How to budget for an extended family

Working out a feasible budget for yourself can sometimes be such a monumental task that many people find endless excuses just not to do it! Budgeting and even more so sticking to the budget is tough work so throw in extended family and you could have real trouble on your hands. If mom comes home to join the family and is only bringing in a small pension or an out of work 30something flies back into the nest you could suddenly see your income stretched way further than you ever imagined it would have to be!

How to budget for an extended family

When it comes to extended family an trying to survive under one roof there are many hiccups and problems to hurdle over. Priorities are different, spending habits need to be learned and sometimes curbed. Certain individual needs may need to be met and room for manoeuvre may need to be built in.

Here are some tips to help you cope.

Put everything on the table – Hopefully ending with a group hug you need a big meeting! Everyone (including any younger kids) should be present as this is about money and how it’s going to be used. Everyone needs to talk about what they need money for, how much they think they need to spend and what is fair to possibly give up or cut back. Involving everyone and trying to work out expenses that may have kept themselves hidden or forgotten makes everything easier.

Get a whiteboard – The budget is going to take a while to be perfect. Everyone should be able to write on a communal white board where the basic budget is outlined. For example how  much is needed for household bills, how much for groceries and any other basics like that. A more detailed budget could be available for everyone through something like a shared Google Spreadsheet or printouts stored near the whiteboard.

Keep the talk flowing – To keep everyone on board the budget needs reviewing and concerns need meeting. Someone may feel they are having a hard time or that someone else gets more from the current budget. There may be issues with someone overspending or just not being able to stay on track. Talking will help keep things running as smooth as they possible can.

Learn to bulk buy everything – There are more of you now so hopefully you can buy everything in bigger bulk, effectively reducing some strains in certain areas of the budget. For example buy a sack of rice now instead of a bag, the same goes for washing powder, dried goods and anything else.

Build in some flexibility but not too much – You always need a buffer in any budget. With extended family that may need to be bigger as unexpected expenses could fly in from anyone! However don’t make it so huge that temptation for people to find a reason to use it builds up!

So, there are some tips to get you started. It will be hard and it will take a few drafts to get something working correctly but once everyone is onboard the ship will sail straight.

Related: What Is The Secret To Saving Money?

Good luck.

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