Five Tips to Balance Your Budget and Manage Your Time

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Five Tips to Balance Your Budget and Manage Your Time
When you're lying on your deathbed, you're not likely to wish you'd spent more time at the office and less time at home with your family. But today's far-commuting, overworked Americans are the busiest people in the world according to reports. When both spouses work, the problem is compounded. Two incomes are often a necessity and hardly adequate at that. How can we even begin to balance work and family?

There are no easy answers. And the answers are probably different for each couple. Some couples find it useful to take stock of finances, create a careful budget, and keep a schedule for the week and the month. When both spouses work, both have to willingly cooperate in planning their schedule and budget. Both need to commit themselves to finding more time together as a family.

Balance Your Budget

A change in a couple of basic attitudes can really help.

  • First, realize that Wall Street, Wal-Mart, and Madison Avenue are constantly brainwashing you through advertising to buy more—more of everything. Try to realize how little of the advertised stuff you actually need, and you'll be on your way to a great truth: Less is more. Goldian Vandenbroeck explores that philosophy in his wonderful book by the same title, Less Is More. The book is worth multiple readings.

  • The second change in attitude is to take pleasure in seeing how you can save time for your family and also save money so you will be able to work less. Many practical books can help, with titles like Find More Time, The Complete Tightwad, and Frugal Living for Dummies. Click through those links, and find one that speaks to your condition.

Manage Your Time

In addition to managing finances and budget, we have to manage our schedule. I have learned three good strategies that are worth recommending to all.

  • You and your spouse need one night a week when you can be alone for a few hours. This might take the form of a date—dinner out and a show. It could mean you put the kids to bed and spend a few hours together with no interruptions.

  • Have everyone sit down to dinner together nightly, if possible.

  • Finally, designate a "family day" once a week, when you do things together as a family. If it can't be a whole day, then it might be a half. Consistency is what is important here. These last two bullets will actually help you get to know your kids before the Dark Ages of adolescence descend. (They may even learn to love and respect you.)

One Jewish tradition has it that the weekly Sabbath is a little foretaste of heaven, when we cease striving and hurrying and rest for a moment , savoring bliss. It is a day to recoup. This practice over the millenia has been restorative to all people in any society that observed each seventh day off. In western democracies, of course, the day has expanded to the whole weekend. Whatever else you do on these weekly days off, if you spend at least one with your family, when you come to the end of your life, you will never say, "Oh, I wish I'd gone to work that day rather than going to church with the wife and kids and enjoying the afternoon at the beach together."