12 December 2012

Guest Post: What to Do When Money Starts Affecting Your Family Life

When money is tight it can add an additional stressor to the family dynamic. Family relationships require work and attention, so when your attention and effort is focused on negative influences like overdue bills and an overstretched budget, family harmony often loses out.

If money issues have started to affect your family life, the first thing to do is understand that these feelings and issues are natural and happen to a lot of families. There is help available, and discord amongst your loved ones might be the push you need to jump into action and start taking control of your money matters.
Sit down with your family and discuss the issues so you can find a solution that will get you back on track. To help you get started, here are some of the steps you can take toward a happy solution.

Always Communicate

Keeping issues and emotions bottled up can often be damaging to you and those around you. The best thing you can do when you hit troubled times is to make sure that there is an open line of communication between those involved. By encouraging communication and being understanding and non-judgemental throughout the communication process, you can gain better insight as to how these issues are affecting your loved ones and give perspective to emotions that can often blow out of proportion when they are locked away and stewed upon in private.

Communication is particularly helpful when it comes to money troubles because if all family members are aware of the issues, they can do their part in helping to alleviate them. Make sure your family understands the problem and discuss ways to save money. Involve family members in budgeting and cost-cutting so that it feels like a team effort toward a goal.

Set a Budget

A budget is often the simplest and most helpful way to get your finances under control. By setting goals and limits, you can better monitor and control how money is spent, when bills are paid, and how much goes to saving. A budget will allow you to break bad habits and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending.
Make sure the whole family is aware of your budget, and include them in the budget planning process. This will help you to find the path of least resistance.

Be Frugal

If you’re having money troubles, you need to get serious about cutting back costs. Downgrade where possible (a cheaper car, less “premium” services etc), eat out less often, pack the kids homemade lunches instead of tuck shop – there are many ways to pinch pennies and cut back here and there. Remember that every cent makes a difference.

Get Your Debt Under Control

Debt can be crippling and the stress of looming repayments is often the cause of great stress to families and relationships. Make it a priority to get your debts paid off as soon as possible. Consider allowing for larger repayments on debts than your compulsory payments, making lump sum payments where possible, or a loan for debt option.

Consolidating your debt under one loan can mean one manageable payment for all your debts, ideally at a lower interest rate than before. You can even combine your debts by refinancing your mortgage and taking advantage of a new, lower mortgage interest rate.

Consult a Professional

It may seem like an additional cost, but it could save you thousands in the long run. Talking to a finance professional is an effective way to take control of your money and get it working for you. Consider a consultation with a company like Fox Symes, Australia’s largest debt help provider. They offer debt help services from budgeting assistance to bankruptcy advice and everything in between. By talking to a professional you’re able to utilise their years of experience to help you and your family get back on track.

So, if you’re struggling to find harmony at home because of money worries, don’t panic – there are lots of things you can do, and lots of help available to you. All you need to succeed is dedication to getting things back in order for yourself and your family.

Tara is a business and personal finance writer from Brisbane, Australia. She says that if your debt is beginning to affect your family life then you should seek professional advice. Tara recommends talking to the debt experts at Fox Symes.

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