Steps You Can Take TODAY to Improve Your Family Finances

If you’ve been reading our blog posts, you know that we are pretty real, and we are really trying to live more intentionally. Over the past several months, we have blogged about every one of the 8 areas of health and wellness- except finances. Not my favorite topic lol.  Honestly, it’s another area that we are currently working on, and we will not claim to have this one all figured out. When we consider our budget and spending habits, we realize there are some things that we do well, and some things we need to improve upon. I’m sure you can relate. We want to share the steps we are focusing on to improve our family finances-that you can implement TODAY!
10 Steps to Improve Family Finances….

1.     First, determine if something is a need or a want.
Doesn’t that seem like a no-brainer? Sometimes we don’t want to admit it though. We love our Starbucks and the ease of ordering from Amazon. However, things add up quickly, don’t they? Does it mean that you should never purchase a want? No, but you need to consider whether you have the money.
Now the uncomfortable topic of credit cards. Some people purchase their wants with credit. That can be a slippery slope. You really need to consider purchasing things that you pay off by the end of the month. Or, really think through whether you want to make that big purchase that you need to take months or YEARS to pay off.
2.     Buy used.
I get it. The feel of new clothes. The new car smell. However, you can save a great deal of money buying used! I’m a big believer in hand me downs, garage sales, perusing FB yard sale sites, craigslist, and thrift stores. You can find anything: clothing, furniture, home décor, and vehicles.  Especially kids’ clothing! You know they only wear clothing for a short time. Why spend full price? It really doesn’t make any sense. I shopped a WONDERFUL garage sale a couple of months ago, and bought the cutest, practically, new Banana Republic top for $4. I don’t know about you, but I get a high from that! The money saving HIGH! 
Think buying used is “beneath you”? Consider a change in that mindset! I know people who are very well off, who thrift shop. Why would they thrift? They have learned to manage and prioritize their finances. They have determined how they would rather spend their money. I don’t know about you, but I try to pay attention to the habits of successful people!
3.     Purge and sell.
Go through your clothing and children’s toys every 3-6 months. Share with family and friends, but also consider selling online! For other household items, consider this guideline: if you haven’t used something in over a year, consider donating or selling it.
4.     Watch that electric bill.Many of us are at the mercy of PG&E-grrrr lol. Especially since they changed their tier system. Adjust your thermostat, so that it isn’t always running, especially when people aren’t home. Winter is coming. Dress warmer at night, use more blankets, etc. instead of cranking up the heat!
5.     Eat out less.

 I LOOOOVE eating out. How nice it is to have the luxury of picking what you want, to have someone else preparing your meal, and to bypass cleaning up. However, at one time, we were eating out a lot. We have really tried to limit it to one time a week. Not only do you save money by eating out less, but it is a healthier option. The Instant Pot has really made meal prep easy and convenient! If you missed that bog post, check it out here. The Instant Pot: Is It All That It Is Hyped Up to Be? .Also, pack a lunch! Five-dollar lunches add up quickly over a month’s time, a year’s time!
6.     Bargain grocery shop!
Price compare! Use coupons! Buy in bulk if you have a larger family (Costco)! Our true confessions: Safeway is just down the road from us, but their prices are considerably more than Winco’s prices on most items. For the past couple of years, we have shopped primarily at Safeway due to the convenience. We have decided to change that.
7.     Start teaching your children the value of the dollar-early on!

      Your teenager tells you after school that his best friend just got the latest I-phone from his parents! You try to explain to them that you can’t afford that purchase. You detect some resentment. It’s not an easy or comfortable thing to explain. However, maybe you could have approached it differently. Instead of focusing on not being able to afford the I-phone, explain that it’s a bummer that the parent purchased such an expensive item for their teen.  Discuss how that teen is missing out on what it feels like to work hard for something, and to be able to purchase something on their own. 

      Am I saying never purchase your child something special? Heck, no! However, if a child is used to always having the best handed to them on a silver platter, imagine the rude awakening they are going to have as a young adult. They will always believe they are entitled. That can lead to all kinds of conflict with their parents. It can cause them to buy extravagantly on credit, and it can even cause them to choose a marriage partner based mostly on the lifestyle this person can provide them. As we know, everything is subject to change- at any point, and finances can be volatile. Financial issues are the leading cause of divorces in America.

8.     Save money as you can!
Review your budget, and determine how much you will save each month. Have a little bit more money come in than usual? Put away a little more in savings!
9.     Consider a home-based business.

      As you know, we have joined an amazing new company because the products have truly improved our health/quality of life. There are some amazing direct selling companies out there that have very low startup costs, and amazing comp plans. Here is a link with the best rated direct selling companies http://www.jasonleehq.com/best-network-marketing-companies-2017/. By the way, our company is rated VERY highly on that list!  Plus, if you are someone who recommends ANYTHING to friends and family (restaurants, movies, products, etc.), direct selling is for you! You are a natural! How nice to receive a bit extra per month! What you put into it, you will get out! If you want to hear more about our business, never hesitate to ask us!

10.   Be honest about your current financial situation and be open to change.
So much of life depends upon our mindset-including our financial situation. It requires us to be real with ourselves, our spouses, and even our children (depending upon age/maturity, of course). Sometimes it requires us to have difficult conversations. When we have them, we can work together for resolution.
Once you determine the changes you need to make, every family member needs to commit to implementing them. Is it always easy? No. Focus on the rewards reaped long-term. We live in an instant gratification society. We need to re-train ourselves to wait for rewards. What an excellent example for our children, no matter their age, to witness us being responsible stewards of what we have been given!
As you can see, there are many steps you can take NOW to improve your family’s finances. Did I miss one? Feel like commenting on one that I addressed? We love your feedback as we continue to address other “renovation” topics!

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