Monday, June 12, 2017

Keeping Your Family Budget Under Control


When you’re a mom with a family to think about, it becomes even more important that you’re able to keep your family’s household budget under control. If you’re forever spending more than you make each month, it’s only a matter of time before things are going to come to a head and you’re going to be unable to meet your most important financial commitments.

If you want to avoid over-spending and ensure that your family is taken care of no matter what, here are some tips to help you get and keep your family budget under control:

Be Accurate

The first step to getting your budget under control is to actually draw up a document if you don’t already have one. When writing up your budget, you will need to get organized and ensure that you accurately record all of your incomings and outgoings for the month. This includes bills, debts, the cost of your kids’ school lunches and even your morning coffees. If you leave out anything, your budget will be inaccurate, and you might still overspend, so get out those receipts, print off your bank statements for the past few months and ensure that every last cent you spend is accounted for.

Give Yourself a Buffer

Once you know how much is coming in and going out each month, you will need to look at your budget to see where savings can be made. Cutting out your morning latte or switching to a cheaper internet service provider might not seem like a huge thing, but it will add up and ensure that you have a bit more to play with than you did before.

Ideally, you should be looking to get rid of enough unnecessary expenses so that you have a 10 percent buffer in your budget. This will help you cover any unexpected expenses such as field trips or important but unexpected purchases. Sure, a cash loan can help you out in unexpected circumstances, but if you have a buffer built into your budget, you won’t need to worry about being accepted for one quite as often as you might otherwise, and you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that most small emergencies will be covered.

Set Up an Emergency Fund

As well as giving yourself a 10 percent buffer, you should also think about setting up a separate emergency fund. Even just putting a few dollars a week into a savings account will soon add up and provide you with a fund you can tap into when more expensive emergencies like the breakdown of appliances or a trip to the vet with the family pet. By having this fund in place, you’ll never have to use some of your monthly budget to cover emergency costs, which is one of the most common reasons why families get into debt or end up overspending at the end of the month.

Withdraw Your Salary as Cash

If you want to avoid over-spending and going over your budget, one thing you could do is to draw out your salary in cash each pay day, leaving enough in your account to cover any automatic bills. Then, if you are paid monthly, split the cash into four and place it in four separate envelopes, one for each week. That way, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to see you through the week, and because you have to actually hand over cash when you do buy something, you won’t be quite as tempted to overspend as you are when you use plastic and it doesn’t feel like you’re spending at all.

Build in Treats

As a busy mom, you deserve a treat now and again, and you’ll probably want to treat your children when they’ve been good too. This is absolutely fine, and any budget should take into account treats and rewards. You just need to cut down on the cost of your treats and perhaps change their frequency to monthly rather than weekly or even daily. When you first start out, it might be difficult to adjust, but you’ll soon find that the longer you wait for treats, the more you appreciate them.

Deal with Your Debts

If debt is one of the big issues that’s causing you to overspend and struggle to make all of your essential payments, you should make tackling it a priority. If, after you’ve streamlined your budget, you have enough cash leftover to do so, start overpaying on your debts, so that they will be cleared more quickly.

You might also want to look into balance transfers and consolidation loans, which will help you to cut the amount of interest you have to pay to as much as zero, depending on which method you use, giving you the breathing space you need to really make a dent in your debts and get your family’s finances back on track.

If you’re struggling to pay your debts at all because there are just too many of them, and all of your cash is going towards paying the bills and ensuring your kids are well fed, getting in touch with a non-profit debt counselling organization should be a big help and could even help you to get some of your debts quashed.

Overspent? Don’t Give Up

If at any point, you fall off the wagon and ignore your budget, instead of feeling disheartened and throwing in the towel, as it is so tempting to do. Write it off as a bad day/week/month and get right back on the horse again. One little splurge might put you out of whack for a little while, but it won’t make your financial situation any worse, providing you get back to following your family budget right after.

Avoid Temptation

Sticking to a budget can be very hard, especially for kids, which is why you should try, if you know that a particular place will cause temptation to rise, try to stay away from anything or anywhere that may cause you temptation. For example, if you usually go to the park near McDonald's, try to find another place for the kids to play, which won’t cause them to pester you for fast food. You shouldn’t give up doing the things you love, but if you can find a better way to do them that won’t tempt you and which will cost you less, it’ll be so much easier to stick to your budget and keep your family’s finances under control.

Are you great at managing your family’s finances? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

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