Preparing A Family Budget

Preparing a family budget will help you understand where your money is being spent, ways to better manage personal finances, and how to save cash to meet your financial goals.

Follow our tips to help you create a budget and start saving.

Write down what you spend your money on

The first step to take when thinking about organising a family budget is to find out how much money you spend and what it buys each week. It’s a good idea to keep a diary of all your expenses for a month (or check back through your bank account), which will give you a rough idea of where the money goes!

Once you draw up a budget it will help you take better control of your money and give you tips on where savings can be made.

Set a time frame for your budget

Decide on a time frame for your budget – it could be a weekly, monthly or a yearly plan – depending on the financial goals you’d like to achieve.

Estimate your family’s income

Estimate your weekly, fortnightly, or monthly wages (after tax) plus any other income that you regularly receive. Also include money such as bonuses, income from investments, shares or interest, government benefits and payments.

Analyse your family’s living expenses

Living expenses could be divided into two different categories for your budget – those that are essential (your needs) and those that you like to have (your wants).

The essential costs to list in the budget will include housing, utilities, transport, food, education, and medical expenses.

Your wants are goods and services that you like to have but are not required such as takeaway food, a coffee at work, Pay TV and gifts.

Calculate the difference between your total income and expenses

If you have money left over (you have a surplus and are “in the black”) then additional money could be saved to help meet your financial goals.

If you are over budget (you have a deficit and are “in the red”) it’s time to change your spending habits and re-work your budget.

One of the easiest ways to trim your budget and to save money is to stop buying any unnecessary “extras” that you’ve identified.

Regularly update your budget

It is a good idea to review your budget every six months – especially if circumstances have changed. For example, you might get a pay increase, buy a home, or there may be an addition to the family.

Start planning now

Use our downloadable template as a general budget or as a starting point for your own.

This is a monthly budget. If there are bills/expenses that aren’t paid monthly, just estimate the monthly amount.

This article was created for Kidspot. Sources include Fido and Understanding Money.

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