Have you noticed how everything seems to have gotten bigger and bigger? Our houses, our vehicles, even our soft drinks. Have you noticed your debt load growing in proportion to your great room? Maybe, it’s time to downsize. And, while you might think that’s a hard thing to do, just a few small changes in your family’s life style can reduce that budget bulge, and get your debt down to a size you can afford.
First, get your whole family involved. Budgeting only works when everyone who uses the budget plays a role in figuring out what the spending priorities should be. Now, of course, heads of household have to pay the rent and other bills first, but where other cut backs could be made can be decisions that even the youngest in your family can likely help make. And by bringing everyone onboard, you’re more likely to get the support you need when you’re facing hard decisions like giving up going out to the movies for at-home DVDs, or heading to the park instead of to the mall.
Next, clean your house. Literally. It’s a great way to get everyone involved in turning over a new leaf. Clean up a forgotten room-often, the garage can be a great place to start. Hold a yard sale, and put the money towards a family get-together or special event. It’s a great way to bring the family together working toward shared goals.
Then, have every family member choose some way he or she can make a personal contribution to help lower costs around your home. Maybe one person can be responsible to make sure that lights that aren’t being used get turned off. Maybe someone else can be sure the thermostats are turned down at night. Younger children can help by cutting out shopping coupons that lower grocery costs-and everyone can agree to drink no-name soda pop, which can cost a fraction of the brand names. Or, hey-cut out the pop altogether and make homemade ice tea or lemonade.
Whatever cost-cutting measures you choose, be sure to share the results every month with your family. Show them the drop in your electricity costs, or how much less the groceries cost, thanks to them. That keeps everyone motivated to keep costs down, and get that debt load under control. You can even offer free rewards to the kids when they come up with cost-saving ideas-let them choose the DVD, or which park you’ll go to this weekend. Keeping the whole family involved will get you closer to your goals than if you try to go it alone.