Adulting 101: Home and Finances
May 4, 2019
Being an adult is hard. It’s harder than you imagined. Then bring into the picture having a home and a family. It gets even more difficult. Trying to manage life itself is a challenge. So, when considering home management and handling finances with a family, the main thing that comes to mind is having a budget. You want to have a budget for your home and your family. Like everything else in life, that budget can be pretty hard to stick to, with unexpected life events or repairs that were not put into the budget. If your parents didn’t teach you about how to budget and manage a home, it may be pretty difficult to try and teach your own kids while you are figuring it out on the fly.
A Little Backstory
My parents weren’t great with money, but we never had serious problems. I mean, they weren’t out pawning our tv or anything to pay bills. They always found a way to make things work. It helps that my dad is incredibly handy. He could fix just about anything that can go wrong in the house. My parents did a few things to help us kids learn a few things about money and budgeting. I remember my mom would drop me off at the grocery store with little to no guidance about what I needed to get. She told me to get the groceries for the family for a week. She gave me $200. We had a hungry family of 6 with 3 of us being teenagers at that time. I was left to figure it out.
It seems like a lot of my friends feel this about their entire financial life. They were given pay from jobs and no one specifically told them what to do. They had to just figure it out.
A Tiny Bit O’ Guidance
If you were lucky enough to have a class in high school on personal finance, you were definitely in the minority! They usually offer personal finance classes in college, but most students wouldn’t know about them unless they were an accounting or finance major. Of course, there are also lots of books on how to handle personal finance, but the norm of today doesn’t lend anyone to believe that their finance self-help books are reaching the masses.
If you had parents who had the time and knowledge to teach you about finances, that is great! Did you retain any of it? According to the Simple Dollar, an article on when and how to teach your kids about money seems a bit advanced for any teenager I know. Getting them to understand that bills exist is a major accomplishment and getting them to understand FICO scores and or investments seems a bit far-fetched.
Beginning your money management journey begins with understanding what income you have coming in and what you can afford to have going out. There are lots of apps that can help you get started with your money management future. Every Dollar is an app my family has used to track our spending and money management. It connects to your bank account and will help you categorize all of your spending. If you tend to pay in cash for a lot of things, this app may not be able to help you accurately account for all of those cash transactions. You have to be diligent in following your finances in order to understand how you are spending your hard earned cash. Once you track your spending for a whole month you can get a bigger picture of what you are spending your money on and begin to build a realistic budget.
Budget Isn’t a Dirty Word
A budget doesn’t have to be a negative thing! It is a tool used to help you understand where you are spending your money. If you overspend in one area (for most people that would be on dining out and entertainment), you will know when you have exceeded your monthly allotment. You’ll know when to rein it in for the next week or so to try and stay on budget.
Money and home management go hand in hand. Understanding how to budget for your homes expenses, whether it is a rental or a home you are buying, consist of the same concept. Being aware of possible expenses and being prepared for them if they happen. Since homes do not generally come with a manual on how to handle each home system or appliance, it’s really about understanding what you have in your home. For myself, it has been very helpful having a home warranty, both for being prepared for an emergency and knowing who to call when it happens. A home warranty allows people the ability to have a small monthly budget for possible large expenses. This is a great option when you may not have the financial means to build that emergency fund up just yet.
What is a home warranty? A home warranty is like an insurance plan for the “what if this breaks in my house?”. It covers items like your kitchen appliances, home furnace, washer and dryer, etc. If you are just starting out and are working on your budget it can help keep unexpected expenses from eating away at your emergency funds. A typical home warranty may cost about $25-45 a month.
If you have any expenses early on in your home ownership, this can definitely save you money. Be sure to read up on what are the best home warranty companies in your local area before purchasing a plan. The cheapest may not be the best option. The one that is only $5 more a month might provide a lot more coverage than the least expensive plan. Always read up on what you’re buying so you understand what is covered and what is not.
What have we learned here? We learned that we need to have an education on how to handle our finances and how to better prepare for unexpected expenses. Will we learn from it? Who knows”?! But every time you read something about home and money management, it gives you an opportunity to make better decisions moving forward on how to handle your money. This will help reduce unexpected stress in your life. You’ll be able to live your life and appreciate the joys of having a home.
Sarah Callahan is a freelance writer and blogger for A Matter of Cents and Review Home Warranties. Sarah directs the Review Home Warranties’ YouTube Channel. Sarah is also co-owner of ExplorHer Career, a website dedicated to inspiring young women to explore career possibilities. She lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her family.
Have any home management questions for Sarah? Let us know in the comments below!
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