By Seth Methews
A lot of people shun the word budget and try to stay away from personal budgeting and family budgeting. This is very unfortunate, since the people who hate the mere idea of personal budgeting and family budgeting are usually the ones who would benefit the most from it. A budget will actually make it much easier for you to afford the things your really want. You will also be able to open those envelopes that tend to pile up without being afraid of what they will say. Creating a budget will actually provide you with more financial freedom in the long run than without personal budgeting or family budgeting. When your finances are in order, you can afford to be spontaneous or splash out on something that you really want – without having to cope with those nasty feelings of regret and remorse.
A budget will help you to keep track or your incomes and expenditures. You will no longer ask yourself “Where does the money go?” because you will no the true state of your economy. The first step when doing personal budgeting or family budgeting is to take closer look at the entire financial situation. One of the first things you should do is to make sure that you know the exact state of your current Credit Report. If you have a good credit report, you might be able to renegotiate credits or obtain new loans in order to pay back older and more expensive credits. Reducing the amount of interest that you pay each month can make a huge impact on your economy and going through the Credit Report is therefore a vital part of all personal budgeting and family budgeting. Focusing on paying down high interest debts can also drastically improve your financial situation, which is why your current debts and their terms should be in focus when you do personal budgeting and family budgeting.
Printing out a budget form and filling it in together is a good way of making sure that all the concerned members of your family understand the situation and feel that they are a part of the family budgeting. Using a budget form is naturally a good idea when you create a personal budget as well. Use the budget form to pin down which expenses that are necessary and which expenses that you consider ‘luxuries’. Also distinguish between regular payments – such as amortizing a mortgage one a month – and more irregular payments when you create your personal budget or family budget. This process will be much easier if you have some kind of record of your previous expenses. Look at your credit card bills, preferably bills from as many months as you can find, and try to see if there are any patterns. Also look at all your other bills, such as gas bills, medical bills, utility bills etcetera. A lot of families are quite oblivious of how much they spend on food each month, including soda, cookies, chips and other types of snack food. Decide that you will track these expenses during one month. You will probably be surprised to see exactly how much money you spend on unnecessary and unhealthy food each month.
If you want your personal budgeting or family budgeting to be successful, it is always a good idea to have a goal – or rather several smaller goals. Discus with your family what it really is that you want. Maybe you want to save up money for a vacation? Perhaps you and your spouse want to create an investment plan for the future? Perhaps you want to take the entire family to a nice restaurant once a month to reward you for keeping your family budget? By finding out what you really want to spend you money on, you can determine short and long term goals that will be reached thanks to your personal budget or your family budget.
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