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Smart Budgeting Tips for Families from American Express Serve

Smart Budgeting Tips for Families

Managing finances for a family isn't easy. Whether you're starting out, planning for a baby or have grown kids, our budgeting tips for families can help.

Family Budgeting: Plan and Save for Every Stage

Managing your own budget can be hard enough. Things get more complicated when two people merge their independent financial lives into one family ledger. Income needs to be balanced against joint expenses, shared priorities and individual interests. You and your partner will also want to find common ground when it comes to saving strategies and financial goals. Smart planning, along with the right budgeting tips for families, can help you prepare for your life together as partners and parents.

Budgeting for a Baby: Planning for Your New Arrival

Having a baby can be one of life’s greatest joys. The milestone also brings great change. And preparing for your new addition presents an entirely new set of financial considerations.

Most of your expenses can be divided into two categories. First, you need to budget for one-time purchases like a crib, changing table, baby carrier, car seat and stroller (hand-me-downs and gifts from friends and family can significantly reduce some of your initial “start up” costs). Budgeting for a baby also means you have to account for variable, ongoing expenses like childcare, diapers, clothes, formula and eventually solid food.

Savings priorities shift as well when you start thinking about someone else’s future. Consider setting up a college savings plan.

Budgeting for a baby?

Here's what you can expect.

Click to expand Costs of Having a Baby

Budgeting for Kids: Children Don’t Come Cheap

In business, the more people you have on payroll, the greater your expenses. The same applies to family budgeting. The more mouths you have to feed, the more money you’ll need to keep Family Inc. afloat.

Budgeting for kids requires you to consider everyday essentials like food and clothing. Children also impact insurance costs. Plan for school and school supplies, medical and dental expenses (braces can be expensive) and extracurricular activities like soccer, music lessons, dance classes and gymnastics.

Budgeting for Kids: Children Don’t Come Cheap

Budgeting for Teens: Surviving the Adolescent Years

Budgeting for teens needs to account for changing tastes and a growing list of wants and needs. Teens typically become more image-conscious and put a greater emphasis on clothing and accessories. Cell phones, music and electronics also become top priorities.

The biggest adjustment often comes when kids start to drive. For some families, another car may not be an option. For others, budgeting for teens can mean another round of car payments, more money for gas and rising insurance premiums.

The good news is that teenagers can begin to shoulder certain financial responsibilities. Whether they make money babysitting, mowing lawns or scooping ice cream, a prepaid debit Account like American Express Serve® can be a valuable tool for teaching teenagers how to manage their money, adhere to a budget and save for the things that matter most to them.

Budgeting for Teens: Surviving the Adolescent Years

Budgeting for College Students: How to Pay for Their Years Away

Saving for college along the way will certainly make things easier when kids leave the nest. Scholarships, grants and other sources of aid can also impact what the college years mean for you financially. For many, student loans make paying for college possible. The downside is that some graduates find themselves saddled with debt before they ever spend a day in the real world.

Budgeting for college students involves designating money for tuition, room and board, travel, books and a host of other necessities. Allocating spending money presents a unique challenge for parents. American Express Serve® can be a valuable tool here as well. Use Subaccounts to add money to your child’s Card as needed. And with Serve, you can set spending limits for certain categories of expenses while teaching your college student to operate within the confines of a budget.


Budgeting for College Students: How to Pay for Their Years Away
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Budgeting for a baby?

Budgeting for a baby infographic from American Express Serve

Here's what you can expect.

Click to expand Costs of Having a Baby