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How to Set Up a Family Budget Part 2

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If you are paid weekly, divide each budget item into 4. Cash flow management will form a big part of your fiscal strategy, once you have put your budget pen to paper and mapped out the needs and requirements. Utilize your cash, checking and savings account (if applicable) to pay for expenses. Do not pay your bills with your credit card!

Keep track of all your discretionary spending. A financial diary for a week is always a good idea to scribble down in every time you withdraw money, pay for something or open your purse without thinking.

This will provide you with insights you did not have before on where the money actually goes.

It will also carry within it, clues to adjust budget lines if actual cost is higher on certain items.

Spending patterns and behaviors will emerge that might surprise or shock you!

Having some wriggle-room and discretionary spending is always motivation. The occasional treat and indulgence, special night out or other family activity is that more enjoyable, if you know you have worked hard to earn it and deserve a pat on the back for all your fiscal responsibility and discipline!

Always keep one eye on the future folks... budgets might need to change again and again for a variety of reasons. You can never feel you have "arrived" completely and that your budget is set in stone. Family and life often throws us a curve ball or two, banks, service providers, government and fate sometimes do too!

Changing budgets should not be a source of frustration for you; it actually shows you that your family budgeting process is actually working. It is a real-time pulse and mechanism to capture these changes, which will leave you prepared and informed, ready to act and respond appropriately. This impetus for change can come from different sources.

Here are some examples: Change of income, goals, rising prices, goals reached, family growing, moving and or relocating to a new place, family getting smaller, new spending habits, change in lifestyle or unplanned 25 expenses.

If you can stick with it and see it through a family budget can help you meet your goals, get and stay out of debt, pay your bills on time, every time, keep track of your spending, cut costs and stretch your dollar to the max!

HINTS, TIPS, TOOLS AND TRICKS FOR SETTING UP A FAMILY BUDGET.

"Creating a budget" captures in its expression and meaning, both the excitement and the apprehension most of us feel when we have to face our financial situation and or lack of apprehension most of us feel when we have to face our financial situation and or lack of planning and accountability in that area planning and accountability in that area.

Most businesses would fail if they ran like we manage our household incomes sometimes. This is not a natural thing for people to want to do. It falls into that 'I will if I really have no choice'

kind of categories.

However, worth mentioning is that we spend most of our waking hours at work, earning the cash we need to get by and cover our living expenses. Then, we do not take the time to plan what to do with it. We just respond, spend and move on, spiraling, circling around, aimlessly and oblivious mostly about the state of our financial affairs.

This is obviously not true for some of us, for whom planning and organizing comes naturally and budgeting is like second nature and breathing, we just do not think about it, get it done and then barely spare it a second thought. Both these types of approaches can hurt us in the long run.

Our society has also become so fast-paced and focused on success, that we sometimes lose sight of the future perspective, enjoying life and what we do have. We cannot really focus on our own financials for lots of "excuses", sorry reasons we provide like: trouble slowing down, taking a step back and evaluating our financial situations or not knowing how to set up a family budget.

One of the first hints or tips we provide is advocating fiscal awareness. This means evaluating openly, freely and honestly where things are at today for your finances and household. This means evaluating openly, freely and honestly where things are at today for your finances and household.

The whole purpose and goal of creating or setting up a family budget is to enlighten and alleviate 26 money pressures. Utilizing a tool that can a.s.sist you in getting back onto the road to financial freedom, fiscal responsibility and financial, budgetary health, positive cash flow, with money to spare would be the ideal work-tool to grasp and grab! As the previous pages have shown the process in itself is not altogether that difficult.

You can certainly see how this real-time, 'dollar and expenditure tracker' can a.s.sist you to be agile and respond to market, family and monetary pressure, changes and crises. Continue to revise and update your budget as your needs, family and circ.u.mstances change.

Money is such a daily necessity and ever-present in our comings and goings. There is no escaping it. It is everywhere and needed anywhere and all over. We have different currencies, structures, procedures and all around the world, but in the end, it is the currency that makes the world go round, fueling the global economy.

Seen from that perspective, we often feel that taking control of our own finances and expenditures will not have much of an impact, as we are all at the mercy of the wheels and gear of a churning economical machine, with government and banking rules, regulations, trade and principles, ethics and decision-making that affects our quality of life. However, this is simply not the case!

Good money management skills in the household is crucial, not only for survival and good financial state of affairs, it teaches our children how we think handling money should be taken care of. They watch us so closely.

We model certain behaviors, spending patterns, discipline or maybe throwing all caution to the wind with credit card spending, debt and reminder notices all over the house, creditors calling, afraid to walk to the mailbox to remove the bills, and more.

What chance do our children have to end up entangled in that spiraling and vicious circle we spoke about earlier? Money in, money out?

How do we get to the point where family budgeting is a learning tool to help us teach our kids to work better with their funds? Whether through allowances, mutual savings goals, their own account or more, as parents we have an opportunity to instill some solid financial skills early on in life that will a.s.sist them later, as they work toward their independence and family budgets of 27 their own!

Do some of your own soul-searching before you start your budgeting process. How motivated are you to plan, set-up and stick to a family budget? Would you do it now? Today? If you knew how?

Then let us get started, together. There are lots of practical suggestions for setting up a family or household budget. We will never be able to cover them or the mechanics and intricacies all here at once. You will however continue to find in these pages valuable insights and t.i.t-bits to help you pursue better fiscal management and cash flow, budgeting in general.

It is all about making your dollar go further. Investing in the time and effort that it will take to get to that point of greater financial security and possibly even have a surplus take to get to that point of greater financial security and possibly even have a surplus eventually! eventually!

1: Take stock and face the facts head-on, honestly and with serious commitment, drive and purpose. a.s.sessing your own capital worth and a.n.a.lyzing your home life and situation from a financial perspective is of utmost importance.

2: Plot your own course. Formulate some financial goals and lay out your own roadmap on how to get where you need and want to be financially speaking.

3: Take a thorough, critical and factual look at your fiscal situation and status. Unbiased and honest is best. Get a most recent credit report and look over your bank and credit cards statements, tax returns and other financial sources of information: stock portfolio, RRSP's and more.

Get a financial planner to a.s.sist you if you are unsure about what to use and include or not in this a.s.sessment. You might also want to take a broader perspective and discuss retirement, priorities, insurance needs, will and testament and more, because, like financials, we never seem to take 28 these crucial life planning tasks and to do very seriously and barely give them second thought or time of day! The time is now and the place is here to take control of your financial situation and life.

4: Committing the time and effort to build your financial action and spending plan, budget and goals should get priority and might just be the most valuable undertaking and time well spent, not wasted you might ever set aside!

5: Think of how you define your own financial worth. Reflect on what it is, what you base it on.

Is it concrete data and fact, perception or maybe even a wild guess or estimate? Income, savings and all of your other a.s.sets work together to give you the whole fiscal picture.

This side of the balance sheet for most people remains fixed and is relatively easy to do, when they put their minds to it.

6: Always remember that this process and doc.u.ment known as a family budget is only going to be as good as the data and updates you provide! When acquiring new a.s.sets, ensure that this side of the balance sheet is strengthened appropriately!

7: Adjust your focus slightly to more in-depth and longer term. We live so much in the moment, especially if we purchase things or spend our money. We just look at the cost today and do not think of interest over time and this being the total cost of course.

8: Actually setting financial goals will also energize you, give you a reason to work towards something meaningful. You might even start to enjoy uncovering opportunities for frugal choices, 'penny-pinching' and what we prefer to call creative savings techniques!

9: Become financially literate and master the family budget process, tools and worksheets, spending logs. Demystify some of the complexities and just try some fiscal responsibilities, without being overwhelmed by the intricacies of calculations and more.

Remember, there is always professional help out there, once you have gotten started, completed the grunt and groundwork to move in and on to a comprehensive consultation with a personal, professional financial planner, who can explain the lay of the land, impact of your situation and plan in more detail.

29.Most of them will offer the first consultation free to a.s.sess your situation for you. Most of them utilize state-of-the-art software and technology industry-related and customized tools that shed light on even the darkest situation, to find a little ray of hope and a couple of dollar at the end of the tunnel. There is a way out of the abyss.

10: Family budgeting can be used to teach you good fiscal habits: get in the habit of paying in cash, using your credit cards only for emergencies.

Learn how to stop buying on impulse and use your willpower to walk away, say no thank you and leave it at that. Shop at wholesale and discount department stores. Respect your budget limits and stick to it. Buy generic medicine and support your discount pharmacy.

Always try to find ways to supplement your income, part-time jobs, your own business or rent a room or floor in your house, offer storage, invest in real estate and take in a boarder or tenant.

Turn your thermostat way down in your house and turn off a few lights. Winterize your house from top to bottom. Eliminate and treat areas where heat and energy is lost. Cut back on home and cell phone use. Check insurance policies shop around and raise your deductible to lower your monthly bill.

In isolation, these probably do not have a lot of impact individually, but when they are combining in a well-planned, cleverly executed family budget, with discipline and consistency, they will start to make a difference and you will start to see the benefits and impact on your bottom line.

11: A family budget is a learning tool and process to empower individuals and families to better self-manage their financial resources, spending, cost cutting and household finances. In general You will be able to set-up your own personal or family budget.

By tackling the skill and mastery of smart budgeting, you will have a greater understanding eventually of exactly where and by how much, you need to adjust expenses to either live adjust expenses to either live within your means within your means or or know how much extra you need to maintain your current lifestyle know how much extra you need to maintain your current lifestyle.

12: Other family budgeting process steps will require you to be able to identify and categorize all your expenses and, coupled with an easy to set-up and follow filing system, create the 30 backdrop and framework for all future budgeting and fiscal planning at home or elsewhere.

13: Family budgeting is not something that is taught by parents or schools; however it is such a simplistic concept, process and task that it is almost unthinkable that we are not placing greater focus on it these days.

In the end, it is all about what you DO, to make ends meet, which implies action. To be in charge of your finances; family budgeting gives you a sense of real understanding and control over your money, not the other way around. Money is a 'tool' and life necessity but it does not prescribe how you should live or spend it.

14: Family budgets allow you to gain knowledge you would otherwise not have had at your fingertips, concerning your own and family finances.

For example: Knowing where and what expenses you can affect or effectively change, to cut costs appropriately, timely and immediately in certain cases is very helpful.

15: To enable your family budgeting process set up an easy and orderly log, record-keeping and filing system; and make spending notes often to track your money and habits. Trust me, we do not know where all our money goes. We are just certain of one thing and that it slips through out fingers, hands and pockets, cards and plastic, fast!

16: Understanding, explaining and sharing the benefits of good budgeting with others is pivotal, to get them on-board and partic.i.p.ating actively in the family budgeting process. Ask for their ideas and input. Two heads are better than one in most cases. They might think of savings opportunity, consolidations and or things to do without, that you did not even think about or considered for a second!

17: Here are some more family budgeting summary steps to remember: - Identify and categorize all expenses look at categories and line items, types and timing of expenses, amounts and budget accordingly. Remember categories like miscellaneous, discretionary, maintenance, emergency and others. These will also provide you with a little more flexibility when you do have to ma.s.sage your money, budget and cash flow processes to meet need, demands and change.

31.- It is of utmost importance that we are able as family budgeters to allocate and adjust expense items, prioritize need with foresight, discretion, informed choice and empowered confidence, stemming from core and in-depth knowledge and accurate information.

- Practice utilizing a basic budgeting framework and recording method in your family budgeting and formulate your very own personal and or simple 'Home Budget' or rough first draft of your financial situation a kind of YOU ARE HERE situational a.n.a.lysis.

Chances are you will see and learn something you did not know before.

- Even if you feel you just have a basic understanding of budgeting and how it can improve your own management of your own and household finances will make a difference. Take the time out to explore and try putting your first one together, following the steps given earlier in this booklet.

This guide and its content, will appeal to almost anybody: - anyone who recognizes the need to budget; - those who have never or not yet learnt how to budget; - individuals or groups who are looking for a first-step debt-consolidation strategy and technique, - someone who has come into some money through a lottery, casino win, gift or inheritance and want to ensure they know how to budget properly before they start spending left, right and centre.

- It is good for moms , dads, grandparents, children, friends and families to do.

- It fosters independence and fiscal responsibility, accountability and stewardship.

- Even those with reasonable income, now receiving less, will find some answers here.

- The one who needs to understand expenses that need to be adjusted; and - even those who prefer to feel and be in control of their expenses.

- Family budgeting enables them to be in the position to know where they need to modify their lifestyle and make significant adjustments to ensure a bright and happy financial future.

Some of the most important process elements and content pieces of family budgeting to read 32 more about, study, learn and practice, hone and refine are: - A fundamental understanding of the principles, merits and mechanics of budgeting and the budgeting process itself. All the process steps to get your through the journey and to the resulting doc.u.ment, tool or magic numbers!

- Distinguish between fixed, variable and discretional expenditure(s) - Identify and categorize all expenses, breaking them into categories and line items, time-frames, other detailed sub-cla.s.sifications and cl.u.s.tering; - How to set-up housekeeping budgets and what to consider - Identifying hidden expenses - Identifying areas of discretionary spending, habits and perhaps over-spending risk areas - Setting up expenditure recording systems - Decide on the best way suitable for you and your family to monitor what you spend - Set-up a very basic Home/Personal Budget Filing System - Any calculations, formulas and budget principles you think will help you maximize and optimize your cash flow and money-management Another great way to learn about family budgeting is to ask around and to learn from others.

With the internet at our disposal, there are numerous reliable sources of practical, tried, tested and true tips, strategies and techniques to follow. We selected but a few to provide a sample.

Never underestimate the power of a shared experience!

Sometimes exploring a financial activity like family budgeting conceptually is not enough.

Getting a practical perspective, with some hands-on tips can be more meaningful that a close description or a.n.a.lysis.

There are lots of definitions, opinions and numerous books have been written on the subject of budgeting for families, by families and others. In our information-age, knowledge is power these days and lots of parents and professionals share and voice their opinions openly on the internet, sharing and growing the body of knowledge. We selected a few examples to encourage others to explore these at their leisure as well.

Here are ELEVEN more practical suggestions and tips from online users posted on the internet on family budgeting: 33.1. Keep a record book as well as your bankbook It takes time and requires a lot of self-discipline. Start each month with the balance and enter every payment, etc in advance, in the form of a calendar. It works well for most people due to the fact that they always have their actual working balance handy. Remember the comment about having your financial information at your fingertips? Here is a sure-fire way to get you on that path quickly.

2. Calendar Calculations Putting regular bills on a calendar based on due dates and when salaries are received proves helpful to some. This helps specifically to get everything paid on time and keep in perspective where the money actually goes, since all miscellaneous expenses are also recorded.

3. Getting bills paid Working out all the major and large bills (i.e., rent, car payment, insurance, etc.), dividing it up so every week, that amount is removed from the family 'paycheck'. Therefore, at the end of the month, there is need or risk to lose an entire paycheck to rent or car registration.

4. 1-2-3-4 Plan Divide all bills weekly. A set amount goes to a savings account each week. When there is a 5th Friday in a month, you have a "free paycheck" to save.

5. Open a household account In a second checking account, deposit a sum that covers your monthly expenses. Have all of your bills automatically withdrawn. This account acts as a holding cell for household obligations - the primary account is for day-to-day operations. Works for me!

6. A timely budget Get a notebook. List expenses and their due dates. Divide payments into small amounts & use labeled envelopes for payments and money storage. Reduce duplicate credit usage to 1 or 2 credit cards. Use the net for bill paying and to check your accounts.

7. Yearly savings Making a list of all annual or once-a-year type bills (car registration, shots for pets, school pictures, etc.) and divide them by 12. Save this amount each month and, when one of these items 34 come up, you have the money to pay it. No more surprises.

8. Save credit card receipts Keep an envelope in the car for the credit cards you use. When you buy anything using a card, put the receipt in the envelope as soon as you enter the car. Keep changing the envelope every month. This will save you time and ha.s.sle when looking for receipts.

9. Only twice a month Separate all bills to be paid on either the 1st or 15th of the month. This enables you to pay all bills at once and on time. An added bonus is that you will also immediately know how much money you have left over for entertainment, vacation and other discretionary items.

10. Split into Savings and Checking Figure out a budget based on a savings account/checking account split. Savings builds up for things like real estate taxes, vacations, and insurance. Checking is monthly (e.g. phone, groceries, etc.). Split your monthly income into the savings and checking accounts according to the budget. Savings amounts are strictly budgeted. The checking account is controlled by watching the balance until the next payday.

11. Respect your partners need for financial security Everyone likes to buy their toys, but the overall financial security of the household needs to be considered first. I am not against toys; just save up the money first to buy them versus putting non-essential day-to-day expenses on credit.

An example of a toy in my relationship was the spouse's need to have a big expensive truck in the driveway. I was not against the truck, I was against the debt to purchase the truck when there was no money in the savings or money built up for college tuition. Be considerate of the overall family financial situation and provide financial security for your family.

Moreover, on 'living within a family budget', online users listed FOURTEEN more great practical suggestions on family budgeting: 1. Stay busy after work One "easy" way to avoid overspending and thus stay within your budget is to have something else to do after work. Get a second job that is fun, go to school, volunteer or get into great 35 physical shape. The more you do, the less you will spend!

2. Watch those miscellaneous categories Make sure you have enough well-defined categories to capture your true spending. Putting too much into a miscellaneous category makes it harder to track what you have spent and harder to control, especially the splurges!

3. Need If you did not know you need it, you probably do not. Do not buy things just because they are on sale. If you had no use or want for it before you saw it on sale, then you will have no use for it later.

4. Save money for special occasions on a budget Add up how much you will spend on Christmas, birthdays, etc. Treat that total like it was a debt and make payments to a savings account for special occasions. Be sure to select a specific day of the month that your payment is due and stick with an amount.

5. Don't Forget to Budget for Special Occasions When forecasting your expenses, remember to include gift-giving occasions. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries are good examples. If you plan to spend money on these occasions, remember to include this in your budget.

6. Don't use a debt to get out of another debt Do not take out a consolidation loan to pay off your other debts. The point is to get out of it, not to squeeze them together and end up paying interest on the loan while paying off your debts. Try consulting a "free" debt counselor service first.

7. Remember To Budget Time As Well We have all heard "time is money." Well-spent time can be an investment. Take a few minutes to plan ways to save on bills - 15 or 20 min. researching lower rates on electricity or long distance can pay off. You will know when time spent is not worth it.

8. The envelope system Total yearly/monthly bills, divide each into 12 months. Divide monthly amount into bi-weekly payments. Use envelope for each bill; put in cash every 2 weeks. Use only the cash in envelope 36 till it is gone. Do not touch your account/debt card! Envelopes ONLY!

9. Good teeth cheaper You can go to a dental school to have your teeth cleaned, filled, orthodontic work done, etc. The cost is approximately half what you would usually pay. Note: Make sure you have some extra time as this takes a little longer.

10. Avoid expensive friends Avoid friends who want to go for drinks all the time or suggest an evening at home. The money you spend on drinks and snacks, can buy something better, or go into your savings account. Also avoid friends who want to have supper at your house because you are a "good cook" what that really means is that they are saving money while you are grocery shopping.

11. Keep Track of Your Expenses on a Daily Basis I call the bank's automated line and do my banking every single night before I go to bed. I can see what checks and/or debits from my debit card are posted and what my running balance is. I compare with what I have in my checkbook or with receipts. This only takes about 10 minutes.

Often people get into trouble when they try to keep a running total of what they have left in their head and get into trouble.

12. How To Live Within Your Budget Organize, budget, and beat stress.

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How to Set Up a Family Budget Part 2 summary

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