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SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THE FAMILY BUDGET

The way we organize our family budget can take some getting used to. Especially as children begin to be a part of your family. For many of us we go down to one income and yet have more people in the house! Thank goodness they drink milk while we adjust! 

family budget planning - the four jars principle

HELPFUL TIPS FOR THE FAMILY BUDGET...

1. Re-evaluate your needs and wants. Do you really need the magazine subscriptions, the gym memberships and all the other things you might be involved in as an individual? With little ones around we need to get used to a season of enjoying some new and different activities (I am still adjusting to this!) together rather than on our own.

That’s not to say, as a family on a budget, that we can’t have time out but can a walk or time to read a good book give you the boost you need without spending the extra money?

Look at all the areas of your life from Entertainment, the type of food you buy, where you buy your food and clothes, and how and where you travel. Look also at your spending personality and adjust if necessary. Are you a saver, a splurger, a spontaneous shopper or a hoarder? Become smarter with your money and avoid impulse buying. To help you evaluate your needs and wants read through some of these great Family Budget Money Saving Ideas. 

2. Set realistic goals. Setting goals in your family budget means you can work towards doing or getting things that are important to you. It could be a family holiday together or getting a bigger car to accommodate everyone! There are some guidelines to setting budgeting goals though.

  • Be Specific in what the goal is
  •  Make sure you can measure what it’s going to cost so you know what you need to work towards.
  • It’s got to be achievable or you will get frustrated and end up splurging on something else. If it’s going to take you two years to save up for the holiday you have chosen and you are already exhausted, maybe choose a cheaper holiday option so you can experience it sooner.
  • Be realistic. Know how much you have to put towards your goal, know your own skills and resources you have.
  • Set the time frame for when you want to achieve the goal.

When you put all these elements into place, you can track how you are going towards achieving your family budgeting goals and you’ll find greater fulfilment when you have achieved your goal. 

3. Know where you are at financially. It’s time to re-look at all the bills, the responsibilities, expenses and also the income you receive. Just like organizing a home, when you organize a budget you need to make a list of all the items you spend money on during the year.

Sort the items then into a list of Priority Expenses, Living Expenses and Savings. Check out How to Plan a Budget for more information on that. You must be able to answer the following questions about your family budget…

  1. How much money is in your everyday bank account? (to the nearest $1000)
  2.  What do you spend on living expenses each month (to the nearest $100)
  3. How much do you owe on personal debt (to the nearest $500)
  4. How much to do you owe on your mortgage? (to the nearest $1000)
  5. What fees do you pay on your bank accounts
  6. When are your regular household bills due like phone, water, rates, electricity?
  7. What interest do you pay on your debts?
  8. How much is in your superannuation fund (to the nearest $1000)

Unless you are aware of these areas, you will not be completely in control of your finances and making it work for you as well as it could be. 

4. Make sure you pay yourself first. And by this, I don’t mean give yourself $100 to spend for the week. I mean put aside money for your savings budget first.

My husband and I are determined to be self-sufficient and ‘retired’ before the normal age of 65. Not because we want to slack off and live it up, but because we have a passion for helping people. Some of the stuff we want to do, you can’t work a normal full time job at the same time. So our goal is to get to a point where our money is earning the regular income for us. Check out these four steps to creating a home budget that also creates wealth!

For us to get to that point though, we have to put away those savings each week as our first priority. Your goals will be different but they should still have that first priority. Actually, to be honest, giving is our first priority and savings is our second priority but you can find out more about how vital this is in Craig Hill's book called: Wealth Secret's 96% of Us Don't Know.

5. Finally, be prepared for the unexpected. People get sick, wachine machines break down and car engines blow up (don't I know it!). And when it happens we think the world is against us. But no, it happens to everyone, we just need to organize our finances for the unexpected!

So, on top of giving, saving, paying the bills and living (in that order!) how do I prepare for the unexpected? This is my weakest area too…

  1. Don’t try to get everything brand new. And that is for anything you need to buy. Clothes, gifts, household items, tools etc. Check out local papers, the Trading post, Ebay, garage sales. Yes it will take longer to find what you want. Or sometimes you just need to be less fussy!
  2. Just make a decision that one of your important bills is “unexpected disasters” and keep feeding a small amount of money into that budget account each week. When you need it, even if it’s not enough, it will take the pressure off at least
  3. Reduce your spending. Just don’t take your credit card with you and then you can’t buy it! Or only carry cash for the amount of money you have designated for that budget time. When it’s gone, it’s gone. It will stop you going over your budget. It’s amazing how much more protective we are of cash than credit money! 

To keep your budget in line and find great information on home repair you can do yourself, visit www.letsfixupyourhome.com . Lets Fix Up Your Home.com offers help and ideas on all kinds of home repair, landscape ideas and home energy efficiency. A great way to keep your budget on track.

So hopefully that will get you started on organizing your family budget. The next step before we build or review our budget is to look at How we can be Wiser with our Money. 
It’s important that we know the best way to structure our family budget plan and make it work for us.

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