If you are not very good at sticking to a budget for the whole family, then believe it or not, you are not alone. There are a number of families that spend without a real budget or plan, and even if you think you are good at controlling what you spend, you might not be as good as you think you are. In fact, it has been found that around 60% of people don’t track what they spend, and two-fifths of people have never created or stuck to a budget, according to www.fpsb.org/financial-planning. In the same study it found that around 40% of people used budget tracker tools, but it was to monitor what they spent, rather than having it as a budgeting tool that sets out what you will spend ahead of time.
Creating a budget that will work for your whole family is more than just writing down what you have spent and checking receipts. There are a few crucial steps that are needed for any budget, to help you to clear any debts that you have, as well as pay for everything that you need to pay for. There are sites like www.plenti.com.au that can be helpful if you’re looking to let your money do more for you or when you’re paying for something but don’t want to cover the costs upfront. Of course, this does need to be budgeted for. This is where the crucial steps to making a budget for your family comes in. Here are some of the things that you should remember, to help your family’s budget to thrive.
Have Both Partners On Board
If you are in a two-parent household, then you need to bring in both partners into setting and creating the budget. A budget isn’t going to work well if it is only set by one person and you’re both not on the same page. You need to have a talk about the money that is coming in and going out, and both talk about the areas where costs need to be cut back, if relevant. You should also talk about any individual financial goals, as well as shared financial goals. There should be an honest dialogue about this, but there shouldn’t be judgment or criticism. You are likely to want to spend money in different ways to each other, but just criticizing those choices isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. The same goes for if one partner likes to save more cash, that should work too. Talk openly and then you will be in a better position to start setting and creating your budget.
Track Your Income And Expenses
Before you start to write and create a budget, it is important to understand what your current financial situation is. A good place to start is to look at three month’s worth of expenses, to see where money was spent, how much was spent, and then go from there. This can be a big step in seeing if you are just losing money anywhere in particular, such as empty spending or direct debits that you had forgotten about. If there are any ‘leaks’ of money, then you can adjust your content accordingly.
Many banks and credit card companies have apps that you can use that will collate this information for you, so it doesn’t have to feel like a long or drawn out process. It does need to be done, though, otherwise you have no idea where you are with your finances.
Evaluate Your Current Financial Situation
As you start to think about your spending, you need to put them into categories that will help you to divide things between needs and wants. Anything related to housing, such as your bills, and mortgage or rent, should go under housing. Other areas could be entertainment or debt management if you have some outstanding debts to pay. When you have a good overall view of what you are spending in each area, then it will help you to assess these expenses and work out which are fixed expenses and if there are some that will change throughout the year (such as around holidays, for example). Savings is also a good category to have too; how much could you put into that category each month?
Build Your Savings
Speaking of savings, having savings is something that is a real priority. If you have money left over at the end of each month, then it could do much more for you if you put it into a savings account. Even a little extra interest each month can make a difference, and will build up an emergency fund for those circumstances that can often come up when you have a family. Having a savings fund that has around three to six month’s worth of living costs can be helpful, in case of job loss. You could always just keep the fund going, and use it for the children in the future, for example.
If you are employed, then it is a good idea to look into a retirement or pension plan with your employer. When you have this kind of thing in place, it can help you later down the line, and be a good way to put money aside, without you having to do a whole lot.
Check-In On A Regular Basis
As soon as you have a budget, it should help to serve as a bit of a road map for how your family will spend money as you go forward. In order to really be an effective budget for your family, then it needs to be in-line with your current circumstances and needs. The important thing to remember is that over time the circumstances and situation for your family will change. When children are out of diapers there will be no need to factor things like that in, but you might need to adjust for repayments for a new car instead, as an example. That is why checking in on a regular basis, to see if your needs have changed and if you need to adjust things, makes a big difference to the success of sticking to your budget.
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