No Fret Family Budget
For some, the idea of a budget is often a blur. It is frustrating to see how hard it is to do a budget and realizing that with one wrong purchase, you can actually ruin the entire thing. And this has been a perennial headache for most homemakers.
It is about time to overhaul the way people look at budgeting. It can actually be a great way to keep track of your family’s expenditures and help you evaluate the things that you spend the lion’s share of the family’s earnings on.
What is a budget? A budget is a tool for handling your finances by controlling the family’s expenditures in a way that money is enough for paying up bills, and still ensuring that savings are set aside for future expenses – vacations, or children’s education, or even for retirement.
Try these simple steps in preparing a no fret family budget, and see the benefits of intelligent spending.
1. Gather three months of your pay stubs and get your average monthly earnings.
2. Get out three months of your monthly bills. Do this for the fixed expenses like the rent, phone bill, car payments and other loans that come monthly. Add them up and get the average. Do the same for other expenses like groceries, and credit card bills.
3. Evaluate the results of your computations. Looking at your average monthly earnings against your monthly fixed expenses and other monthly expenses, think of some ways to economize. Cut back on some items that are somehow unnecessary.
4. Knowing the facts of your income and expenses, develop a family budget and try to stick to this monthly budget.
5. Now that you have a monthly budget, set up a savings account. Save up by making regular deposits to this account.
6. Keep track of this monthly family budget just to see if it is working for you. Try to fine-tune the “rough edges” of this budget as you go along.
7. If you can get hold of a personal budgeting software or spreadsheet application to keep record of your budget, the better. This will make organizing your expenses very easy.
These are the basic steps in developing and implementing a no fret, easy to stick to monthly family budget. Of course each family has diverse needs and wants. You have the freedom to develop your own monthly family budget, depending on your family’s financial background and needs. No matter how you do it, just focus on the end result, which is building a savings that leads to a bright and financially stable future for your family.
Essential Money Saving Tips for Students
It is easy to get caught in the rush of things when you are in college. In the midst of studying, part-time jobs, socializing and extracurricular activities that you have, you are most likely to forget one of the most important things, which is straightening out your finances.
Here are some tips on how you can save money as a student:
1. Plan ahead.
If possible, do this even before you move into your dorm room.
Check if you are eligible for scholarships and other grants before signing up for any form of student loan.
Construct a cash flow. First, where do you expect to get money from? Make a list of your “income”, be it from your parents, your student loan or your part-time job.
Then forecast your expected monthly or weekly expenses for food, books, etc. Once you have set aside a budget, be strict with yourself and stick to it.
You will never know what unexpected expenses would come your way so it is better to have a downfall for financial emergencies.
2. Save on food.
One of the major expenses that you have as a student which you might have ignored when you were still living with your parents is your food allowance. Avoid eating at fast food outlets, as this is most likely to ruin your budget. Pack your lunch and plan your meals as much as you can.
3. Take full advantage of student discounts.
Those ID’s in your wallet are not just for show. Student ID’s and memberships in organizations are honored in several establishments which offer discounts.
Also, patronize a certain establishment regularly and you are bound to get bonus cards for being a loyal customer.
4. Use your cash as much as you can.
Since you already have a draft of the items where you will spend your money, it is easier to monitor your cash flow. Avoid using your debit card when you have cash with you. Use your credit cards or write checks only in emergencies. Having debit cards, credit cards and checks handy might lead you to overspend.
5. Keep yourself busy.
Join clubs according to your field of interest.
Keeping busy will let your mind wander and help you stay away from things that you are likely to spend money on when you get bored. Examples of these are snacks, movie tickets or game rentals.
You will be surprised at the amount of money that you will actually save by spending less on luxury items, following your budget plan and saving for financial emergencies that you are most likely to get as a college student.