Have you ever had to "make a plan" when times got really tough?
A family budget!
WHERE TO START.
Return from the Family Budget page to the Frugal Living Home Page
- Draw a bank statement, going as far back as possible (3-4 months) and start keeping ALL receipts in order to get a bit of "inside" information on your spending as a family.
Your hubby must be in on it too! This is very important, you guys are in this together, and he must be as determined as you to make your family budget work!
Before drawing up our household budget, this is what I did...
5 BUDGET GUIDELINES
There are five basic good habits I try to instill in myself in order to make living on a budget easier:
- Categorise every cent spent.
The whole idea behind making a household budget is to "track" your spending - so that it doesn't just disappear into one big black hole. List items under categories like "household" and sub categories like "groceries", "household products & toiletries" etc.
Rent / Mortgage
- Keep a spend diary.
In the past I often found that I couldn't categorise some of the money spent. Mainly because I didn't know what on earth I had spent it on!(oooh, that darn black hole again!) But I then started to diarise every cent spent and I mean every last cent - no matter how small. Andyou won't believe how quickly those "little" things just seem to add up. I was horrified, to say the least.
- Don't spend more than you earn.
When I looked at my spend diary, not only did I realise that we often spent more than we had but also often spent money on unnecessary luxuries.I stopped those spur of the moment "coffee and a sandwich moments" and my husband stopped going to his local cafeteria for his daily "coke and crisps" fix.
- If you don't need it, don't buy it!
I often used to fall in the trap of buying something simply because it was "great value for money" or on sale! Even when it wasn’t on my shopping list to start with.Don't fall in the same trap! It is of course a complete different story if it is something that you use often, like nappies for example or toilet paper. And if,buying it now will save you a lot of money vs. waiting until it's time to do your usual monthly shop.
- Live simply.
I don't think there's a better way to put this... Simple, uncomplicated living not only saves you a lot of money and headaches (trying to keep up with the Jones')but will help put you in a more "frugal mindset." Rather than upgrading your car, try downscaling to a more fuel efficient vehicle.
And when you get a raise or bonus, instead on spending it - why not rather save it or pay all your outstanding debt off? You'll sleep much better at night.And save what you can, even if in the beginning, you're only able to save 1% of your salary per month - that's a start. And we all have to start somewhere.
Here's a great tip. When you get that long awaited raise, adjust your budget according to inflation etc. but then continue as normal. Now save that extra bit youearn per month!
Great! Now that we've set the groundwork for a few good habits to take root....
draw up a budget.