What's Your Family Budget Personality?
Every family budget is different, but you probably fall into one of these three "money personality" categories. Find out which one best describes your finances, and how you can spend smarter
Your Money MO: You'd rather do anything (any diapers need changing?) than tackle the dirty deets of finances, so you stick your head in the sand…and unopened bills in a drawer. “You may feel incompetent or overwhelmed,” notes Klontz. Your fam's not obsessed with cash (good!), but there may not be much to obsess over.
Strategy: Automated bill-pay and savings tools are your financial BFFs. PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet, for example, organizes your finances online and provides “danger days” alerts to keep you from getting dinged with overdrafts. Since we save three times more with a concrete aim (college fund?), according to the Journal of Marketing Research, consider a goal-oriented account, too, like those at smartypig.com.
Your Money MO: Yours is the fam everyone's trying to keep up with, but whatever cash comes in disappears faster than Klondike bars in the Sub-Zero. “You enjoy life today and figure things will work out later,” says Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital Financial Advisers, whose “Money Mind Analyzer” helps people understand their money emotions. That can mean trouble later.
Strategy: If you're in debt, start digging out. Need a kick? At stickk.com, co-founded by a Yale University economics professor, commit to a goal (“pay off credit card”), then pick a pal to keep you honest. Build a cash cushion by rechanneling your fam's (spl)urges into impulse saving. With piggymojo.com, text your “savings” whenever you or the spouse passes up a purchase (“$4.50 latte”). Drop the virtual savings into a real account each week. It adds up!