The Family Meeting Remains a Remarkably Easy Way to Avoid Overspending

It’s just about impossible to schedule a family meeting without infringing on at least one family member’s plans. Turning it into a tradition is therefore not particularly easy to do. Even if everyone gathers around for dinner, that’s not the time to talk business (The Godfather, anyone?) Yet, finding a 30 minute block of time once a week for the family to sit down and strictly talk business is a brilliant way to keep track of your budget.

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Let’s face it, you can forget about the family meeting acting as some sort of shrink-session where your teenage son and daughter are going to spill their guts out. Nor can you count on it as a time for everyone to sit and listen to other family members drama. One day, your kids will realize how impatient and impolite they were growing up, but until then count on them not wanting anything to do with anything that smells like “family time”.

Family Meeting: Time to discuss and schedule

Wholesome family bonding comes naturally. So instead, look at a weekly family meeting as your opportunity to exercise some decision analytics on family events past present and future. How? Check these suggestions:

You can always remember to ask your kids about any upcoming costs like the resumption of hockey practice or a class trip.

In the mind of a teenager, a month is forever from now and otherwise they could fail to inform you about hundred-dollar purchases until the last minute. Being aware of such things weeks in advance can prevent fiscal calamity as you shift funds around.
You can write down these upcoming expenses on a shared calendar and encourage your children to do so. This calendar should be in a place where your teenager can see it easily: it could be in the kitchen, in the family room. This way, every time your child remembers an event, he can put it.

You can also whip out the utility bills and break down usage, encouraging family members to find ways to reduce them. Utility bills can take a big chunk of your budget. Discussing with your family on ways to save on these bills can be very helpful.

 

For example, you can encourage your children to reduce their time in the shower by placing a timer. You can recommend shutting down the lights, TV every time they quit a room. These recommendations may seem annoying to your teenagers but you must emphasize that by doing so, you pay less money for these utility and you can afford extra things for them.

Perform an inventory of your groceries and reveal that information to the family, gauging what foodstuff gets eaten, what gets wasted, and what can be gotten instead. If you notice that your children do not eat certain types of food, you can ask them what kind they like. By requesting their opinion, they will feel an important member of the family they will pay attention to the wastage.

Another good idea would be to quantify chores into their payment worth and let the meeting also act as “payday” for allowances. That could be the incentive that keeps everyone coming back.

Be flexible: Don’t set a single time

However, you don’t want to establish a single set time for everyone to meet if it does in fact infringe on a particular family member’s preferred activities or obligations. Instead, rotate the weekly meet around the clock so that everyone sacrifices an equal amount of personal free time every month or so.

Lack of communication among family members can mean the difference between being in the red and being in the black at the end of the month. The simple measure of keeping everybody up-to-date on household spending can curb unintentional abuses of the family budget. This in turn can prevent short-term money woes that can lead to long-term credit damage.

Saving money, preserving your credit, and getting the family together all in one move is a rarity indeed.

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