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5 Tips To Creating A Family Budget

Jan 1, 2008
A budget is defined as an estimate of income and expenditures for a set period of time. Although its definition is short, its impact can last a lifetime. If you want to create a family budget to keep your income intact, keep the following tips in mind:

Make a complete written list of your income and expenditures. Believe it or not, it's easier to see exactly where your money goes when it's written in black and white. When you prepare a written list of your income and how it's spent, you can keep track of everything in an organized fashion. This list will serve as your first step toward creating a family budget, and should include all household income and expenses, including mortgage and/or auto payments, utilities, insurance, credit card debt and costs associated with entertainment, clothing, food, etc.

Determine ways to save. One of the most important aspects of your family budget is learning how you can cut back on the unnecessary expenditures. You can save money by clipping coupons, shopping sales, cooking instead of dining out and renting a movie instead of going to the theater. These are just a few of the ways that you can save, but you can determine your own possibilities based on your current situation.

Take a closer look at credit card debt. This type of consumer debt is often the greatest concern for families. Increasing interest rates and the addition of miscellaneous fees are especially burdening for many, which is why transferring high interest rate credit card balances to those offering a low introductory rate may be a wise idea. Quite often, you can be approved for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate, which could help you to eliminate some of your higher rate credit cards. In some cases, you may also want to consider a debt consolidation loan. If all else fails or you do not currently qualify for a new credit card or loan, ask your current credit grantor to lower your interest rates.

Set aside a portion of your income for savings. Whether it's a savings bond or a savings account, the keyword here is 'saving.' Perhaps it's for your child's college tuition, an extra cushion for retirement or simply some money that you would like to tuck away for emergencies. Whatever the case, it's wise to save some money as you can. If you can set aside 10% - 20% of your paycheck, make the commitment and stick to it.

Create a written budget. Once you've determined how best to budget your money, put it in writing. It's easier to follow a written budget than one that's stored solely to memory. You can increase your likelihood of success by keeping the budget where you can easily see it, and referring to it on a regular basis.

The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional financial advice relating to the construction and/or use of a budget. For additional information on this topic, consult with a financial planner in your area.
About the Author
Alex is a assistant wedding planner who spends spare time reading up on recipes from the web and watching shows on SciFi like Ghost Hunters with TAPS on TV.
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