If You are Low on Money Now, Creating a Family Budget can Help

If You are Low on Money Now, Creating a Family Budget can Help

Getting Down to Business

If you are low on money now you are not alone. There are many families who are struggling to make ends meet these days. One thing that can help, if you have not done this already, is to create a family budget. Unless your kids are small, getting everyone together in one place is an important first step. If older children are spending part of the family income then they really need to be part of the discussion. It is important that everyone understands the new spending habits and the importance of the decisions.

Write it Down

Photo from Picasa

Photo from Picasa

The first thing you need to do when you decide to create a family budget is to begin tracking all of your expenses. Keep track of every little thing that each family member spends. You will also need to keep close tabs on the amount of money coming in from all sources too. For household bills you will need to add up a year’s worth and average them out to a monthly cost. These details are important because they are the building blocks of your budget.

Time to Reconvene and Crunch some Numbers

Now that you have the basics written down it is time to bring the family back together to discuss the findings. This is the time to determine which expenses are necessary and which you can go without. Obviously there are some essentials that cannot be eliminated such as rent/mortgage, utilities, food basics, etc. Those expenses must be marked down first. Then it is time to examine the rest of the areas where money is being spent. Clearly, if the family is short on money now there are some expenses that must go, at least for the time being. Ensure that each member of the family understands this and that the budget is for the overall good of the family. Each family member should be given a chance at this time to explain why they feel certain purchases are important.

Try to Think Creatively

Of course there are some items that are essential, but sometimes there can be modifications made to even these costs. Food is clearly a necessity, but can often be altered to fit a budget. For instance, if family members are buying meals while they are away at school or work they can start to pack lunches to take with them. If the family has frequent dinners out or order in regularly, switching to preparing meals at home can save a lot of money. If anyone in the family has a coffee shop addiction you can buy a few inexpensive items to make special coffees at home, such as a French press, frother and flavoring syrup. With utilities money can still be saved by making sure everyone is turning off lights when they leave a room, taking shorter showers, washing clothes in cold water and other such energy saving ideas.

Make Cuts, but Don’t Cut too Deep

Try to free up enough money now so that you can put at least a little away and, if you have debt, put some towards that each month too. Try to leave a bit of room for some fun too. Maybe factor in one dinner out a month or a family pizza night. Often times people give up on their budgets because they make them too restrictive.

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