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How to Hold a Household Budget Meeting

Posted on November 18, 2019

Talking with roommates or family about the household budget can lead to some very awkward conversations. Rather than having an important conversation about money over cereal or when the bill hits your mailbox, hold a household budget meeting. That way, people can come prepared for an important conversation and not feel ambushed about bills and costs. To help make sure your household budget meeting goes smoothly, we’ve got some methods and tips for you!

What is a Household Budget Meeting


group of people gathered in a living room talkingA household budget meeting is where all of the adults responsible for paying bills, or an entire family including children, come together to discuss the financial needs of the household. This can include: bills, rent, shared expenses, financial status of everybody in the home, and more. Whether you live in an apartment or house with roommates, staying with family, or have a partner and kids of your own, a household budget meeting is a very good idea.

It’s important when setting up for a household budget meeting that everybody knows about it ahead of time and can come prepared. Don’t randomly shout for everybody to meet in the living room, give those you live with plenty of warning and set aside enough time for it. Everybody should gather together in a comfortable space with no distractions, maybe a few snacks to keep them happy, and come with a plan.

Come with a List of Expenses


Before you can make a budget, you need to have all of the relevant information, and that means compiling all of your household expenses. To start you off, here are common expenses that are shared in a household:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Electric bill
  • Water bill
  • Gas bill
  • Internet
  • Trash
  • HOA
  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Disposable items like paper towels, dish soap, trash bags and more.

This might mean doing a fair amount of research on how much your household uses and gathering standard costs on bills. This is essential for creating a household budget and coming prepared for your meeting.

If you need help identifying all of the household expenses or looking for help putting together a budget, we’ve got just the partner to help. GreenPath Financial Wellness partners with Pioneer to provide financial education to members, including help with budgets.

Maturely Discuss Your Financial Situations


group of young people eating dinner and talkingEspecially if there are multiple incomes in the house, such as with roommates, it’s important to have as much financial information as possible. If you are going to break up the household budgets, it’s important to make sure everybody present is able to pay their share.

This means having a mature conversation about everybody’s financial situations. This can include income, personal expenses/debts, and how much money they have available for paying bills. This shouldn’t be a time to be humble, shy, overconfident, or braggy. Especially if you are living with roommates, this is important. Be open about your situations because if somebody can’t pay their part of the bill, everyone suffers.

By discussing your current financial situations, with roommates or family members, you can identify potential obstacles in the future and find solutions.

Breaking Down Expenses and Who’s Paying the Bills


You have your list of expenses and a good understanding of the general financial situation. Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of breaking down expenses. Items like rent, internet, and other steady expenses are easy to break up, it’s the more random bills that require talking through.

Especially if you are staying with roommates, it can get frustrating having to pay for a high utility bill that you aren’t using. For example, if the roommates want to split a cable bill, but you don’t watch or use it, you won’t want to pay for it. Or if you take quick showers, but a roommate takes super long showers, you might not want to pay an even share of the water bill. These need to be broken down in this meeting to prevent problems in the future.

Next, you need to know who is in charge of doing the actual paying of bills each month. You can take turns each month, make assignments for each bill, or just have one person always in charge of it. Be sure assignments are made so bills aren’t missed.

Identifying Ways to Save Money as a Household


Mother and toddler washing hands at a sinkNot everybody acts the same in a household. Some focus on saving energy by turning off all the lights, others take quick showers to save on money, and others push to eat everything in the fridge. Others throw savings to the wind and do all of the opposite.

To maximize your households saving and keep bills lower, discuss ways everybody can save money. This could include managing your utilities, finding expenses to cut, or pooling resources together. There’s no need for everybody to buy their own bag of flour or dish soap, share and save money.

Planning for Future Expenses


Especially if a family is planning together, or you plan on sticking with your roommates for a long time, this is a great time to discuss future expenses that will need handling. This could include buying a new family car, repairs to the home, or going on a vacation.

It’s important to plan out future expenses so that you can save up for them and make sure everybody is on the same page. That way you aren’t stuck scrambling to pay for something last minute or pushing the burden onto one person.

If you are needing to save up some money, open up a Special Purpose Savings Account with Pioneer to earn a higher interest rate. Then you can have a specific place to keep the money safe and grow it faster.

Open a Special Purpose Savings Account!

Member Benefits
Special Purpose Savings Account Online Bill Pay
GreenPath Financial Wellness Pioneer Credit Card

 

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