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Having a family budget is a key ingredient to keeping more money in your pocket. It really is true that people with a budget spend less money. But “budget” doesn’t have to be a bad word that means you’ll never have any fun in life or that all you’ll ever be able to tell yourself is, “no, no, no,” when it comes to the things you want to buy. In its simplest form a budget is a way to pick and choose where your money goes. Sure, you have financial responsibilities (we all do), but if the very act of having a budget will save you money then you’ll have some freed up money to put someplace help. A family budget includes the spending that takes all of the expenses of your entire family into account. It’s no more complicated than that. But, there are things that every family budget needs, and it is so important that you know what they are.
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As someone who creates and maintains the budget for a family of 11 and as someone who has gotten out of debt not once, but twice, I am so excited to share some pretty important pieces that should be in every family budget (& they are things that most budgets are missing).
Make sure these 5 things are in your family budget
Spending allowances must be in the family budget
The word allowance probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. It doesn’t mean jobs that kids do for money.
Spending allowances need to be in every family budget, and they refer to a certain amount that older members of the family are allowed to spend without needing to be discussed.
Living on a budget can be hard, and that’s why it’s so important that every older member of the family (for us it’s everyone over the age of 10) have a little bit of spending money to play around with.
Start by determining the amount you have in your budget for allowances. Next, decide how much money each family member will get in their allowance.
Then, how they spend it is up to each individual family member.
Personally, I usually save mine so that I can buy larger ticket items. On the other hand, my husband spends his every month on “treats” for himself.
However it’s spent, every family budget needs spending allowances for the appropriate people.
Home repairs must be in the family budget
Let’s face it. Home repairs are usually unexpected and something that are also unwelcome as a result. But, it simply will not work to pretend that they aren’t part of your life.
Because they aren’t usually planned for in any budget, they are costs that are just absorbed when they happen. As a result, your budget will be off kilter.
First, think about any repairs you are fairly certain will need to be happening in the next couple of years.
Then, estimate how much these home repairs will cost.
Next, take a look into your spending over the past year to determine how much was spent on home repairs and what repairs were needed.
Use both your known upcoming repairs and the amount spent on home repairs in the past year to estimate how much you will be spending on home repairs in the next year or two.
Finally, add this amount into your family budget.
Activity fees must be in the family budget
I don’t know about you, but if you have kids I have discovered that they cost A LOT of money! It’s more than just the food and the clothes, way more. The cost of kids’ activities these days is incredible.
Not only is there the fees associated with the things they do, in most cases there is also all the equipment, clothing, and supplies they will need on top of the activity itself.
Sometimes there is even travel, too.
And, it doesn’t just stop with kids in families, and this is also true in ours.
Take a look at what all the activities have been in your family and how much they’ve cost in the past, and project what the family activities will be costing you in the next year.
Make sure you add these all together and come up with the amount you will need to set aside each month in order to cover these things, even if you don’t pay them monthly.
Setting the money aside each month will ensure that the money is there when you need it.
Take that monthly total and put it in the monthly budget.
Membership fees need to be part of your family budget
So many things require membership fees these days. This is true for things like gyms, book clubs, meal services, delivery services, and more.
You could also have things like Costco, Sam’s Club, Amazon Prime, and more.
If they aren’t included in your family budget, you will be wondering why your expenses are higher than you thought.
Holiday spending must be in the family budget
We know it’s coming. It’s the same time every year. Yet somehow, most people don’t plan for the money they spend during the holidays.
Some people do plan for the gifts or even start purchasing gifts prior to the holiday season, but the holiday spending doesn’t just stop with the gifts. And, this is where most family budgets go wrong.
The holidays generally bring extra money spent on food, they include things like holiday cards and postage, more gas for extra travel, and even those cute holiday outfits and pajamas in many cases.
Then there is the wrapping paper, tape, teacher appreciation gifts, haircuts so everyone is looking their best, and so much more.
Start by taking a look at the money you spent for the Christmas holidays this past year and come up with a total of how much you spent. Then, be sure to add in any other holidays throughout the year that bring significant expenses into your family budget.
Then, make the amount of money you spend on the holidays a line item in your family budget.
Research shows that people who create and live by a budget spend less money a year than those who don’t. While spending isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it isn’t a good thing when you don’t know where your spending is going.
A budget solves this, and a budget is essential in the lives of a family.
If you struggle to create a family budget, be sure to work through our 5 Day Budget Bootcamp. Just tell us where to send the steps by entering your email below!