How to make a family budget so you can live the lifestyle of your dreams
Family | 6 February 2018
New Year, new me, right?
With 2018 starting to kick into gear, you are probably starting to notice that a couple of your resolutions are slipping through your fingers already.
You promised you would commit to a healthy lifestyle, spend more time with your close friends, and be the best version of yourself.
But, just like last year, you are struggling to meet most of your resolutions.
The problem isn’t necessarily that you don’t have the motivation to fulfill them. Life gets in the way, and you never seem to have the money to enroll in that cooking class, take that trip, or upgrade your apartment.
Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this problem: making a budget and tracking your expenses.
It may seem like a nuisance, but when you know what items you are spending the most money on, every month, you can manage your budget accordingly. Setting financial goals will help you achieve the lifestyle you and your family have been dreaming of all this time.
Here are some tips that can help you create an effective family budget this year.
1. start with the basics: track income and expenses
Budgeting might sound like a big word that makes you think of complex financial tools and templates. That couldn’t be further from the truth. At the most basic level, budgeting refers to how much you earn vs. how much you spend. It’s as simple as that.
Start by writing down all the income your family gets: from wages to allowances or any extra money. Then, continue by making a second list with the monthly expenses: rent, insurance, utilities, groceries, car (petrol, repairs, registration), child care, phone, Internet, going out, credit card debt, loans, and so on.
At this point, you should be able to confront the two lists and see how much there is left monthly. If you’re lucky, you’ll still have some money to save up. If not, then it’s time to review your expenses carefully and see if you are not overspending on some items, such as your internet bill or your gym membership.
2. simplify your effort: look for a budget template and start tracking habits
Now that you’ve got used to the habit of writing down your expenses, you need the right tools to streamline your effort. It doesn’t have to be something overly sophisticated. However, try to avoid recording your expenses in a notepad, as the risk of losing it is rather high.
Instead, you can use Excel to track and manage your budget. Or, you can download one of the many budgeting apps available and use your mobile phone to keep track of your monthly expenses.
3. understand and analyse your expenses
Tracking your expenses in a template will reveal new insights. You may notice, for instance, that small things can impact your family budget significantly.
Here’s what we mean by that.
Let’s take your internet service as an example. More often than not, providers aren’t telling you the full story when you sign up for their service. They present you with a compelling offer but fail to mention that you will have to pay a hefty fee in case you change or cancel your contract. Or your plan has a data usage limit and your monthly costs spike once you reach it. Sure, it’s all written in the fine print, but who has the time to read that and deal with the technical jargon.
The best solution would be to choose an internet service provider that is transparent about what it provides and its costs. And, you can get all of that with MATE. We offer internet services without the need for a 12 or 24 month contract. That way you can adjust your plan according to your needs. Plus, when you choose us, you can rest assured that we won’t hit you with any hidden fees or penalties that can drain your monthly budget.
The same rules apply to other services as well, such as TV, your gym membership or insurance. Ask yourself: are these services really worth as much as you pay for them? Or are you paying more than you should for something that doesn’t live up to its expectations?
Instead of wasting precious dollars every month to get access to hundreds of different TV channels, consider what else you can do with the money instead. After all, if you’re only streaming Netflix movies, then there’s no point in paying for a service that you don’t use.
You’ve made a promise to yourself that this year you will commit to improving your financial position and creating the lifestyle of your dreams. Hopefully, these tips will give you the tools and motivation you need to achieve your goals.