Family budgeting in times of financial stress

It's been tough, we know! Many South Africans have found themselves in difficult situations as a result of Covid-19 and the Lockdown. This pandemic has left many families stressed about money – which can cause feelings of frustration and anger, taking its toll on the peace and harmony in family homes. If we can work together as families, we will be in a better mental and emotional state to cope with the financial stress. In this blog, we would like to share a few simple tips that can help you to budget in times of financial stress and deal with money issues as a family.

  1. Involve everyone in budgeting
    It's easy to feel overwhelmed by financial matters, especially when it feels like you’re doing it all by yourself. Including everyone in drawing up a budget not only takes some of the pressure off you, it also makes everyone more mindful of their spending habits. Set a day and time, gather everyone around the table, grab a pen and paper, and take stock of your current spending. Discuss the best ways to cut costs. This will enable you to draw up a budget that is informed and realistic, and that everyone understands and can stick to.
  1. Talk about needs and wants
    If your kids are constantly asking for one thing or another, this is the perfect time to have an open conversation with them about wants and needs. Discuss which things are important for your family to survive each month, and which items make life a little more pleasurable for everyone, but aren't essentials. While it's important to prioritise the needs, spoiling yourself and your family with some nice non-essentials, where you can afford it, can lift the mood in the house and promote peace and harmony.
  1. Find ways to cut costs in the house
    Is your geyser on the whole day? Do you bath instead of taking a shower? How do you water your plants in the garden? Brainstorm a few ideas that will help with cost-cutting. A small change like showering instead of taking a bath, or turning off your geyser, can make a significant impact on how much you pay for water and electricity at the end of each month. When your kids see the impact of these changes in monetary value, it might motivate them to find other ways of cutting costs in the house. This money could be used to save towards a family goal or a treat at the end of the Lockdown period.

 

  1. Track your spending
    When faced with financial stress, tracking your spending needs to be something you do diligently. With your family, take the time to review your budget against what you have spent. Not only is this a great way to teach financial literacy, it's a great way to have everyone take accountability for the family finances.
  1. Find resources in your area
    When times are tough, it helps to know that you aren't going through this alone. If you're having trouble making ends meet, despite careful budgeting, find resources in your area where you can turn to for help. For more information, click here to view some of the initiatives provided by the South African government to those who are vulnerable and in need during this time.

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