How to Create a Monthly Budget for Your Family
Does your family have its finances in order? Sometimes, it’s hard to know where all the money is going when you’re living day to day, especially when life gets busy. If you want a clearer picture of all your expenses, consider making a budget.
Determining this kind of financial plan does more than benefit your wallet. It’s an essential life skill to teach your teenagers. Even if your kiddos aren’t at that age, imparting this wisdom down the road is a good idea, so they’ll be prepared to leave the nest.
Read on to learn how to create a monthly budget for your family.
Find Your Monthly Income
An important first step to take is finding your monthly income. If you’re married, you’ll also want to determine what your partner is bringing in each month. This can be a great opportunity to work together as a team.
Doing budgeting as a solo endeavor can lead to stress, so it’s good to get help when it’s possible. You may want to ask budget-savvy family members or friends for their input too.
To figure out your income, take any recent paychecks you and your spouse earned into account. For folks with irregular incomes, it’s better to go with lower estimates to be on the safe side.
Determine Your Expenses
The next step is figuring out where your money is going every month. Looking at bank statements can give you an overall picture of your monthly finances. Many find it helpful to break their expenses down into categories, which include:
These costs are essentials that you spend money on each month. You’ll also want to figure out nonessentials that fall into these categories. For example, perhaps you’re spending more than you’d like on dining out in the food category.
Use a Budgeting Tool
Many families find budgeting tools helpful when figuring out how to create a monthly budget. Some popular apps are EveryDollar, You Need a Budget, and Mint. Of course, you can always make your own Excel spreadsheet if you prefer or go a pen-and-paper route, but these tools streamline the process.
No matter which you choose, you’ll want to subtract your expenses from your monthly income. Inputting this information into each category will make the funds transparent.
Look for Ways To Save Money
When you’re keeping your monthly budget in mind, finding where you can cut back is important. This will help you eventually have extra funds left over. There are some easy money-saving hacks you should know. One of our favorite hacks is seeking out free entertainment.
Families sometimes feel pressured to spend to have a great time, but this isn’t necessary. When it comes to free entertainment at home, families should take advantage of certain streaming services that require no monthly fee. Many platforms, such as YouTube or Roku, offer free movies and TV shows with ads.
Having a budget makes it possible to work on eliminating debt or saving money for the future, such as your children’s college funds. We wish you the best in your budgeting endeavors!