Learning how to budget for a family can be difficult, especially when you are a newlywed! Welcome to the saga of how one glamorous newlywed went from shopaholic to a budgeting guru! Here are her best family budgeting tips for beginners.
By Lexi DeRock
So where to begin. Ah yes…the dreaded budget!
As you remember we left off with the hubby looking for a new job, me working to make ends meet and purse strings pulled so tight you could play them like a violin.
So we decided it was time to sit down and sort ourselves out.
I’d been scouring the internet for ideas on family budgeting tips for beginners and pulled bits and bobs of ideas from various places on ways to save money and keep track of expenses . I found a lot of inspiration in an unlikely place while doing research for my doula business (I am currently a student doula) at www.yourdoulabusiness.com in their budgeting and finance section. Who’da thunk right?!
Anyway in the end we decided that the best thing to do would be to start a spread sheet. And by “we” I mean my husband, being an accountant, is good at spread sheets and it has definitely made it easier to input everything. But you could apply the same principles we have using a note book.
Basically a reoccurring theme I saw in my research was making all of your money work for you.
Giving every penny a job (even if that job is to be play money) helps keep you accountable for what you spend and how.
Simple enough of a concept but honestly not one I’d thought of before. Usually whatever money was left over at the end of every month just got spend of who knows what.
We started of by making a very long and detailed list of every expense we could think of.
There were of course the obvious ones like rent, food, phone, transport etc, but we also made allowances for the stuff it’s easy to forget like toiletries. Figuring out what the day-to-day monthly expenses are is easy, it’s remembering the stuff that doesn’t come up as often and planning ahead for things that gets people into a jam.
So we set out to write a list of every expense we could think of for the coming year that didn’t fit into our monthly expenses so that we could budget for them as well.
We decided how much we wanted to spend on Christmas gifts (in August) and factored in extra gas to visit family at that time of year. We figured out how much we would need to set aside for birthdays, car registration, renewal of website domains, money to get the puppy fixed when he’s old enough, money for the new bed we want to buy (we broke ours, but not how you think) and all the other yearly or one off expenses that we would have throughout the year.
By figuring out in advance that we would need $300 a year to pay for the car, we could set aside $25 each month. This was much better than having to come up with it all at once having forgotten about it and scrambling to get the cash together or having to take it from another part of our budget later.
We opted for putting the money for yearly expenses into labeled envelopes each week.
That way it wouldn’t be sitting in our bank account and accidentally get mistaken for excess money and get spend on frivolity when it is supposed to be spent elsewhere.
Once we figured out all of our expenses and budgeted for everything then we could see how much we had left over and assign the “extra money” a task so that it didn’t just get spend on nothing and disappear (you ever noticed how extra money has a way of doing that?).
I’ll leave you with these family budgeting tips for beginners and you can sort through all your expenses and create a fancy chart like we did or just write everything in a notebook (don’t forget to budget for the notebook!) and next time I’ll tell you how we divided up the “extra money” to make sure it went to work for us as well. So get writing and hopefully one day we’ll all be sittin’ pretty!
For the first post on this money saving tips for families series, click HERE
For the other Glamorous Housewife budgeting series, check out these posts!