Planning a Family Budget
Uniquely Your Own
Planning a family budget is one of the keys to financial planning. Adapt these tips to make one uniquely your own.
While the basic needs of people to sustain life (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) are hardly unique, your income and the specific expenses that make up the household budget are one of a kind. As you go along, you will take this exclusivity into account as it is inherit in everything you do. You will be using your own spending patterns, adjusting the way you spend and save money.
No family fits into a cookie cutter mold. There are single-income families, double income families, blended families, divorced families, socially supported families, bankrupt families, foster families, and almost any combination of description you can think about. However, one thing that is common across all families is the need to consider how much they would benefit from planning a family budget.
Here are some suggested expense categories to suit your family’s unique needs.
One category we all share is that of necessities. In this category you place expenses like natural gas, electricity, water, groceries, mortgage payments, heating fuel, work and school commuting expenses, etc. Some families will add things such as television cable or high speed Internet service to the list of necessary expenses.
Another category is family allowances such as home improvements, gardening, lawn care, decorating, vacations, newspaper, and magazine subscriptions. You may also include birthday parties, pizza deliveries, and babysitters to this list.
Then you could have a category called personal allowances that would cover clothing, beauty salon, barber, CDs, DVDs, entertainment, sports equipment, and craft supplies. There are families who would possibly add luggage, jewelry, gifts, contributions, and membership fees.
Once you begin planning a family budget, you will see what categories you need to develop to make one uniquely your own. Start by reviewing your checkbooks and credit card statements, collecting your initial information. Once you have begun, use receipts (because everyone will be saving them) to target patterns and identify expense categories.
This really is not complicated. As it is highly customized, my idea of expense categories might have ones you do not need for your family or ones you do need that I missed listing. The important thing to remember is that this is a work in progress. You will adjust and customize various functions as you move along.
The important thing is not to see these adjustments as some sort of failure offering you an opportunity to quit; you are making a budget to set you financially free.
Because of the uniqueness of your particular family, planning a family budget is your one of a kind experience. Use this and other keys to financial planning such as some
creative ways to save money, and you will be well on your way to living debt free.
The next article in this budget planning series is about setting goals in your personal budget planning, a wise move when managing personal finances.
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