When you’re broke and struggling just to pay the bills having someone around you upset because they don’t have the money to shop or show off is really upsetting. There is something that can be done to ensure that you’re living within your means such as developing and sticking to a family budget. The idea of budgeting might make you want to cry but it’s easy and can help you to live more comfortably than you would without a budget.
Developing a sensible budget is the only way that you’re going to stick to it. Knowing that you can’t spend or save more than you make will go a long way in having a budget that makes sense. Whether your family has two people or ten a realistic budget can mean that you breath easier when it comes time to pay the bills. All of the monthly expenses, occassional expenses, groceries and emergency funds must be included to make the budget realistic, the sensible part comes when you reduce your overall expenses and begin to save money.
Listing all of the expenses and averaging those that only come occassionally will show you how much you spend in reality. The amount of income you have coming into your home should be more than your expenses if you are going to develop a sensible budget that you can stick to. When you have all the incoming bills determined you can begin to find areas where they can be reduced. Be sure to examine each one carefully as you go through them.
For instance the utility bill, cable, Internet and phone bill can all be reduced. The Internet can be reduced by shopping around for a cheaper provider as can the cable bill. You might be able to combine phone, cable and Internet to get a smaller bill for the three of them. The utility bill can be made the same each month by going to budget billing so you know exactly what you spend. If your area doesn’t offer budget billing you can reduce electricity usage in the home by making some rules about its usage. Your family might take a while to get used to the rules but eventually you’ll all be on the same page and the savings will be amazing.
Once you have the monthly bills covered it’s time to purchase groceries. The amount spent on groceries will be determined largely by the number of people in the household and what you eat. Developing a family budget for groceries and sticking to it are often two completely different things but it can be done. You need to keep a list of the items you need but not before setting a specific amount to spend on groceries each month.
Then you must remember to budget in money for household items and clothing for the family. Setting this amount aside and watching for sales will help the budget to stretch farther. You can also pass clothing from one family member to the other they are outgrown. (Saving this amount each month will help you to prepare for those once a year sales so you can get the kids enough clothing to last a few months at least.)
Developing and sticking to a family budget also includes savings as well. You should put in a minimum amount of savings each payday which will help to build an emergency fund. Setting goals as you make your budget will help you to stick to it. Developing and sticking to a family budget isn’t difficult but it does take determination.