Tips for Maintaining a Household Budget
Maintaining a household budget can be difficult for many people. That’s why a lot of us use credit cards to cover shortfalls.
For one thing, it takes real work to build a budget and it takes real work to consistently put the budget into action. Furthermore, people just plain don’t like to cut back on what floats their boat from golfing to eating out at restaurants, to buying two or three coffees a day.
We’ve heard that with no pain, there’s no gain. So, it’s important to plan your budget correctly and think about it in a way that enables you to be successful. I know we can all be our own worst enemy at times, but that’s what the budget is for, to remind us and keep us on track. Be realistic and take baby steps in the beginning and financial success will happen.
Keeping your budget intact first requires everybody in your house to buy into the fact that there even IS a budget. No point in having you cut back while no one else does, is there? Kinda defeats the purpose of the exercise.
You have to break out all of your expenses, from the largest to the least significant and be absolutely as specific as possible. So, you shouldn’t put “house bills” on your budget list, but rather you should chunk that down into utility bills, cable and internet bills, necessities and toiletries and so on.
By the way, this chunking down holds true for every category, especially food, which should be broken down into categories such as groceries, dining out, kids lunches and snacks. If you’re a big coffee drinker, be sure to include a category for your daily coffee splurges or vending machine jaunts.
Breaking down your budget into very specific categories will provide a more accurate picture of where your money is really going, and, if you need to, where you can cut things out that won’t matter as much to you.
Another important tip to keep your household budget working is that you first need to create some goals for why you are creating the budget. Are you falling short of your expenses and charging too much to your credit card? Are you trying to establish a fund for a vacation or for emergency expenses? Maybe you are trying to save up for a new TV, a new car or a home.
Whatever the reason is, if you establish the goals beforehand you’ll have much more motivation to stick to the plan over the long haul. Why? Because you know what the destination is…the goal you have set up for yourself.
It’s also important to create realistic strategies and expectations. If you set a household budget that’s too narrow it may be impossible to keep. This can lead to frustration as well as lapses in judgment and a failure to keep the budget in action consistently over a long period of time. Create realistic and achievable goals. You’ll feel much better knowing you achieved a modest goal than if you set an intense goal and failed to live up to.
You Can Have Some Fun Too
Finally, be sure to allow for some things that you enjoy or some indulgences, no matter how small. If you cut everything fun that you enjoy out of your budget, then you won’t have anything to look forward to or make it worthwhile.
If you love your Starbucks for example and go twice a day every day, don’t eliminate it completely from your plan. Instead, try to cut down to maybe three trips a week, or at least one a day and you’ll cherish the reward even more while saving a substantial amount of money.
There are many tips you can utilize to make your household budget hold up under pressure and last over the long haul. Think about your goals, break down your expenses, set realistic expectations and allow for some enjoyments and your success will improve greatly.