The Importance of Your Family Budget

Do you run out of money each month before you pay all of your bills? Is there too much month at the end of your money? If so, one of two things is to blame:

    1. You don’t earn enough and need to make more.
    2. You are spending too much for the amount of money you make.

Creating a financial legacy begins with getting your personal finances under control. And there’s a surefire way to make that happen:

Set up a family budget. And then stick to it.

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  • Live within your means. Spend less than you make.
  • Be a smart shopper, and compare prices and quality.
  • Track your spending habits and develop a budget or spending plan.
  • Plan for short-term and long-term financial goals.

Hints and Tips

  • A good way to take control of your spending is to set the maximum amounts you plan to spend each week or each month. Once you’ve set the maximum, stick with your plan.
  • It’s helpful to track your spending over a few weeks or months to get a handle on how you are using your dollars and cents. Look into using on-line systems or phone apps for keeping track of your spending – you will be amazed at what you’ll learn about your habits!
  • Be careful not to let a sale or discount coupon persuade you to purchase something you don’t really need and that isn’t in your spending plan.
  • When planning a big purchase, take time to comparison shop and check prices at a few different stores, by phone or online.

Practical Budgeting Resources and Forms

How Much of My Money Should Go Where? Here are some excellent guidelines from Dave Ramsey: Recommended Percentages for Family Budget

Budgeting Form: Here is a helpful budget form from the FTC that you can download right now and begin using today: Budget Worksheet

Mobile Apps Can Help You Stay On Track: There are many budgeting apps you can use to track how you spend your money. But they only work if you use them regularly. Try these:

  • Mint.com (Recommended): A great app to creating a budget, tracking expenses, and handling your money well. Also gives you a free credit score. From Intuit, the company behind Quickbooks and TurboTax.
  • Wally App (Free): Helps you track expenses by taking a photo of receipts. So you don’t have to type.
  • You Need a Budget App (Free for 34 days then $6.99/mo): This app forces you to live within your income. They claim that the average new budgeter saves $600 by their second month and more than $6,000 the first year. So, it might be worth the monthly fee.