to start. It may not be everyone’s favorite topic, but it’s an important one. Ultimately, your kids and spouse will be glad you included them in the discussion. Another tip on the meeting – try to call it at a time when it doesn’t cut into other plans. This should help reduce resentment.
Explain how your family finances affect everyone in the household. Be clear and specific; citing fees, tuition, allowances, groceries, etc. and how they all cost money. There’s no need to beat everyone over the head with this information, but it gets family members to think a bit about where the money comes from. It’s easy to take things for granted.
If the budget involves cutting back, it’s probably a good idea to cut back in areas that affect the whole family rather than just one member. Otherwise, that one person may resent what seems to be preferential treatment of the others. You don’t want to lose a whole-family approach to the budget.
Set Goals Together
As you work to formulate your budget, work on common goals. What would your youngest child like to see as part of the budget? She might say toys. Your oldest child might point to electronic devices as something to include; your spouse may say a nice vacation. Consider everyone’s wishes and come up with some realistic, common goals. Not everything is doable, of course; but finding creative ways to get everyone’s needs met is what family life is all about.