What is a family budget?
A family budget is a set of instructions or laid-out-in-advance procedures which act as a guide to paying your bills, buying things members of the family need, putting aside some money as savings, and so on and so forth. Nobody in your household should spend any money, outside of an absolute emergency, whenever doing so would cause the household to go over the family budget.
The family budget tells you your financial spending and consumption limits for a given period of time, usually for one month that based upon the following:
- Your household’s total income,
- your debt load (including taxes),
- your regularly occurring expenses such as your electricity or phone bill the lifestyle you want to maintain or realize
All family budgets are intended to help you realize your goals and take care of all immediate needs, such as food, for yourself and your family while at the same time getting your household to make more money than it spends.
What makes a family budget successful?
The cornerstone of a successful family budget, or any budget, is by making sure that more money is brought in than goes out. You cannot realize your financial goals and lifestyle dreams if you and your family members are spending money that you don’t have. If you are living in debt, you must assure that your household income is greater than your consumption expenses every week, month, or yearly quarter. The most important goal of creating the family budget is to get yourself out of debt, and to do so as fast as possible.
How does creating and then maintaining an effective family budget work?
It all begins with preparation and thinking ahead. The word economics literally means “household management” in its Greek root. Apart from making sure all the people in the house gets along decently, the financial part of household management is the most important part.
You should draw up a plan of expenditures and you must follow it. If you do it right, you should be able to maintain your current lifestyle, and have enough money for recreation and leisure (which are important to mental and emotional health). But, maintaining this budget could mean changing certain spending habits. If that’s the case, you and all your family members who are working will need to comply with the family budget.
At least for most of us, money is limited. This means you need to prioritize how you spend your money. When most of your immediate needs are taken care of, your family budget will guide you to pay down your most pressing or outstanding debts first. For the vast majority of people, this will be their mortgage or credit card debt.
Pay Yourself First
Creating a family budget, however, also works on the principle of “paying yourself first”. This means that you put aside as much money as your budget permits toward savings and investments. Your “investments” might be a money market account, CD at your bank, or it might be some stock investments made with the guidance of a financial professional. But at any rate, you must make sure that you take some of your income off the top before you get down to the business of paying the supermarket for your food and then paying the bank for your mortgage.
A Household Budgeting Tool that Works
United First Financial has a proprietary software program called the Money Merge Account This unique software is designed to help you calculate with pinpoint accuracy how to balance your household finances to achieve the maximum debt pay down per period while still meeting all of your household’s financial dreams and goals. The Money Merge Account is an incredible tool that anyone serious about household budgeting should look into.
Stephen Gill is a financial analyst that specializes in debt reduction. Did you know that 3 out of EVERY 4 people who enter a debt relief program fail? Setting a family budget may seem like a no-brainer but most people fail because their static budget is not enough for emergencies and unforeseen expenses. By taking control of your finances and setting budgets for debt reduction you utilize critical ingredients for getting out of debt in the shortest time possible.