How do you know when you need a family budget? Isn’t a budget just a boring list of numbers that means you never get to spend money on what you want?
No, it’s not! A budget is really just a way to take control of your finances. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t ever spend your money on what you want; it just means you spend your money smarter. In fact, if you’re always denying yourself and never buying anything you want for fear you can’t afford it, a budget could be liberating. Dealing with real numbers tends to be a lot less stressful than dealing with unclear ideas of your income and expenses.
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Here are some tips to help you know if you need to form a family budget.
Your credit cards are never paid off.
If you are paying only the minimum balance on your credit card, and/or using one credit card to pay off another, then it’s time to work out a budget to get out of that hole. Mostly the second one here.
I know many people are okay with having credit card debt. But I think the key is to not let it get out of control (which trust me, isn’t easy. And yes I speak from experience here!). If you have a plan to pay it off but are making payments in the meantime (for example, you’re waiting for a tax return that will allow you to pay off the card) I think it’s doable. The key is to have a plan though, and that plan usually means having a budget. It’s too difficult to just ‘wing it’.
Money “burns a hole” in your pocket.
Do you feel like you have money for a moment or two, then it’s gone? This could mean you have too many expenses, or that you are too quick to spend on wants rather than needs.
Budgeting means that you’re tracking where your money goes. So if you get money, you should be able to know exactly where it’s going, and see exactly where it went. If at the end of the week (or month) you’re unsure where your money went, then it’s definitely time to implement a family budget!
You don’t put any money into your savings, or you are random about how much and when you put money in.
Having a savings plan is an important aspect of financial management. If you don’t have any regimented plan for putting money into savings – say the first 10% of your net income always going to savings, or all bonuses from your workplace going straight to savings – then your savings will disappear as you keep spending on things you want.
Even if you can’t put much in it to start, at least start. Maybe you can save more out of one paycheck than another, that’s fine too. Whatever works for you. Just make a plan, and do your best to stick to it.
You don’t have a savings account at all.
If you don’t have any savings or emergency fund, it’s a sign that you need a family budget. Having money saved is a priority as we never know what expenses will come up. Things happen all the time and if you’re not somewhat prepared, it can really derail your budget and create tough times for your family.
You’re always saying, “I can’t afford it.”
Do friends ask you to go out and you say you “can’t afford it” all the time? Do you find yourself not doing something that you really want to do for your kids because you can’t afford it? While this may be true, it also may not be; forming a budget will help you know what you really can and can’t afford.
You never seem to have enough.
Money can be deceptive – what seems like “plenty” can suddenly be not enough. Forming a budget can help you get a grip on what you really have; you may be pleasantly surprised that you do actually have enough, or that it’s feasible for you to make some strategic cuts so that you will have enough. You’ll never know until you put pen to paper (or computer, whatever is your thing!) and create a family budget for yourself.
Do you have a family budget? We’d love to know if it’s helped you! Please leave your thoughts below in the comments! And be sure to share on Pinterest if you found this post helpful.
Remember life doesn't have to be perfect to love where you are!