In an ever-changing world, economic uncertainty can be stressful for you and your family. When there’s so much outside of your control, here are the things you and your family can focus on to keep your financial future secure.
Cut Costs When You Don’t Need to
It’s painful to cut costs when you’re forced to do so because of financial circumstances. Sticking to a budget when you don’t need to is the best time to make an honest assessment of where you and your family may be spending a little too much.
For example, identify places where you can keep spending low without sacrificing happiness. Borrowing books and movies from the library and cooking at home with the family are cheaper than buying books, going to the movies or eating out. Leftovers make great work and school lunches, and learning to brew cappuccino expertly at home can save you money, too.
Create an Emergency Fund
Did you know that 60% of Americans struggle to cover emergencies that cost between $500 and $1,000 without going into debt? Start growing a fund for emergencies only so your family can be better prepared should the unexpected happen. You’ll also protect yourself from the stress of emergency expenses.
Even putting a small amount into a separate account each month is a good place to start.
Take Control of Your Credit
One of the best ways to keep your family’s finances in order is to reduce or eliminate debt and keep your credit in good standing. Request your credit report and fix anything that’s harming your score, like mistakes or an inconsistent payment history.
If you use credit cards, check your interest rates. If the rates seem high, call the provider to negotiate a lower annual percentage rate (APR). Attempt to pay off your cards each month and once your debt has been paid down, avoid borrowing more.
The less you spend per month on paying off debt, the more you can put toward savings.
Involve the Whole Family
Encourage your kids to start saving money as early as they can. A part-time babysitting gig or after school job can empower them to manage their own money and learn to be smart about spending.
Talk to adults in the family about how you’re dividing responsibilities for existing bills and how you might handle family finances if a tighter budget became necessary.
Keep Current on Maintenance and Repairs
Staying on top of maintenance and repairs for your home and other belongings can prevent major expenses later. Make sure your car is up to date on all servicing needs, like oil changes, tire rotating and balancing or full tune-ups. Keep up with home projects like annual air conditioning and furnace servicing, chimney sweeping or gutter cleaning to help prevent unnecessary issues and expenses.
Be sure to put these tasks on the family calendar and note who’s responsible for each one.
Evaluate Your Family’s Life Insurance Coverage
Saving money is important, but it’s also important to protect your finances and feel confident that your family is taken care of should the unexpected happen. If you or your spouse were to pass away, life insurance can help to replace your income, cover debt repayments and funeral costs.
Take some time to think about how you and your family can navigate the unexpected when it comes to economic uncertainty. With the right strategies and coverage in place, you’ll help keep your finances and your future more secure.