Household budgeting seems to be a foreign concept to many consumers because we live in a society full of convenience. Too tired to cook? Go out to eat. Too busy to clean the house or mow the lawn? Pay someone to do it. Want to take a vacation or purchase new furniture but just don't have the money? Max out the credit cards! Unfortunately, if you continue to live this way you may very well find your way so deep in debt that it seems impossible to dig your way out. If you find yourself heading down this path then now is the time to practice household budgeting.
Household Budgeting for Monthly Bills
Your first step to household budgeting is to make a list of your monthly bills. Write down every single bill you have and total it. Hopefully your list shows that you do earn more than enough money to pay the bills, with money left over for groceries, gas and other necessary expenses. If you aren't even making enough to cover your expenses then you will need to find ways to earn extra money such as getting a part time job or selling items on eBay. You can even earn extra money online by writing articles for sites such as Info Barrel. Either way, now is the time to start watching your spending, get out of debt and start saving money.
After you write down your list of monthly bills it's time to go over it to see where you can trim it even more. Is everything on your list a real necessity? You may want all those extra channels but can you get by with just basic cable? You may want a new car every few years but can you keep the one that you have well maintained so that it is reliable long after it has been paid off? Do you have cell phones? How about going with a simple pay as you go plan; especially if you only use your cell phone occasionally. Getting rid of any of these expenses may seem like an inconvenience at first but you just may find that with less channels you suddenly find more free time for other things and that not having a car payment is a pretty good feeling. Household budgeting isn't easy at first but it is very rewarding.
Household Budgeting for Monthly Expenses
Once you have written down your monthly bills make a list of those expenses that fluctuate such as groceries, gas for your cars, clothing, necessities for the kids and even entertainment. What is nice about this list is the fact that you can really be creative, in fact, you may even be able to cut these expenses by more than half. By using coupons and planning menus around what's on sale at the grocery store, going out to dinnner less and packing your lunches for work you may find that you can save hundreds each month. Take these savings and make higher than minimum payments to your credit cards and save the rest for unexpected emergencies such as household or car repairs. You may think that saving money isn't important right now when you have debt to pay off. However, if you don't have emergency cash and for unexpected repairs and expenses you will end up having to resort to using your credit cards all over again.
Household Budgeting for Entertainment
For family entertainment why not check out your local library for free dvds and books and look for other free entertainment in your community. No need to spend $20 or more each week on pizza. Make your own at a fraction of the price and have a fun family night in with board games and pizza.
Household Budgeting Takes Discipline
Household budgeting takes a lot of discipline at first; in fact it will take time to adjust but once those bills start going down and your savings start to increase you will be motivated to keep going. If you have older kids this is a great time to teach them about spending wisely by giving them a bi-weekly or monthly allowance. By giving an allowance instead of handing out money when they need something you can teach them to shop smart by planning ahead, look for sales on necessities and learning to budget their money for entertainment and other wants. Teaching your children the concept of household budgeting now will set them on the path to good spending habits in the future. And what better way to educate your children than to teach them to stand on their own two feet as adults.