When income enters the family bank account, it’s likely most of the money is delegated to the many expenses that go into maintaining a home and family. Keeping a close eye on where the money goes can mean the difference between living comfortably and struggling to make ends meet. Here are five different ways you can budget your family income better, and ensure that you aren’t spending more than what’s absolutely necessary.
Ways to Budget
Assess Each Purchase with a Level of Necessity
Make it a habit to ask yourself a simple question before making each and every purchase. Before you swipe your card for anything, simply ask yourself, “Does anyone in my family truly need this?” Of course, things like school supplies, gas, basic foods, and other purchases are necessary. However, as you continue to employ this technique, you will find that there are things you are purchasing you could definitely live without.
Fine-tune Your Monthly Bills
Every family should take careful thought to their monthly and annual expenses. Where are places you can cut back or get a better price? Contact your cable company and see if you can get a smaller package without extra channels. Ask if you can get a discounted price from a company you’ve been with for a while. Most of the time they will be happy to work with you to keep customers loyal. With new healthcare legislation it can be beneficial to re-evaluate your family’s plan as well to make sure you are getting the best rate. Make use of online calculators to find out what you can expect to pay for healthcare and where you can save. Check places you can cut back or get a better deal at least yearly.
Use Budget Software
Save yourself the grief and agony of trying to record and calculate all of your expenses by just using budget software. Budget software neatly organizes your data, and it can automatically calculate metrics and generate reports. This will keep all of your expense sheets and checking accounts in one place, making it easy for you to see where your money is coming and going.
Watch ATM Usage
There’s nothing wrong with using the ATM when you’re in need of cash, but once you have cash in your hands, it’s hard to keep track of where each and every penny goes. Try to restrict your ATM usage to once a week at the most.
Create a Safety Net
Lastly, make sure you are setting money aside each month to allow for an emergency fund. Emergencies can, and do happen, and it can be hard to factor them into your existing budget when it’s too late. Keep a fund in a separate bank account for when things financially take a turn for the worst.
Overall, budgeting really comes down to creating goals and making sacrifices. There are certainly areas in everyone’s lives that could use a bit of financial fine-tuning. Examine where your money is going, and essentially assess whether or not you need some of those things to stay afloat.
written by: Brooke Chaplan