New Year. New Budget.
By Sarah Haertl
As many of us begin thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important to include an annual audit of your household budget. If you don’t already have a household budget, then now is also the perfect time to create one.
If you have young children, this is an excellent opportunity to help educate them on the household expenses and start them on a lifelong journey of financial management. If your child understands how much of the household money goes toward rent, utilities, food, and other necessities, perhaps they will be more invested in doing what they can help the family stay on budget.
One example of how children can play a part in managing the household budget is helping to keep down expenses. As I child, I can’t even count the number of times my mom had to remind me to close the door when I left the house. The proverbial, “we can’t afford to heat the whole neighborhood” was her reasoning.
As an adult, I now appreciate that sentiment much more than I did as a child, especially as the cost of electricity and natural gas continue to rise. Many parents never take the time to talk to their children about budgeting or household expenses, so warning them about heating costs, for example, may not connect because they don’t understand the big picture or that an extra hundred dollars a month in utilities could fund an annual family vacation, a new computer, or whatever other big ticket item your family is longing for.
It doesn’t matter what age your children are, if they are old enough to understand the concept of spending money, such as asking for toys or treats at the store, they are old enough to start learning basic concepts about money, budgeting and saving.
Creating your monthly budget doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Colorado Credit Union provides easy-to-use resources to help get your going. We hope you will use this tool and invite your children to help you input the data to help develop and maintain a household budget.
Visit www.ccu.org/calculator/home-budget for a simple budget tool.