A Family Budget That Works

Creating and living on a family budget may seem impossible to a lot of us. The truth is, not only is it possible, it is absolutely crucial to the financial well-being of your family.

No matter what your income, you should be planning a family budget every month. You must know where your money comes from and where it goes. This is the only way to ensure that needs are met, bills are paid, and the future is provided for.

Here are a few tips to remember when planning your family budget…

1. Sit down with your husband (if you’re married) before each month begins to plan your family budget. You must be in agreement about where your money is going so that there will be no room for conflict over finances.

2. As Dave Ramsey says, “Give every dollar a name”. This simply means that you put every bit of money you bring in into a category in your budget (even if it’s money set aside to blow), so that your budget has a zero balance at the bottom. This is called “zero balance budget”.

You also need to write down how you’re going to spend each paycheck. List how much of each paycheck will go towards each category in your budget. You probably won’t have a dollar amount for every category from every paycheck. Just make sure you distribute your paychecks in a way to make sure you pay bills on time.

3. Make sure you budget for necessities first. Food, shelter, clothing, transportation must be taken care of before credit cards. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to go charge up your credit cards, not ever intending to pay them. That’s called stealing.

What it does mean, however, is that your family must not go without the necessities of life. Take care of those first, and then pay everything else. But do pay everything else, even if you can’t pay the whole amount.

4. What if you have an irregular income? Make a list of everything you have to pay, with the most important items at the top and the least important items at the bottom. When you get paid, start at the top and go down the list, distributing your money as far down the list as you can go. When the money is gone, draw a line. The rest will have to wait until you get paid again.

5. What if you don’t have enough money coming in to pay everything?

Two solutions-cut back on spending or bring in more money.

We can all find ways to cut back on spending if we’re really serious about gaining financial peace. Do you use that gym membership enough to keep paying for it? Is caller ID and call waiting really that important? Could you step down to a lower TV package (or even get rid of it altogether)?

It all depends on your priorities. We’re not telling you what to cut back on, just making suggestions. You must decide for your own family.

How can I bring in more money? I’m already so busy! The easiest way is to start selling stuff. We all have extra stuff lying around the house that we could part with. Have a garage sale or put it on Ebay. This will help you get out of a bind for the short-term. Long-term, however, you will have to do something more drastic.

If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, and you’re ready to make a change, you will have to buckle down and make some sacrifices. It might require getting a part-time job in addition to your full-time job. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you may have to look at ways that you can generate some income-babysitting, online work (no get-rich-quick schemes!), weekend work.

Be creative with this. If you’re really determined to get your finances under control, you will find ways to make your budget work!

6. Budget for items that you know will be coming up, even if they are not happening in the month you are budgeting for-school clothes and supplies, Christmas gifts, insurance, property taxes, tires, etc.

The goal is to keep from going into debt. If you save up for these things before they get here, you won’t have to swipe that credit card.

If you’re already having a hard time making the budget work without adding in these other things, don’t worry. Once you start paying off debt and getting your finances under control, you’ll be able to start adding these things into your family budget. Family Budgets are not always easy. In fact, they can be very frustrating when we see what our financial situation really is on paper. It’s only when we face that truth, however, that we can do something about it.

Now you have to make a decision. Are you ready to gain control of your finances and stop allowing money to be a cause of conflict and stress in your life?

If so, jump in with both feet! Do the things necessary to make it happen. And don’t give up!

Your family budget is the first step in bringing financial peace to your family.

For more tips on how to make a budget work, subscribe to “The Calm Mom” newsletter.

Cash Budget Envelope System| Bill Paying System
Emergency Fund| Debt Snowball| Saving For Retirement

Subscribe to "The Calm Mom" Newsletter

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Calm Mom.

Leave Family Budget Page
and Return to Financial Plan Page