How to Get a Better Handle on the Family Finances

How to Get a Better Handle on the Family Finances

Working together as a family with the finances is a new thing for many couples. In some cases, you’ve always dealt with the money side of things and are not happy to give up this role when coupling up. In other situations, both partners don’t enjoy dealing with money and want to relinquish the responsibility!

It’s usually best to either have one joint checking account or to have a joint checking account and two separate accounts. When choosing to deal with things jointly and separately, the idea here is that the spending is agreed between the two of you. Either transferring money into the joint checking to pay the mortgage and other large expenses, or having wages paid into the joint account and transferring an amount for personal spending out to the personal checking accounts works well. It’s up to each couple to decide what they feel most comfortable doing.

Let’s now look at other ways to get a better handle on money in the family.

Switch to Cash

When money seems to fly out of the domestic home as fast as it comes in with little left over at the end of the period, then there’s usually a problem with spending. Dealing with it as a couple is challenging because money is an emotional subject for many people and it’s easy for one person to feel like they are being criticized or that their money is not their own.

One way to handle spending better is to stop using credit cards and debit cards. It’s been found that by spending cash, with the physical process of taking out the money and handing it over to a stranger at the checkout till, people spend less than when paying by plastic. Spending cold hard cash doesn’t feel care free like plastic or a paper check does. Using only cash helps to automatically reduce spending.

Keep Records of Monthly Income & Expenses

Keep a record of your cash spending. This can be keeping receipts in your purse or wallet or using a mini notepad to jot down what you spend as you go. Break the spending down by category so you can add up what was spent on different categories. When adding up the spending, you can enter it into a spreadsheet to make it easier to analyze. You’ll probably be surprised at how much you both spent and on what items.

Be careful not to be negative with your partner about their spending level and what they choose to buy. If it starts to feel like the Spanish Inquisition, they’ll likely feel criticized and pull away. At that point, you’ve lost their cooperation which won’t help with managing the finances together.

Importance of Making Regular Backups

Make sure that you’re saving backup copies of your financial records. When you have an Excel spreadsheet with your financial information and bank balances, keep a copy elsewhere. Consider using a flash drive, a portable hard drive or the cloud.

How to Handle Corrupted Financial Files

In a situation where you have a corrupted spreadsheet that cannot be recovered with the semi-automated recovery procedure in Microsoft Excel, then you’ll need a recovery specialist like Secure Data Recovery. File recovery is a specialized area because different software helps recover certain files more successfully than others. The same is true when recovering hard drive data or spreadsheet files.

Getting better as a couple or as a family with money is important. All households should have the shared goal of becoming financially richer over time rather than just treading water. We all get older at some point and we’ll want to relax while enjoying our retirement. The earlier preparations for retirement begins, the better for everyone.

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