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Develop a personal budget to keep family finances on track. Use a budgeting software program or spreadsheet for easy analysis.
Many families find it is imperative to live on a budget. Developing a personal budget can be time-intensive. It often takes several months of attempting to stick to a budget before it becomes a habit for the family. Creating a budget plan and being adamant about following it can create a more sound financial future for the family.
No matter what system is used, it is important to develop a budgeting system. This can be as simple as pen and paper or as elaborate as an online budget software program or spreadsheet. Use what is easiest and most convenient. Those in the household who make financial decisions should be able to use the program and understand as they will have an impact on the personal budget.
Develop a personal budget by gathering all personal financial documents. To create a budget, pay stubs, as well as all bill amounts, will be needed. Write down a list of all bills that are due monthly. In this list, include bills that happen on a recurring basis. This includes the mortgage, electric, phone, cable, insurance, and vehicles payments. Next, list those bills that can be paid off with proper budgeting skills, such as credit card bills. In the beginning, list the minimum payment amounts for credit cards and other variable payment bills. After all other bills have been accounted for, it may be possible to increase the amount paid to credit card bills.
On a separate list, compile the variable expenses that occur monthly, such as groceries, entertainment, eating out, travel, and prescriptions. These amounts can vary monthly and can also be increased or decreased more easily than monthly bills such as a house payment or electric bill.
After the budget planner system has been determined and expenses have been recorded, enter monthly income after taxes and other allotments have been deducted. Then deduct all expenses, including set bills, variable bills, and extra variable expenses. This will result in a net income amount. This is extra money that can be funneled into savings, a retirement plan, or a debt repayment plan.
Be sure to include a cushion in the event an unexpected bill arises, or an extra tank of gas is needed that month. It is also wise to have a small amount of spending money for each family member that does not have to be accounted for in the monthly budget if this can be done without overspending.
If using a debit card or credit card results in more money being spent on variable expenses such as groceries and entertainment than the budget allows, consider setting up an envelope system. At the first of the month, put cash into an envelope for each category, and spend only that cash for those items. When the money is gone, no more can be spent until the beginning of the next month when the envelope is replenished.
Personal budgeting can be difficult in the beginning, especially if no budgets have been followed in the past. Create a budget, allow for some adjustment time, and financial rewards will soon be recognized. Work together as a family to secure a financial future.