Creating a household budget is difficult. Creating an effective household budget that everyone can abide by is even tougher. Life is expensive no matter how you look at it. With many household bills as well as the high-price of fun, it’s easy to overspend. There are ways you can live your life without the constant financial burden of bills. Sticking to a household financial plan isn’t so hard when you have the necessary tools to guide you through it. Here are just some of the ways you can create and maintain a household budget.
The best way to begin a budget is to sit down at your computer with your monthly expenses in hand. This means collecting the household bills and writing down the costs. You must also look at necessities like groceries and gas as well as those entertainment expenses like the kids’ fieldtrips, dinner dates, and annual vacations.
Once you have written everything down, begin inputting the monthly expenses into spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. Using a grid-like form, you can produce a chart that you can refer back to and fill in with every expenditure. Excel will crunch all the numbers for you too, making it easy to see what you’ve spent and how much you have left to spend on extras every month.
Family Budget Calculators
There are a lot of cool tools out there for family finances. One of the tools many people use is budget calculators. Websites like money-zine.com, nccp.org, and crownfinancial.com all have nifty calculators that will help you with financial planning. They can take into account factors like cost of living, household income, and state taxes. Most of these calculators are also completely customizable so that you can create a budget specific to your household.
Community White Board and Calendar
It’s important that you have easy-to-see reminders of bill due dates and extra expenses in your home. A whiteboard or calendar in the kitchen allows you to keep track of your money without getting on the computer. You can get the family involved with the budget this way too.
Have your older children check expenses off the list once they’ve been paid for them and have the youngsters check off chores completed and allowance earned. You can keep everyone accountable this way, and they’ll have no excuse like “I thought we had the extra money for that.”
Online Expense Comparisons
Unfortunately, you can’t switch electricity or utility providers. However, when looking at expenses like cable, Internet, and homeowner’s insurance, you do have the freedom to switch providers if you feel like you can get a better price elsewhere.
Insurance companies are extremely competitive these days so it’s possible that with a few minutes of research, you’ll find a better deal with a different company. Websites like can easily and quickly help you compare insurance quotes.
There are hundreds of websites out there to aid you with your household budget. With tons of unique features, they can be a great resource when planning your budget. Here are just a few.
- Mint.com is free and helps you keep track of your income, spending, financial goals, etc. It’ll also help you adjust spending habits along with financial guidance. There’s an app for it, too.
- Geezeo is cool because in addition to tracking your spending, it’s known for its large online community and bulletin boards, which allows users to track household budgets and interact with other users for support/feedback on banks, credit card companies, etc.
- Quicken Online is available for tracking your spending and safeguarding your banking information. It’s not free, but it’s an inexpensive fool-proof way to track and maintain your budget.
Although spending money isn’t always fun, it’s a necessary evil to live. Keeping a household budget is a strategic plan to keep everyone accountable and on track with finances.
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