Family Budgeter, the one in charge of managing your family budget and handling finances. If that's you then chances are you sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the responsibility. Believe me, I've been there! You are not alone and I want to share with you a few helpful tips and resources that will help you manage your family budget with confidence.
Family Budgeter Tips- How to Make a Budget
Getting Started – What You'll Need
First, set aside some time where you won't be distracted. Talk to your partner and decide if this is something that you want to focus on together or if it's better handled by you alone. While a healthy financial relationship depends on communication between both people regarding saving and spending, sometimes it's better to leave the details to the person who is more willing and more responsible.
Get organized. Gather your bills and important financial papers, grab a cup of coffee and find a place to spread out. Here are a few handy budgeting tools people find helpful as well:
- a calculator
- ring binder
- file organizer
- labeling stickers
- labeling machine
- Neat receipt machine
- printer and scanner
Also, you need to decide whether you want to write everything out or use a budgeting software program. Financial software can make keeping track and tallying it all up so much easier and there are lots of great options. Many are even free!
Get started. Make two piles, one for incoming and the other for outgoing. The incoming pile should have all your earned income statements and any additional money you count on coming in monthly. The outgoing pile should be all bills, receipts, etc.
Categorize. Create categories so you can easily see where your money is spent. Utilities, Mortgage, Car payment, childcare, insurance, credit cards, gas, groceries, clothing, entertainment. Be honest and write down every single dollar. It's surprising how the little things can add up to big chunks of spending.
Add it all up. Now that you've got a clear view of your cash flow, it's time to take a hard look at where your money could be better managed. Take note of the areas that seem to surprise you, those are probably the first you can start with to make a change. Spending too much money dining out, highlight that category so you know to set a budget amount that will curb your habit.
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Build Your Budget. Armed with an honest assessment of your spending habits you can start to feel in control of your family finances. Work out the numbers until your expenses (outgoing) are less than your income (incoming.)
Put your money to work. Once you've balanced your budget and there's enough leftover, now the real fun begins. Setting short term and long term goals is essential, and much easier when you have a clear plan. Thinking of buying a new home, now you know how much of your additional income you can afford to sock away to save for a down payment. Trying to pay off debt, make a plan to tackle your highest interest cards first and set aside a little more each month to knock those numbers down.
Plan for the future. And of course it's always important to plan for the future. Talk with a financial advisor about what you need to have a strong plan in place for emergencies, your child's education, your retirement and investing in yourself and your dreams.
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