Today’s personal finance tip is about making household budgets a fun activity.
We’ve talked about involving the family in the household budgeting process to keep them in the loop and to make it easier for them to accept lifestyle changes that may be required as a result of the financial budget. However, this can become a pretty tedious activity over time if your kids are young or simply not that interested in money matters (for which you can use the following conversation starters offered by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).
1. Link your budget to a goal that the entire family agrees to
The collective goal, which could be anything from saving for a new gaming console to going on vacation to a specific destination, will help motivate everyone to participate in the budgeting process and enjoy it as every dollar brings them closer to the goal. The key is to choose a goal that everyone pursues, especially the children. Other family oriented goals could be, ‘saving for a pet, family computer, bunk bed for the kids’ bedroom, swing set or trampoline for the backyard, or even a new dishwasher if the kids look forward to not washing the dishes themselves!
2. Make the budgeting process light hearted
You can also try make make personal budgets a fun activity/process to develop an interest in the task, and for that, we recommend letting out the creative side of you.
Use creative headings for expense categories in your personal budget to make it more fun!
Let your creative juices flow and make up funny titles for expense categories that are a part of your household budget, such as entertainment expenses, maintenance costs, groceries, education expenses, and utility bills. Here are a few examples you can use for FREE!
a. Typical budget heading: Maintenance expense
Fun alternative budget heading: Stopping the house from falling apart.
b. Typical budget heading: Entertainment expense
Fun alternative budget heading: Keeping myself from losing my mind.
c. Typical budget heading: Medical expense
Fun alternative budget heading: An apple a day doesn’t always keep the doctor away.
d. Typical budget heading: Debt payments or debt obligations
Fun alternative budget heading: I’m part of a world that runs on debt.
e. Typical budget heading: Personal use items
Fun alternative budget heading: My own life matters too, you know.
3. Set a good example with your spouse for the children to follow
Children learn best by example and don’t feel the burden of changing if they are willingly trying to emulate the good financial habits of parents. If you effectively manage your money with your spouse, your children will try to copy your behaviour. For instance, if you jointly manage your finances with your spouse and often have open discussions about the shared budget, your children will begin to chip in too, all the while, trying to act as grown ups and feeling a great sense of achievement.
Can you think of any other silly or crazy budget category headings? We’d love to hear them.