Whether economic times are good or at a downturn, preparing and sticking to a budget helps a family control their financial situation. A budget helps a family know what they are spending each month. A family can choose from a variety of different forms and methods to calculate a reasonable budget.
A household budget creates a guide that a family can use when spending and saving the money the breadwinners gain. It calculates monthly income and expenditures down to the smallest detail. A good budget provides an allowance for incidental expenses and emergencies that may occur during the course of the month or year. Most families use a budget to figure where they can make cuts to increase their savings or pay for large expenses such as furniture and vacations
Expense trackers help families to calculate hidden expenses that families typically overlook such as eating out or gasoline. A form will provide columns for each of kind of expense a family encounters. The most detailed budget forms may use different columns to indicate a personal budget for each family member, allowing parents to monitor their children's expenses. A budget planning form should help a family establish both long- and short-term goals for saving and spending.
A debt worksheet lists the family creditors and helps calculate current debt and interest rates. Daily expense trackers help families calculate every penny they spend on a daily basis by including fields for overlooked expenses such as food and gas. An annual worksheet helps plan specifically for expenses that occur once a year such as certain taxes, insurances, tuitions and warranties. Some companies offer free online software that will prompt an individual to enter certain types of expenses. For those who prefer to work with paper and pencil, you may find downloadable and printable forms for budget planning
Budget planning helps families reduce spending that is spiraling out of control and change detrimental spending habits. Some families think a budget will restrict their freedom, but it does the opposite by allowing a family to focus on expenses that give them the greatest satisfaction. Many families find that by using a budget, they are able to better their credit rating or save up for things they otherwise couldn’t afford, such as the purchase of a home or new car. Families put themselves in a better position to manage through unforeseen events such as job loss or illnesses.
When calculating your income for the month, only figure four weekly paychecks. You can use the extra paycheck to cover expenses that you have the ability to adjust such as the purchase of gifts or clothing. If you earn a commission, estimate your income by averaging the commission you made last year over 12 months. When preparing a household budget, being realistic is vital. Setting a budget with unfair or unrealistic expectations will leave your family frustrated, and cause them to give up on a spending and savings plan entirely.
- Our Family Place: A Family Budget
- Better Budgeting: Successful Budgeting for Those Who Hate to Budget
- Federal Trade Commission. "Making a Budget - What It Is." Accessed June 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Financial Terms Glossary - Fixed Expenses." Accessed June 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Financial Terms Glossary - Variable Expenses." Accessed June 6, 2020.
Nicole Whitney started freelance writing in 2008, with articles published on various websites. She has worked as a spa therapist and consultant. She participates in a volunteer program and writes on subjects related to the beauty industry. She graduated from the International School of Skin, Nails and Massage in Atlanta.