Budgeting and filing taxes keep you up at night, especially the thought that your income ends up in a tightly wound budget. Every cent is accounted for and there’s no budging, no fun, and a ton of resentment.
With most of us in working from home environments, your income may have dwindled and, in some cases, gone altogether. We need to be savvy with what we’ve got, now more than ever. There is no better way to be savvy than to draw up a detailed household budget.
Budget, now more than ever
Budgeting is a lot easier than you may think. You already run a household, so most of the information you need is right in front of you. It doesn’t have to be stressful or daunting because you decide how much you give and where.
First, grab a pen and a piece of paper. Next, you need to establish how much money comes in every month. This includes your primary source of income as well as any other sources of income you may receive.
The next thing you will do is, put together a list of all of your households’ monthly expenses that includes all the things that draw from your income. Make sure to put down as much information about your expenses as possible.
Check your bank statements for the past couple of months. This will give you an idea of your fixed expenses and where you stray from your means.
You can then subtract all these expenses from your income to see what you have left at the end.
In case of emergency
The importance of a budget can easily be ignored until you find yourself at the end of the month with a burst tire on the way to a doctor’s appointment. All of a sudden, you have to choose between getting antibiotics for your terrible cold or getting home with all four wheels aligned and intact.
You can never be prepared for every emergency, but you can give yourself a better chance at handling them. So, it’s important to keep these surprises in your mind when you put together your family budget. When there is more than one of you in a household, there is bound to be more stuff happening.
You may decide to budget towards an accidental insurance policy, which would take care of the more extreme emergencies you may encounter. This may seem like a morbid exercise but whatever you decide, make some room for accidents and emergencies.
How much do I put away?
Savings vary from family to family because your income and expenses are not the same as the family next door. Your budget is as unique as you are and there are no hard and fast rules for saving. You just need to be clear about where your money ends up.
If you are feeling stifled and pinching too tightly for your pocket, you can make adjustments. When you work out how much your groceries cost, take into account the item’s full price, this is subject to change, especially when there are coupons and discounts involved.
You can use whatever you saved at the grocery store to put into a savings account or, you can add it to a bill that you want to get ahead of for your family vacation. You determine where and how money is spent. Remember, there is no shame in how little or big the saving is because, in the end, it all adds up.
What are you working towards?
Most people work hard so that their families can have a good quality of life. So, what is the reason you wake up every morning and go to your job? There must be something or many things that you want to do or are working towards. Perhaps student loans are keeping you from a home loan.
For some, a family vacation is what everyone needs. You have memories of trips to Disneyland and you want to give your kids that experience too. And to get the full experience, there are often extra costs, like novelties and gifts involved. Be prepared by putting away an affordable amount each month.
Research on what it will cost, try not to look at the cheapest option only, give yourself some credit, and go for something you want. You can work out just how long it will take to pay for. Once your money is aimed at a goal, it’ll have direction. You work hard and deserve to reap the benefits.
Ask for advice
Money management is one of the very few things you aren’t taught growing up. That means there are a lot of financially illiterate adults out there. You know what money stress feels like. You go through it every month, twice a month. By mid-month, your income is hanging by a thread and anxiety is at an all-time high. It does not have to be that way.
Like most of your peers, you have a bank account with an institution you trust. So, if you feel lost and don’t know where to start when it comes to financing, visit your bank. They have advisors and facilities to help you make better money decisions. It won’t cost you a cent and it could benefit you in the long run.
Set up a meeting with a financial advisor or broker who can assist you with investment opportunities so that your financial portfolio is informed and caters to your needs and interests. You’ll feel a lot less stressed about the future and more willing to take your finances into your own hands.
When you budget, you put yourself in a much better position to make informed decisions about your life. You give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the income you work so hard for because life isn’t all about death and taxes.
Free yourself and your family by sitting down and taking a good hard look at what you can and can’t afford. You’ll thank yourself every time you near the end of the month.
Leon Collier is a blogger and academic writer from the UK currently working for best essay writing service UK. He’s also a part of a team of essay writers at SuperiorPapers. He loves to write in various subjects and his favorites are history, travel, education, business, and finance. When not writing, you can find him reading a bestseller or playing tabletop games with his friends. Follow him on Twitter @LeonCollier12.