Budgets are something that is hard for anyone. However when you have a family they can become nearly impossible. There is always an unexpected expense that families are expected to pay, whether it be medical, for school, or a child needing new clothes or shoes.
There are so many different ways that a family can learn how to budget things so that they can have everything that they need and want. Some families find that sticking to a budget is tough, especially at first. However any family that starts working with a budget and following it will find that the payoff is great and that they are able to get out of debt quicker than they might have expected while being able to make sure that all of the bills are paid on time.
Too many people who try to budget try to cut back everywhere and when it becomes too tough they end up failing and deciding that budgeting is not going to work for them. Instead of trying to change everything a family needs to prioritize while still being able to do the things that they enjoy. Through it all the idea is that you can learn how to save money, live on your income, and still have some of the things that you desire.
1. Choose Something that is SimpleLittle about budgeting is easy but when you are first starting you should take simple small steps to get where you need to be. Do not try to jump in all at once but instead try to slowly change things that are going to help you to decrease the amount of money that you spend on a regular basis. Find a computer program or printable worksheets that can help you create the budget that will work for you.
2. Create a Goal for YourselfA goal is a great way to help you stick to your budget. Creating a goal can be hard when it comes to families but a great one is to save a certain amount of money to be able to budget a family vacation or even to be able to treat the family to something new for the home. Your goal can be as big or as small as you would like but either way it is helpful to keep this in mind with your budgeting.
3. Figure Your Fixed ExpensesThere are many expenses in your life that are fixed like your mortgage or rent, insurance, taxes, childcare, and utilities. These expenses should be clearly written out and planned for each month. Since these expenses do not change you can plan your other expenses from here.
4. Find an Amount to Save Each MonthSaving money is important for families to be able to prepare for an emergency or an unexpected expense. It is also a great way to teach children how to have stability in their finances and to learn to be fiscally responsible. So choose an amount, regardless of how small, that you can save each month and really live without.
4. Figure Your Discretionary ExpensesDiscretionary expenses are all of the expenses that can change on a month to month basis. While it is hard to figure out how much money you really spend on things like eating out, traveling, gifts, shoes, personal care, clothing, and toys it is something that you should know. Try and track your spending for a few months by writing down everything you spend and putting it in the appropriate categories.
5. Work on Paying Off DebtDebt is a trap that far too many fall into. With college loans, many couples start out with a tremendous amount of debt prior to purchasing a home and starting a family. The best way to work on paying off debt is to start with the smallest debt and pay it off then work on paying off each debt in order until you are eventually debt free.
6. Make Sure to Figure with a BufferWhen you are figuring out your expenses, you should always figure them with the highest priced expenses that you have. For instance instead of figuring your utility bill on the average of what you pay, think about the highest amount that you have ever paid and pay that. Doing this can easily help you to make sure that you never stress over paying a bill.
7. Choose to Pay with Cash When ShoppingInstead of taking a debit card or credit card to the store with you, take enough cash for everything that you need. This will allow you to make sure that you do not purchase items that you do not need and that you will not overspend. Instead of having a card to fall back on make the cash work each time that you go somewhere.
8. Get Everyone InvolvedInstead of trying to do your household budget on your own or even trying to do it alone with your spouse, you should get everyone in the house involved in the budget planning. The idea is make everyone feel committed to the budget because this will empower them to stay with it and want to cut back or give up in some areas as well. Explain what your family’s goals are and why budgeting and cutting back in some areas could pay off in the future.
9. Learn What Wants and Needs AreToo many people have blurred lines when it comes to their wants and needs. Instead of being able to focus on what they really need they confuse wants and think that they are needs. Being able to identify the things that are needs can help one to clearly budget so that they are all met while still allowing for some of their wants.
10. Prepare for ChangesChanges are something that are bound to happen. You will have unexpected expenses every month no matter how hard you try to prepare, plan and budget for things. Being able to understand that you are going to have some of these unexpected things thrown your way is something that will help you stay calm and collected while figuring out how to pay for them.
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