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5 Keys to Budget Success

Rating: 6 votes, 4.83 average.

Okay friend, you want to save money, you're willing to learn, it's obvious, after all, you are HERE! To develop a successful budget for your family, I'd like to offer the following key points.

1. Teamwork- Unless you're Single, then your spouse should be on board with the budget. You both need to have a clear understanding of what the monthly expenses are, where the money flow is headed (to the bills, to your favorite restaurant or bar every Friday night!), as well as who is responsible for physically paying the bills, (writing the checks, clicking the online bill pay, etc).

2. Put it in Writing - sit down together and make two columns on plain piece of paper. In one column, list all of your expenses, don't forget things like pet care, daycare, even magazine subscriptions. In the other column list all sources of income.

3. Understand Your Income- this sounds relatively easy, but in my experience many folks just don't know what their income truly is. If you get paid on a weekly basis, grab your check stubs, take a look at how many deductions are being withdrawn weekly, insurance expenses, 401K (find out if your work is matching your 401K!) This is an avenue of free money that you could be missing out on. Sometimes, viewing your expenses vs your income in a percentage point of view makes a difference in your spending habits. For example, If you make $2,000 a month and you want a new truck with payments of $500 a month than 25% of your income is going to your vehicle- and that's not including insurance, excise or personal property taxes, title & registration fees.

If you are self-employed and your income is a bit dodgy, figure out how much income you average per month and use that as your guideline for your budget.

4. Prioritize-
This is a serious Must-Do. Once you have written down all of your expenses on paper- get a clean sheet of paper and rewrite them in order of Priority. If your house is your biggest priority, put your mortgage at the top.
Use a program, such as Quicken, to track your expenses but be sure to print out a copy of your budget once it's completed, tack it up in a place where you AND your spouse can take a look at it everyday. No, this isn't to worry you and make you wonder where you're going to get enough money to pay the bills, this is to remind you of what your expenses are, where your money Needs to go and what your goals are.

5. List your Goals- Most couples don't plan to fail, but many fail to plan. If you haven't discussed with your significant other what your goals are and you are not both in agreement of those goals, you will not reach them. On the bottom of your Budget, Write your Goals down. If your goal is to have your house paid off and be entirely debt free, write it on there. If your goal is to Retire at age 55, put it down on paper.

If you follow these key points, you will be well on your way to creating a successful family budget.

(C) Liss Burnell 2008

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  1. JoAnn's Avatar
    Getting to the basic is always a good place to start. Thanks Liss..
  2. Kduffner's Avatar
    I found paying myself first has really been beneficial. The key is to not touch it. Pizza night is not an emergency
  3. donnamcclanahan's Avatar
    Good information, thanks for sharing
  4. reneemc's Avatar
    Learning to say NO, I cant go to lunch again this week can save hundreds of dollars a year
  5. hetzlerk's Avatar
    Love this site. I have learned so much. Thanks.
  6. tinab's Avatar
    I never realized how much money I was actually giving to my kids, until I started writing down every time I gave it to them. WOW! I can now see why my money went so fast and I had nothing to show for it. I now use the envelope method, at beginning of the month I place a certain amount of money into each of their envelopes and once it is gone, it's gone. What a difference!
  7. belvedere's Avatar
    Saying NO to the kids is so hard! Need to try the envelopes!!!
  8. Thriftymamma's Avatar
    Once I started writing everything down I was surprised to see it was me that was spending too much...mostly at thrift stores because I was getting a deal. I need to focus on simplifying my life and get rid of the clutter.
  9. cheri0521's Avatar
    I am actually amazed at how much money we have been wasting, by following these steps we see clear picture of our finances and right now we are not in a good place as we thought. but with this advise we are on our way. Thank you so much for the information. I now have hopes of being able to finally buy the house I want.
  10. TKOrchid's Avatar
    I so need to make a budget instead of 'psychic banking' who's is just guessing how much I've spent. And all those little extra indulgences add up that can be cut out, then only when the budget allows can I get that extra coffee or have a pizza night. A small calendar/agenda in my purse has been so helpful the few times I've used one & I'm going to add that to my budget plan once again.
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