Family Budget

March 10, 2010

How frequently do you check your bank account? Is your spending structured or do you play it by ear each month? A budget can help everyone, not just those who want to spend less and save more. Here is some advice to start a family budget.

Okay, no one wants to think about a budget. It is almost like pulling teeth to get one written up. So, set aside a time and get it done. To make it easier, there are templates available online to get you going. You can also purchase budgeting software that may help you. Updates are easy to make and anyone can do it.

Gather all of your monthly bills together. Make this easy by holding back a copy of last’s month’s bills and putting them in a folder after you pay them. This way, when you sit down you will have all of your information in front of you so you can just fill in the numbers. Also include a copy of your last monthly bank statement in that folder so you can track other expenses.

Creating and sticking to a budget is a family affair. Include your kids in the decision making. If they know about all that goes into keeping the family finances straight, they will be more likely to help you stick to it once it is completed. They will know where the money is going. Also read my article on creating a household budget.

Usually the biggest line item in a budget after the monthly bills is incidentals. This is the category where we lump entertainment, eating out, mad dashes to the mall and ATM trips. Without even knowing it, these things can add up. Your jaw may even drop when you realize how much of your hard-earned money was spent on video rentals, McDonald’s, retail therapy and cash advances.

This is the part of the budget where the entire family can participate. Decide what types of entertainment you can engage in and spend less money. Try a family game night or eating out once a month as a special treat. If you want more television variety without the expense, try cable television with one premium channel. That can eliminate renting videos.

Pack your lunch through the week. This goes for kids and adults. You’d be surprised how much money you spend if you eat out every day. Invest in a lunch bag and an ice block to keep your food cold if you don’t have access to a refrigerator.

Grocery shopping expenses will increase with bag lunches, but you can still save money by buying in bulk. What items do you use quite often around the house? These are the items to buy in bulk to prevent those middle-of-the-week jaunts to the grocery store that weren’t in the budget.

Turn a tedious job into a fun one by letting the entire family get in on the budgeting game. When everyone helps, everyone wins and you save money.

Tags: , , ,

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • Design Float
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
Subscribe   Share/Bookmark