Your Money: Get the Family Onboard

If you’re married and/or have children, chances are the changes you plan on making will affect your family. This holds true no matter what you’re tackling, but when it comes to money, the effects will be even more noticeable. Therefore it’s important to make sure your spouse and children are onboard with your changes. Why? A united front is a whole lot stronger than a house divided. And together your chances of success are much higher. So how do you go about doing this?

Communication
The first thing you’ll want to do is talk to your family. Let them know about the changes you’re considering, and why you think they’re important. Let them know you want their input, and that their feedback will be taken into consideration when you’re figuring out your course of action. This gets them involved, and makes them feel like they’re part of the team, instead of outsiders just watching the game.

Opening the lines of communication can also help in that you can get valuable ideas and insight you wouldn’t normally have gotten. Looking at things from others’ points of view can help you figure out which direction will be best for all of you in the long run. And getting this feedback early on will prevent backtracking later if you discover that your decisions negatively impact those around you.

Be Specific
When talking to your family, try to be as specific as possible. Rather than speaking abstractly about cutting down spending or bringing down debt, discuss what exactly needs to change. Will you be eating out less? Spending less on clothing?

The more specific your goals, the better. Not only will it help your family understand where you’re coming from and where you’re going, it will also give you a definite course of action, with a clear understanding of what you have to do to get there. And being specific in your course of action will let your family know what they have to do to be involved in the process.

Make It Fun
Making the experience interactive can bring the family together and unite you in your goals. To do this, make charts or goal thermometers to track your progress. Celebrate with small rewards when you reach milestones. Reward family members if they have a great idea or do something that brings your goals closer.

You can also get the family involved in activities that directly affect the goal. Have everyone clear out their closets to hold a tag sale. Who will make the most? Have a contest to see who can spend the least on school supplies or clothes. Encourage family members to make gifts instead of buy them — and reinforce how much more meaningful it is, in addition to saving money.

Get Creative
Show everyone how being frugal can really be about being creative. Rather than depriving yourself, you’re just finding different ways of doing things, and different ways of getting what you need or want:

  • Can’t afford that new gadget? How can you use what you have to do the same thing?
  • If something goes wrong in the house, learn how to fix it instead of hiring a professional. You can learn a valuable skill and save money at the same time.
  • For children, show them how they can use what they have and the free things around them to still have fun. Surf the internet to find craft ideas using household items.

Once these things become habit, you’ll see how much you’re actually learning and how much more valuable the entire experience has been. Instead of just dishing out money for something, you’re gaining skills and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Stay Positive
While it can be difficult to remain optimistic, the more hopeful and positive you can stay, the easier it will be for your family to stick with you. If you consider your actions a hardship, so will they. But if you look for the fun in it, and encourage them to do the same, then it will be easier for them to see how these changes are positive. And isn’t making your lives better what it’s all about?

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