Even the most close-knit household is bound to experience some arguments, issues, and frustrations from time to time. That’s just what happens when you have several human beings living in close proximity of one another, for a prolonged period of time.
Of course, out of all the issues that can cause dissent and turmoil in a household, financial matters are routinely some of the most dramatic and troublesome.
Here are a few tips for reducing financial stress in your home.
Make a point of always trying to prepare for things in advance
The old Scout motto, “always be prepared,” is excellent life advice in general – and it’s definitely excellent financial planning advice, too.
The most serious financial disputes and arguments that are likely to arise will often be the result of failure to properly prepare for events when they were still easily manageable.
Interestingly enough, while we will generally take the idea of “preparation” quite far with regards to things like our wills, we often don’t properly budget for various likely contingencies or begin saving or working to address a particular issue, until it’s the 11th hour, and things are bound to go quite badly.
Take the idea of preparing in advance to heart, and apply it to every dimension of the household. Plan your grocery shopping well in advance, and do a big regular shopping trip, as opposed to just picking up odds and ends day after day, when you remind yourself that you’ve run short.
Not only does it help to reduce tension and turmoil, in general, but it’s also certainly a good way of ensuring that your finances stay healthy.
Reduce your general household consumption and move in the direction of “minimalism”
Alright, so the idea of a “minimalist” household doesn’t necessarily sound very appealing – least of all for a family with children (who aren’t going to be too pleased with the idea of having virtually no toys or gadgets).
Rest easy, though. Although minimalism has been taken to dramatic extents by some of its most vocal public advocates, the basic principle of trying to reduce your general household consumption and move in the direction of “fewer things that last longer and work better,” doesn’t actually require you to live like a hermit.
We live in an age of planned obsolescence, where it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of wasteful spending. The more you can rein things back in a bit, with regard to your belongings and expenses, the healthier your account balance is going to be, and the more harmonious your household is likely to be, too.
Adopt a budgeting system that lets you “adjust on the fly”
Budgeting is often very stressful for people, because it frequently involves working out a plan for the upcoming months with pinpoint precision, only for something to throw the entire plan off track, and make all that work feel meaningless.
The key is to instead have a budgeting system that lets you “adjust on the fly,” easily and effectively.
“Envelope” model budgeting tools such as Actual, are excellent for this. Life is always a bit messy – but if you give up on financial planning every time you spend more or less than you thought you would in a certain category, things are going to get pretty stressful.