This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Smart Money podcast on investing for your family’s future. In other news: Family budgeting tips that actually work, billions spent on tax returns that could be filed for free, and 3 ways to maximize points and loyalty programs on your work trips.

Smart Money Podcast: ‘The Color of Wealth’: Investing for Your Family’s Future
This week’s episode is dedicated to a conversation about strategies Black women can use to invest for their family’s future.

Family Budgeting Tips That Actually Work
Following a family budget is challenging, especially when unexpected costs pop up, but staying flexible will help.

Billions Spent on Tax Returns That Could Be Filed for Free
About 101 million eligible filers missed out on using the Free File program, a NerdWallet data analysis shows.

3 Ways to Maximize Points and Loyalty Programs on Your Work Trips
Make sure travel reservations are linked to your loyalty accounts, especially if you weren’t the one who booked.

Family budgeting tips that actually work

When Tom Snyder coaches people in his church about how to budget, he starts by encouraging them to track their spending.

“If we don’t track, we don’t know when to stop spending,” he says. The retired engineer and financial coach in Grand Rapids, Michigan, adds that it’s easy to be bumped off track by irregular costs, such as birthday gifts or vacations.

Successful family budgeting is all about staying flexible so you can handle those irregular costs as well as unexpected challenges, including sky-high grocery store prices or rising interest rates. Financial experts like Snyder say that by using creative methods to dial in a budget and trim costs in some areas, you can often still find ways to spend on what is most important to you.

In Kimberly Palmer’s latest for the Associated Press, learn family budgeting tips that actually work.