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Finances of the Family

Money! Money is necessary to eat, pay taxes, purchase goods, etc. Your attitude toward money and your previous life experience will have to adapt to the conditions of a future married life. Financial difficulties and losses in marriage may create tension in the marital relationship. Exercises outlined below will help you determine the most complex financial problems and to make realistic plans.

1. Determine the average income per person of the family in which you grew up in the last five years?

2. What do you think was the income in the family of your fiancé/fiancée?

3. What is the average monthly income that will be needed by your family in its first years?

4. How much will the husband have to earn in the first years of your marriage?

5. Should the wife work, and if so, how much should she earn?

6. What will initially be the biggest item of expenditure in your family?

The Bible on Finances

Study the following passages in order to familiarize yourself with how to treat money and how to spend it. Specify the main ideas which you have learned from these passages.

1) Deut. 8:17-18

2) 1 Chron. 29:11-12

3) Proverbs, 11:24-25

4) Proverbs, 12:10

5) Proverbs, 13:22

6) Proverbs, 15:27

7) Proverbs, 20:17

8) Proverbs, 21:25-26

9) Proverbs, 24:30-34

10) Matt. 6:19-20

11) Matt. 17:24-27

12) Rom. 13:6–8

13) Ephes. 4:28

14) Philip. 4:11–19

15) 2 Thess. 3:7–12

16) 1 Tim. 6:6-10

17) Heb. 13:5.

Creating the family budget

Dos and don'ts in the budget (advice for the newlyweds).

1. Plan together. Together determine the amount and timing of expenditures – seek agreement and mutual understanding. Make decisions together. Both sides should know numbers and plans.

2. Determine your financial goals. Create a budget, following a specific goal. Clearly imagine for yourself why it is necessary to create a budget.

3. Do not proceed with the preparation of the budget before finding out how much money you spend every day and on what. Lead a strict logbook of expenditures for several weeks in order to know how to create a budget. If you don’t know what your money is spent on, then you will not be able to determine how much can really be spent and on what.

4. All budget items must be clearly determined. Assess all of the items you want to include in the budget in accordance with your regular items of expenditure.

5. Spend money in accordance with the needs and necessities of your family. Do not follow the traditions of other families in spending money. Use someone else’s experience and advice in this matter only as suggestions, but mostly consider your own needs and requirements.

6. Think beforehand. Having done your summations and discussed them together, do not rush to conclusions. Do not allow your desires to prevail over a sober assessment of possibilities. If it appears that expenditures are too high, check to see if this is so. If you decide to save on one thing, make sure not to spend more money on another; do not cut back the regular, necessary daily expenses, but carefully look at which unnecessary things you spent money on, and cut these unnecessary expenditures.

7. Plan major expenses. You may have several large expenses in the span of a year – taxes, insurance, vacation, etc. Acknowledge them and put away money for these activities every month, and then you will be able to pay for them at the needed time. If you do not plan for these expenses, they will turn your budget into chaos, from which it will be difficult to escape.

8. It is necessary to assign responsibilities. Each family member should know what he/she is responsible for.

9. Do not closely monitor every dollar designated as pocket money. Any family member should have the right of personal choice in the spending of pocket money, while not breaking the budget. It is not necessary to record every trifle detail in the expenditures book.

10. Do not mix different expenditure categories. Strictly adhere to well-defined spending categories. This is very useful. Daily summarize the expenditures in each category. This will help you not to go beyond a determined category budget.

11. Do not try to outsmart your budget. For example, do not try to exceed your means by buying what you are presently unable to buy. Do not take a loan out of other budget categories or from other people. It is always necessary to pay the debt on time, reducing expenditures the next month. Otherwise, you will discover that the funds you have been counting on were already spent.

12. When the budget becomes too strained, think about easing this tension. Be more flexible. A strained budget always keeps people high-strung. The best rule of planning is an annual formation of the budget before the beginning of January and its checkup in the month of July to be sure that it truly is real and tends to your well-being.

And…don’t give up with the first failure. It is rare to successfully compose a budget the first time. If it did not succeed in the beginning, don’t drop the idea altogether, but reconsider – and you will know what to do! When creating the budget, don’t forget to include an expenditure category under the heading of “strengthening the family.” This will include expenses that contribute to strengthening your marital relationship. This may include books for joint reading, audio and video for shared use, holidays spent together, etc. By doing this, you will contribute to the strength of your family life, which is what you are aiming for. However, a family does not become strong suddenly! It must be planned.

Monthly expenses of your family

Some of the expenses are impossible to schedule into the monthly budget (for example, an annual vacation or the purchase of expensive household appliances). In this case, you should divide the annual cost by twelve months (if these are annual expenses) or by 36 months (if the purchase occurs once every three years).

Expense categories Amount
Housing (rent, mortgage, maintenance, etc.)

Utility costs (electricity, gas, water)
Groceries
Clothing
Transportation (public or private, gas, maintenance, insurance, etc.)
Communications (phone, internet)
Entertainment and leisure (vacation, gifts, film, DVD, TV, concerts, restaurants)
Savings
Fitness and healthcare
Payment of loans
Donations and charity
Other:

Do you think that your current joint income is sufficient for the needs of your future family or do you need to earn more? If so, then how?

If you find yourself in financial difficulties, are you ready to accept parental assistance? On what terms?

Do you believe that your future husband/wife is able to manage finances correctly? If not, what they need to do differently?

If you agree with the statements below, check them off
a. The house must have a TV set.
b. Every woman must see a hairdresser on a weekly basis.
c. The tithe belongs to God, and it cannot be spent on anything else.
d. Vacations must be planned every year.
e. Money earned by the husband and wife should be kept separate by both of them.
f. Spouses should always have some savings.
g. Making purchases on credit is very advantageous.
h. Donations – a voluntary gift to God and their amount can be different every time.
i. Life insurance for the head of the family is necessary.
j. Spouses must plan the budget together.
k. The budget should include only monthly expenditures.
l. When a young couple moves into a home, it must be completely furnished.
m. When purchasing clothes or furniture, it is necessary to take into account quality more than the price.
n. The man should be in charge of the family’s finances.
o. Both spouses should discuss the purchase with a price above average.
p. Each family member (including children, when they become old enough) must have some allowance.

Counselor's final notes

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