3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances

3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances - Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances – Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances - Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances – Chic and Domestic

We all want to be able to stay on top of our family finances, correct? There is no better feeling than being ahead of your finances, and successfully placing your money where it needs to go every month. I get a lot of questions about what to do when you need to get control of your finances, or even if you’re starting at the beginning and looking to tackle your family finances head on. First things first, everything will always be trial and error, and everything will always have room for adjustments. Lucky for you, if you start with these 3 keys to success, you’ll always find success!

Prioritize

This will always be the most important step in mastering your personal finances for your personal situation. No person or family will be the same, but a general key to success is to really plan and decide what is most important to you. Some families will have to focus more on sustainability and simply making sure that their financial input is enough to cover their financial output if they’re dealing with a tighter budget, other families will prioritize things like savings for the future, family outings, travel, or a little bit of everything. As long as you can pin point your family priorities this will set you up to make logical decisions about your money.

Save

Saving is a must! There are no if ands or buts about it. If you want to put your family in good financial standing, be sure to always make it a point to pay yourself first. Even with a smaller income, single income, or being a family that lives paycheck to paycheck, there is always room to save something on payday. I had to learn this over time. I had to personally change my mindset when my family budget was tighter. Just because my bills were being paid, didn’t exempt me from being hit with an unexpected emergency, so really having at least some sort of emergency fund or sinking fund was a necessity.

Find out how we saved our $1000 emergency fund here!

Budget

Learn how to BUDGET. Never be afraid to approach and re-approach your budget. If you want to be able to master your finances for your family, my biggest advice would be to always know your numbers. Budgets are something that will always change, but once you learn how to set up a budget once, going back in to make adjustments will come easy. In order to master your money, learn how to create a budget! Know what numbers you’re bringing in every month, know what your various monthly expenses are, and know your priorities.

Learn tips on how to create your own family budget here!

Be sure you’re following me on Pinterest to check out all sort of great pins on Financial Fitness, Frugal Living, and Domestic Life on a budget.

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7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks

7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks – Chic and Domestic
7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks – Chic and Domestic

Going on a health and fitness journey can be hard enough! Trust me, I’m doing it. Some days are great, some days are better than others, some days are difficult to push through.

Being a busy mom on a budget, I try to find ways to do everything with my wallet in mind. When I decided that it was really time to take my health, and fitness seriously, I went shopping. TOTALLY not necessary, but ehh doing a little bit of budgeted shopping makes me feel like I’m taking things a bit more serious. If I spend money on it, I’m going through with it! No questions asked.

Looking at my health as an investment, there were a few things that I wanted to purchase to better equip myself with what I needed to stay consistent.

1. Utilize the Outdoors
The most budget friendly fitness hack I can give is to utilize the outdoors. Go outside! Get yourself some much needed Vitamin D. It’s summer, sweat it out! Switch up how you do your daily workouts and change your scenery. Use your backyard or outside deck to do a quick 15 or 30 minute workout routine in between daily tasks. Instead of hitting the gym, go visit your local park or nature trail for a walk or run. I actually tried hiking this summer with my husband (the ex-military/aspiring personal trainer, yea that was fun) and it was a great workout for me.

2. Meal Prepping
Healthy eating has been so much easier for me without the need to stand in front of my refrigerator wondering what I’m going to eat. It also saves me from reaching for a snack vs reaching for a well balanced meal or snack. I’ve also been loving meal prepping for my grocery budget because it saves me from having food go to waste. Clean eating means a lot of fresh ingredients, and it sucks when things don’t get used before they go bad. Meal prepping along with my normal family meal planning has been a lifesaver thus far.

Check out some of my favorite meal prep containers here!

3. My Fitness Pal
Along with meal prepping, I’ve been tracking my food, water, and exercise intake with the free My Fitness Pal app. At first I found it to be tedious to keep up with, but after about a week of figuring out how it worked, I feel like it has really helped me to watch what I’m eating, and how much I’m eating.

*Fit Mom Tip: Try out Cronometer, Keto Diet Tracker, or Calorie Counter by FatSecret

4. Fitness Blender
I am in loveee with Fitness Blender. Did I mention that I love it? If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s hard to come up with general workouts, especially when you’re first starting a fitness journey. Sometimes it’s difficult to find workouts for a specific target area, or maybe you’re doing the same workouts and your body needs a change. Fitness Blender has been great for the days that I don’t have a ton of time, or I just need a quick workout routine that I can do in my living room without too much change to my already hectic schedule.

5. Planet Fitness
For the days that I am up for going to the gym, I like having my planet fitness membership on hand. It’s only $10 or $19.99 a month depending on the plan. You also get a few perks with the $19.99 black card membership. I don’t know about you, but that’s worth it to me to have 24 hour gym access. Gym memberships can get costly very quickly, but this has by far been the best gym option for me and my lifestyle.

6. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a cost effective way to strength train in the comfort of your own home. It’s a great piece of workout equipment to have to help tone your entire body, work your muscles, and add variety to your at home workout routine. It’s pretty inexpensive compared to buying a large variety of weights for someone just starting out.

7. Jump Ropes
Jump ropes are another inexpensive piece of workout equipment that makes working out a breeze. They’re light weight and great for cardio. It’s a great replacement for a short run if the weather is working against you that day. #NoDaysOff! Utilize it at home, or even throw it in your bag to take along for an outdoor workout session.

 

If you’re interested in getting healthy and fit, join the 30 Day #FitMomFab Challenge here!

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How to Create a Household Budget

Creating a budget that works for you, Where to start, and What it takes to make it last.

With the start of a new month, it feels like the perfect time for a fresh start with everything. It’s like a breath of fresh air. A clean slate. Maybe last month your finances weren’t quite where you wanted or needed them to be. That’s fine, no problem. That just means it’s time to create a household budget that you can stick to.

Most people think budgets suck! “Eww, what’s a budget?” “Budget? HA. We’re too rich for a budget.” WRONG. No matter how much money you have coming in, if you can’t account for every dollar you’re spending, you probably either aren’t spending it wisely, or you my friend are more than likely spending money that you don’t really have. Instead of viewing budgeting as a negative thing, view it as more as a critical tool to help you reach your financial goals.

Your finances are extremely important, but budgeting can, and more than likely will be a trial and error experience. What works for you may not work for someone else. Everyone’s pennies are different, and everyone’s expenses vary. The only things that will be the same for everyone is that everyone will have expenses. Unless of course, you’re just living off of the land, creating your own textiles, sewing your own clothes, and walking or riding a bike wherever you need to travel. And, everyone will need some sort of income to pay those expenses.
Now is the perfect time, now more than ever, to find what works for you and really start to concur your finances.

What a Budget Does

Budgets give you the tools you need to plan for how you will be spending over a period of time (usually month to month), how you can or will be saving over a period of time, and it can also be used to keep track of your spending patterns so you can start to see exactly where your money goes.

Where to Start

For most people, finances are scary, but it’s vital to keep your financial house in order. At some point, you need to think of your family finances like a business. You need to be detailed, accurate, and as thorough as possible. If you have your last 2 or 3 months of income statements, bank statements, or copies of your bills, start there. Gather this information to review so you can get a better idea of your average income, and expense numbers.

1. Record your average monthly income
Record the average monthly take home pay for your household. This is where being detailed and thorough comes in handy. If you have your last few paystubs or bank statements, this should help to give you an average number of what you’re bringing home per week, biweekly, or monthly. Use this to determine what your total monthly income number is, because this is what you’ll be using for your budgeting since you’re recording expenses on a monthly basis.

2. Create a list of household expenses
Now that you have a clear idea of what money you have coming in, create a list of household expenses. Everything that you can think of. Don’t just include household bills, (mortgage payment, car payments, auto insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment) and then forget to include expenses like your actual household items. Cleaning supplies, sponges, rags; if you change them out monthly, toilet paper, paper towels, all of these things are also considered household expenses, because these are things that you will inevitably need in your home every month.

3. Categorize your list of household expenses
Separate your expenses into two categories: fixed and variable. Your fixed expenses will be the things that stay relatively constant each month. Things that are usually a requirement to your everyday living like, rent or mortgage, car payment, cable/ internet, credit card payments if you have them. You won’t really find these expenses sporadically changing.
Variable expenses are your expenses that may change from month to month. Items like gas, groceries, entertainment, and even your grooming (hair, nails, haircuts) budget. These expenses may or may not be essential to your everyday living, but these are normally the things that are easiest to make changes when in need of cutting back.

4. Total your monthly income and expenses
After totaling both your income and expenses, you should have an end result that shows more income than expenses. This means that you’re bringing in an adequate amount of income to cover your monthly expenses. Pat yourself on the back, that’s great! This means that you can start using your excess money to use for a designated savings of your choice, and or extra splurges and entertainment. If your results show that your expenses are higher than your income, no worries. This just means that you’ll have to do some adjusting to your budget and expenses.

5. Make adjustments to your budget
If you have accurately listed all of your expenses, the end goal should be having your income and expenses either be equal, or have an increase in your income amount. If you happen to have increase in your expense number, you should look at your list of variable expenses first to either decrease costs, or cut them all together. You currently can’t afford it. Since these expenses are typically non-essential, it should be easy to find ways to bring you closer to your income number, whether that be decreasing your grocery budget, finding a cheaper hairstylist, or decreasing how often you’re getting your nails done. Another great thing to look out for when decreasing expenses would be things gym memberships and subscription services.

6. Review your budget (Trial and Error)
Now that you’ve created your budget, here is when the trial and error comes in. It’s important to go back and review your budget, weekly to make sure that you’re staying on track with expenses and saving, but you should also look over your budget again after your first official month using it. Sit down and compare what you planned for expenses, versus what you actually spent. This will help to show you where you did well, and where you might need to make improvements. If there is a large difference between what you expected and the reality, then you might need to increase your budgeted expenses accordingly. If there is a slight difference, that’s still okay. Trial and error. Just work harder throughout the next month to stay within budget. Soon you’ll be budgeting and spending like a pro!

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