These 5 Family Budgeting tips will help you budget for the things that are most important to you. Hopefully you can find savings in other areas to offset those costs. The word budget has a bad reputation. Many people think having to be on a budget means you’re broke.
However, the opposite is usually true–broke people are the ones without a budget! They’re broke because they’re spending money they don’t have and didn’t plan for.
Making a budget means that you are controlling your money, not letting it control you. A budget isn’t just trying to keep your from spending unnecessary money, it’s also giving you permission to spend any money you plan! When you look at it as giving you permission to spend, it is kind of fun!
If you haven’t made a good budget before, check out this article for more information on making a zero-based budget. This post is going to be 5 family budgeting tips to help you stay sane on your budget!
1. Recognize Your Family Values
What you spend money on is a reflection of your values. However, sometimes what we really spend our money on doesn’t align with what we think our values are.
Maybe you feel being charitable is a value of yours, but you feel frustrated that you don’t have as much money to be generous with as you wish. But if you really analyzed where your money is going, would you find you spend a lot of restaurants, Target runs, or other forms of entertainment? Are those things you would say you value higher than charitable giving?
Maybe, maybe not. No judgement either way. It’s just an example to show how sometimes we might demonstrate different values with our money than what we want our values to be.
It is 100% okay to spend money on what you value. Include the things you value in your budget. Maybe that is a monthly date night, tithing to your church, or family fun money.
But at the same time, you need to figure out where you might have money going that isn’t to something you value very highly. Do what you need to do to keep yourself from wasting money in that area. For example, I would never say I value “Target goodies”, but yet it used to be so common for me to go to Target and drop $100 easily on things I couldn’t even remember.
To stop wasting money on that, I pretty much had to stop shopping at Target. I still go once in awhile, but not once or twice a week like I used to! More like once a month now, and I need to stick to the list when I go in.
2. Be Realistic
To avoid frustration and feelings of deprivation with your budget, be realistic. This is an area I struggle with as well.
Sometimes, I have a financial goal I want to reach. When I’m looking for extra money in the budget, it’s sometimes really tempting for me to be like, “Well, I think we could cut the grocery budget significantly if I really, really try!”
But what always happens when I say that is that I end up blowing my smaller grocery budget.
Because at the end of the day, I usually do the best that I can to save money on groceries every single month. What we spend on groceries is honestly what it costs to buy food for us. It’s not like I am buying filet mignon and lobster for the family to eat 5 nights a week. Thinking I can find a way to save $200 all of a sudden is foolish because I’m already being careful not to waste money.
All of that to say, we may think we should only be spending a certain amount in an area, but if we are already careful to keep the costs as low as we can there, it’s just not realistic. Budget for reality, not what you THINK you should be spending. What you think and actual reality may be very different.
If you’re not sure exactly what you spend, you need to go through your transactions in your bank account from the past few months and see what you can come up with for a starting point.
3. Start Saving Receipts
an audit of your own spending habits. They may be very different from what you think they are. Start saving receipts and keeping them in a shoebox, envelope, or whatever you want. Just keep them somewhere you won’t lose them.
Make sure you print out or note any online purchases or automatic withdrawals.
Categorize your purchases and see what you are truly spending in each area. Then start setting your budget each month accordingly.
It will also show you areas that you may be wasting money, and you can do your best to start making goals to spend less on those things you deem wasteful.
4. Use Cash
This tip is one of the most important of these 5 family budgeting tips.
The Cash Envelope System is a great way to keep you more in tune with your spending. You decide how much money you want to budget for certain areas, pull the cash, and keep each category’s money in an envelope.
The statistics don’t lie–people spend as much as 100% more using plastic over cash.
So many people brag about their rewards on their credit card. They pay it off every month, so they’re smart! They’re getting free money!
But even if you pay it off every month, you’re not immune to the stats. Good for you paying it off, but you still probably spent more money than you would have otherwise. Hope the extra spending you did was worth the 1% cashback.
Some people feel uneasy carrying cash around with them, but unless you’re prone to losing your wallet or purse, it shouldn’t be an issue. Some people are afraid of being robbed, but if you weren’t being robbed before, what’s going to change by carrying cash?
Don’t flaunt your cash and maybe don’t carry more than you need to, but the point is that you’re aren’t at more risk of losing money by carrying cash than you were when you were carrying your debit/credit cards around.
I can 100% vouch that cash envelopes helped us stick to our budget more than anything else! But lately, I admit we haven’t been great about getting to the bank and end up using our debit card more often than cash. I can definitely see that we have been spending a little bit more, so we are getting back to all cash ASAP!
5. Create Sinking Funds
A sinking fund is a savings for something specific. You set aside a little bit of money each month until you have the amount you need.
Some people keep sinking funds in cash in their home and others have special savings accounts for their sinking funds.
All of us have financial goals that we want to meet, and that’s where sinking funds come in handy. Whether that just be paying the car insurance bill in full every six months or saving up for a new home appliance, you want to get sinking funds started so if the opportunity arises for you to get what you want at a discount, you have the money ready to go.
Here is a personal example. I have been thinking for the past month or so how nice it would be to have a cordless vacuum. My main level of my home is a donut shape with the stairs going up and down in the middle. As I’m trying to vacuum my main level, I have to move the vacuum cord to different outlets because it isn’t long enough to go around the donut.
Yesterday, I noticed the vacuum I had my eye on was on sale at Costco, but it was the last day of the sale. However, I didn’t have it in the budget for a new vacuum, so I had to miss out. I vowed that I would not miss out on the next sale, so I’m getting my vacuum sinking fund started immediately.
These 5 family budgeting tips should help you make the most of your money. Do you have any budgeting questions? Anything to add? Let me know in the comments!