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Savvy tips for families: How to live your dream lifestyle

19 May 2022 | 4 min read
Canna Campbell shares her tips for families can live their dream lifestyle.

I love the quote "Today's little moments become tomorrow's precious memories". As parents, we are often told to be more present with our children so that we can capture these moments and imprint a valuable connection that lasts a lifetime.

But it can be hard to do this when we're also carrying the financial stress that comes from escalating family expenses, career pressure and expectations, and the increasing cost of living.

The good news is, managing the family's financial wellbeing isn't as hard as you may think. In fact, prioritising a few areas within your finances can help alleviate a lot of stress, freeing you up to enjoy the blessing of family time.

These simple but effective areas will help you get started on your family's journey towards greater financial fulfilment.

1. Budget and cash flow

Start with a budget. Not to cut expenses out necessarily, but to understand where your hard-earned money is going. By looking at the family's cost of living, you can see what is a priority and what you value, but also what is a waste.

Go through your bank and credit card statements to identify and add up all regular and irregular costs. You'll now have the valuable insight to control and decide what can be cut out, cut down or stay.

Any money that can be freed up can be put towards our next step.

2. Emergency money

There is no "one size fits all" magical formula as to how much emergency money any family should have.

To work out how much is right for you, look at tangible risks that could impact your family. For example, consider the stability of your job and entitlements, monthly outgoings, and existing financial responsibilities (think rent, mortgage, utilities, car etc).

Also consider your family dynamics – such as family members who are elderly, or live interstate or overseas; your family's health (including pets); and, of course, your own health.

Adding up these potential costs gives you a realistic idea as to how much money your family needs for an emergency, or as I like to say, the ability "to sleep well at night".

Once you have that figure, set aside some money in a separate dedicated savings account, or at least start saving it. Build regular savings into your budget so that saving actually happens – even starting with a small amount is great, as you can build up from here.

If you have a mortgage, you may want to consider having your emergency money in a redraw facility or offset account, so at least it's helping you save some valuable interest along the way.

3. Goals

Even though having a goal can give us more direction, the mayhem of family life can distract us from setting any financial goals in the first place.

Bringing to the table even one simple short-term financial goal is incredibly valuable, as it can be the catalyst for greater long-term change in your attitude and habits when it comes to money.

You can start with a simple goal such as to save a certain amount of money for a family holiday, or it can even be just setting aside that emergency money.

As you see progress and eventual achievement of these simple short-term goals, you can up the ante and consider goals around long-term financial freedom through investing or even retirement.

When it comes to setting these bigger long-term goals, an inspiring place to start is your budget, and building a goal around reducing your cost of living.

Say your family expenses are around $5,000 per month. You could set a goal to build up enough passive income so that it could eventually cover part or all of those monthly living expenses – which may mean you could cut down work, afford to change careers or even retire earlier.

To build this passive income, look to start investing or potentially including your superannuation and personal insurances as part of an overall strategy. Because you now have a budget, you can prioritise even a small, regular investment plan once your emergency money pot is established.

Taking control and gaining a valuable sense of how to build greater financial fulfilment for your family allows you the freedom to create more memories that can provide a lifetime of returns.

Listen to Canna Campbell on 'Make it count with Too Peas', a family finance podcast presented by Bendigo Bank. Available on your favourite podcast app or listen online.

This article contains general advice only. Readers should seek a trusted professional's advice on financial matters. Please read the applicable product disclosure statement(s) on the Bendigo Bank website before acquiring any product.

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