I’ve been thinking about ‘family fun’ recently, and asking myself, how can I write about this topic in the context of finances. We don’t really need money to have fun do we? But how often do we worry about money? And is worrying taking the fun out of the family?
I imagine for some of us, we may worry about money quite often. And, of course this can, to some degree, dampen our family fun moments if we’re constantly worrying about our finances.
Ronald Regan once said, “money can’t buy happiness but it will certainly get you a better class of memories”. It’s on that note I decided, although money doesn’t stop us from having fun family times, it’s best we manage it well enough so that we’re less likely to worry about it.
Reduce your stress by managing your money
So how do we do this? There are a number of steps we can take that will ease the anxiety of stressing about your money issues (Angela Brandt, Money Talks News sums it up well):
- Know what you have and what you owe. Make a note of your income and assets. What debts do you have? There’s no point burying your head in the sand if you have lots of debt. By understanding your debt better, you can manage it better. Note down the debts you have as well as what interest rates you are being charged.
- Keep abreast of what you earn and spend. Do you know how much you spend compared to your income? Do you overspend or live within your means? Check out “Heaps!” a free online money management tool – it can help you track your spending and manage your budget.
- Set attainable, positive goals. Everyone loves to have things to look forward to and indeed you can factor some family fun into your goals. Before you set your goals, think carefully about what you value and what is important to you and your family. By brainstorming what you want from life and what makes you happy you may find you will also identify areas that you don’t care about and possibly areas that you are wasting your time and money on needlessly. Stay positive, focus on what is working well and build up from there. Staying positive will help you reduce any anxiety as you work towards your goals.
- Get online and use apps. Help reduce any stress by getting rid of the piles of paper and utilise the online tools available to you. For example, opt to receive your bills by email and file electronically, set up direct debits to pay your bills, or use internet banking. If you don’t need to keep something, get rid of it, otherwise, file it away. Also get online from time to time and compare mortgage interest rates and rates on savings accounts and see how they stack up against what you are paying.
- Answer your questions. If you have questions, do some research or contact your adviser who can help you.
Ultimately, the ability to command your resources will allow you to satisfy your and your family’s basic needs and pursue other goals that bring your family closer to wellbeing.
By having a clearer picture of your income and expenses, it may highlight to you what’s causing your money worries. Identify areas where you can reduce your spending and manage your money more effectively. We highly recommend you try out the Pocketsmith software for this purpose.
A great do-it-yourself option is to use the awesome Pocketsmith App. Developed by a bunch of clever Kiwis, Pocketsmith is one of the best family budgeting apps on the planet.
- Download bank feeds into the app to start tracking your spending.
- Compare your earning and spending trends over time to see where you may be overspending, and how to get back on track.
- Set up family budgeting and saving goals, to pay off debt faster, and start saving quicker.