Adult-ing can be hard, from parenting to managing finances with the expectation that we should be able to manage our money effectively. For many this can be hard work and extremely overwhelming, especially if you weren’t taught how to do it. However, creating a budget helps give you a complete understanding of your finances now and in the future. Budgeting won’t help you earn more money, but it will help you to manage the money you do have effectively.
Whether you’re needing money for school fees, wanting to pay out a loan or just curious on how you are spending all your money, it may be time to sit down and work out a family budget. This will help you organise your financial priorities and balance your saving and spending habits.
All those years ago (15 years ago) when I was pregnant, the choice of becoming a stay at home mum and reducing the family income to one wage was a huge adjustment. I am sure so many feel the same. We had to reduce our spending to help stretch the money we had coming in each month to ensure we paid all the bills on time. I needed to determine:
- How much income was coming in
- How much our bills were each month
- The cost of raising our newborn twins (nappies, formula, clothes, etc.)
- All our other expenses
Creating a family household budget will help you save money and will make family life a little more relaxed. A budget will help you plan and gives you a vision that you can achieve your financial goals. This in itself will motivate you to reduce your spending.
STEP 1 – DETERMINE WHAT YOU SPEND
Find the time to sit down and prepare your budget to work on a future financial plan. Do this with your partner so that you are both accountable.
We are typically aware of the big regular expenses, such as mortgage and electricity, but it’s the little purchases such as takeaway coffee, lunches out, clothes, homewares (I’m a #kmartaddict), etc. that all unexpectedly add up.
Sort your expenses into categories such as shopping, entertainment, utilities, etc.
- If you keep receipts, go back through your receipts and write down how you spent your money.
- If you typically use your debit/credit card for your purchases, go through your statement to find your spending habits.
- Keep track of every purchase for the next 30 days so you can accurately work out your spending habits.
- Brainstorm what you regularly spend your money on.
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STEP 2 – COMPARE AGAINST THE FAMILY INCOME
Now you need to compare your expenses against the family income.
- Add up the totals of each expense category
- Create a total sum of your expenses
- Then subtract it from your monthly family income
If you are spending more than the total income, you will definitely benefit from budgeting.
STEP 3 – MAKE SOME FINANCIAL GOALS
Create some realistic financial goals, this will give you something to work towards and help you stick to your budget. Goal ideas:
- Pay off the credit cards
- Pay off the mortgage
- Kids’ education
- Family holiday
- New car
- New home
We are currently saving for a family holiday to America! I recommend creating a vision board so that your goal is always front and centre for the whole family to see and help you achieve.
FREE DOWNLOAD – You can download my financial goals printable here.
STEP 4 – CREATE YOUR FAMILY BUDGET
Based on your expenses, income and finance goals create a budget that will help you identify which spending habits need to be revised to help you pay your bills on time and achieve your goal.
There are many different ways you can create a budget:
- Exercise book and pen
- Online accounting programs
- Spreadsheet on your computer
- or use The Organised Housewife Household Budget Spreadsheet.
THE ORGANISED HOUSEWIFE HOUSEHOLD BUDGET SPREADSHEET – An easy to use family household budget for Microsoft Excel. It is an essential tool for all families that are serious about tracking their spending and wanting to save. This spreadsheet will help you compare your actual spending to your intended budget each month. Read more about the Household Budget here.
CREATING A BUDGET TIPS:
- Set aside some uninterrupted time to start your budget.
- Be honest with the figures when budgeting. Remember the little of things you spend money on, as it’s always these that add up.
- Have all your bills, rent receipts/mortgage statements and payslips on hand so you can easily add in these details
- Don’t forget to include items such as haircuts, manicures, play gym entrance fees, etc to your budget.
- When starting to budget, it’s a good idea to keep receipts for everything. This is so you can get a really good idea of the actual money you are spending.
- For little items paid for with cash where a receipt is not received, keep a notebook and pen in your handbag to keep track of these expenditures.
- When the actual amounts have been put into the budget, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s now time to look at where you are overspending and work on these areas.
Consider adding the following to your budget so you aren’t having to dip into your savings:
- Incorporate contingency expenses into your budget for unexpected medical or car costs.
- Household items that may need replacing such as washing machines, fridge, etc.
- Purchases for birthday and Christmas gifts
- Expenses for upcoming holiday
STEP 5 – REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS
- 1st month – Monitor your budget to ensure you have realistically added in your correct expenses.
- 2nd month – Your budget will start to become top-of-mind when you are spending.
Sit down each month and review your spending against your allocated budget. It will help you determine the areas where you may still be overspending and perhaps need to make some adjustments to your in budget. ie. You’ve budgeted $100 a week on groceries but realistically it’s not possible, so increase it and look at saving in another area (less takeaway dinner or coffee, etc.)
Regularly reviewing your budget will ultimately help you reach your financial goals. Knowing exactly how much you want to spend will relieve the stress of living on one wage (…and can determine if you can afford to splurge when there is a sale on clothes!). Keep up with my series for more budgeting tips.
What category do you find you can easily overspend in?