Creating and sticking to a budget might not be the most exciting thing in the world to do, but living without the stress of debt might just be. These six family budgeting tips will help you create a budget you can stick to and live with without feeling like it is a super bummer to do so.
Make Your Budgeting Easier with These Family Budgeting Tips
If you’re new to budgeting it can seem tedious and overwhelming at times. Even if you’ve been doing it for awhile, there are always ways to up your game. Either way, these six tips will ensure you’re getting the most out of your budget.
- Don’t budget for no reason – What I mean by this is it is best to have a goal. For example, maybe you want to buy a home or perhaps you’re looking to get your school loans or credit cards paid off.
Whatever your goal might be, you need to have one. Having an end game will help keep you focused and determined to reach it. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty of excuses to kick your budget to the curb and splurge on something you want rather than something you need. This might be one of the most important family budgeting tips of all. No goal = no success.
- Don’t let technology stand in your way – If you’re not tech savvy, there is nothing stopping you from getting out pen and paper and creating a budget that way. Excel spreadsheets and other software programs are great. Heck, I’m an old Excel spreadsheet nerd from way back, but if they’re not your cup of tea, ditch them and go old school.
It isn’t important how you create your budget. What is important is that you just do it.
- Use cash when possible –You’ll find that using cash to pay for items helps you see just how much you are spending. When you use a check card, it is almost as if the money isn’t even real.
You don’t see it go into your bank and you don’t see it go out. With cash, you physically touch the money and watch it leave your hand. It may not seem like a big deal, but it will help register the fact you are spending actual money when you see it disappear before your very eyes.
Bonus Tip: The envelope system works well for spending cash. Once you’ve determined how much you will spend each month for specific items, but that amount of cash in an envelope marked with that category. When the money is gone from the envelope, you stop spending.
- Make adjustments as necessary – Sure, you’ve gone to a lot of trouble and effort to create a budget, but life doesn’t always like to play along with us. Without a doubt, each month will end up being a little different than the last.
Maybe you have a wedding to attend this month that you didn’t know about three months ago when you make your budget or perhaps you have to go out of town to visit a sick relative.
Whatever the reason, things do come up. That’s why you should re-evaluate your budget at the beginning of every month. That doesn’t mean you need to go through the whole process again. Instead, just consider the month before you and determine if there are any adjustments you need to make to your budget.
Then you can move money from one category to another. That way you will be able to meet your responsibilities without messing up all of your hard work.
- Change your billing cycles – You may not realize this, but most of your creditors will change your billing cycle. So, if you find all of your bills are coming due at the same time each month, you might want to give some of them a call.
That way, you can change your billing cycle to have your due dates match when you are paid or whenever works out the best for you.
- Make sure you have a buffer – Not all monthly expenses are fixed. (A fixed expense is just one that is the same amount month after month.) Expenses like your utilities, especially electricity and gas change every month are not fixed expenses.
In the northern states, gas bills can be two or even three times as high in the winter as they are in the summer, and in the southern states electric bills peak during the summer months.
You have a couple of options, for your utilities, you can ask to be put on an equalizer pay system, so you pay the same amount each month.
Another option is to group your bills by season and determine the most you pay for a month during that season and budget that amount for those months.
That means during the peak months you will budget more and during the off-peak months less. It will end up evening itself out over the year.
You should also give yourself a buffer for mad money. This is money you can spend any way you’d like each month. That way you won’t feel deprived and like you can’t do anything fun.
Budgeting is never fun, but with these family budgeting tips, you can make the process a little easier and less unpleasant. Even more important, you’ll find, over time, that you get more out of your budget and will reach your goals sooner. Also, if you have any family budgeting tips, please share the in the comment section. I’d love to hear them.
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