Families change throughout the years, but one constant should be money management. Family savings are most effective when they are broken down into multiple categories and sometimes multiple accounts. Some investments are planned before a baby is even born while others arise along the way. From monthly budgeting to paying for college, the ability to manage money well is essential to family health and harmony. If you are reassessing your finances lately, here are a few topics to think about that may help you set your new goals and prioritize.
A New Car
Does your family have one car or two? Do you find that paying for two automobiles a month is too much? You may benefit more from upgrading to a single vehicle and carpooling. Even swapping one car for a more family-friendly alternative can make a big difference in how you commute and shop. But the best way to prepare for a new vehicle is to save as much as possible to put down. By having a larger down payment, you can reduce the cost of your monthly premiums and give you greater control over your car insurance coverage options. When a car is paid off, you’ll typically find that you qualify for much lower rates.
Your Next Vacation
Annual family vacations are a time-honored tradition, but many households are forced to forgo them because of budget restraints. If you try to buy last minute, then it will be difficult to find affordable lodging and flight tickets. The best way to get a good deal on family vacations is to plan at least six months in advance. The same as you would have a plan for and know the precautions to consider before a long road trip, you should plan for the expense of taking a trip and what that means for your budget after you return as well. Putting your savings into a high-yield interest account will help you generate several hundred dollars extra to put toward your travels.
It’s never too early or late to begin thinking about your child’s college expenses. The cost of undergraduate education can stretch well into the six figures, especially if they’re planning to live on campus and pursue a degree at a prestigious university. Certain programs also cost much more, so med students, aspiring lawyers, and engineers will have to be willing to take on considerable debt to achieve their goals. As a parent, you can open a college savings account that other family members can make contributions toward. You can also explore financing options like Private Parent Loans. A low-rate Private Parent Loan lets you take advantage of the unique features that help you send your kids to college without the stress of wondering how they’ll pay for it.
Expanding your home can make it suit your family throughout the years, even as children move out or grandchildren enter the picture. You may also think about what home modifications you’ll need to age in place comfortably. In addition to loans and home equity lines of credit, you can also consider cashing out a life insurance policy in your 60s. Retirement funds can also be put toward home improvements and ensuring your house is always suited to your needs.