So you have been attempting to create a budget for your family for a while now. Other people have done it. Plus, it seems like they are making it look so easy. However, for some reason, success keeps eluding you when you try to create a budget to include your family. It seems like every time you get close to finishing a plan, something happens and you end up back at the beginning.
Not this time, however....
This time, you will be armed with the same tips and information that some of the other families have and use to their advantage. So, give the following ten tips a try and see if they don’t work for you.
1. Take a serious look at your finances – Examine your entire income (including your spouse and child(ren), if applicable). Take a look at the monthly expenses (including household expenses), monthly debts and miscellaneous expenses.
2. Keep track of what you spend – When first starting this, this task should be done on a daily basis, or at least every other day. Keep the receipts from your purchases and record them in a journal. In fact, keep all of your purchases and credit payments in a journal.
3. Realize your expenditures every month – Ensure to include all of the household expenses, monthly debts and other incidentals that you use funds for. Your breakdown should be in the following categories: Housing, Food, Transportation, Debt Payments, Savings and Other.
4. Reduce/eliminate the budget fat – You should reduce or eliminate the fat (overage, unnecessary incidentals) from your budget and use any leftovers on recurring debt and other necessary items in your budget.
5. Continue to pay your debt – Examine your monthly debt payments. Create a plan to pay off the debts. If you have credit card bills, work to pay off the smallest one, then work your way up. This plan is easier than the opposite (pay highest debt first, then go down). The initial idea is easier – you don’t have to struggle to pay off the highest debt.
6. Future planning – Any planning for the future should include your spouse and children. In the interim, keep focusing on paying off the existing debt. You may want to involve a financial planner who can assist you with how to handle your money for future use, whether it be spending and/or saving.
7. Continue to track your spending – As in Tip #2, repeat the same process and continue to work with your budget/financial plan.
8. Include your children – In addition to your spouse, make sure that you include your children (if you have any). Teach them good spending habits and how to budget properly. The earlier that you teach them, the more likely that they will adapt to these habits and take budgeting and proper spending seriously.
9. Avoid using credit for what you cannot afford – Some people have adapted to a “microwave mentality”. They feel that they need to spend for certain things quickly and also have “got to have it right now” spirit. Don’t be hasty – if you can’t spend cash on some items, then you don’t need it.
10. Work on saving money – You need to save money, especially for a “rainy day”. It’s good to be able to have a nice nest egg for unexpected incidentals.
If you are find it difficult to make ends meet after using these tips, you may have to get a second job to help with the expenses and other necessary incidentals. However, if you do that, make sure that you focus on applying the above tips for a smoother outcome.
As long as all parties get on the same page regarding creating a budget, then you and your family should be in good shape.