family finance

7 Tips for Creating a Family Budget That Works

It’s been a while since I shared our family budget on the blog. I figured it was time for an update, and today I’m sharing a glimpse of our current budget as well as some tips on how to create your own family budget.

There are a few different ways that you can approach creating a family budget. You can either use a pre-made budget template, or you can create your own budget from scratch. I prefer to create my own budget, because it allows me to customize it to our specific needs and income. But if you’re not sure where to start, using my free budget template can be a helpful way to get started.

Our Family Budget

I like to think of our budget as a roadmap for our finances. It helps us to know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. And just like any good road map, a budget should be flexible. As our income and expenses change, so should our budget.

Our budget has changed a lot over the past couple of months, as our family has grown and our income has changed. We’ve had to make some adjustments, but overall I think we’ve found a good system that works for us.

I like to start by looking at our income and expenses for the month. Once I have a good idea of our income and expenses, I start to allocate our money to different categories. I like to use the zero-based budgeting method, where our income minus our expenses should equal zero. This means that every peso we earn is accounted for and allocated to a specific category.

I cannot share our actual numbers here on the blog for personal reasons, but I can give you a general idea of where our money goes each month.

Income

Our family’s income comes from my husband’s job, my online business, and some side hustles. We’ve found that it works best for us to have all of our income deposited into one account and then use that account to pay all of our bills. This helps us stay organized and on top of our finances. We also allocate a “personal fund” for each of us to use as we please. This allows us to have some fun money without blowing our budget.

Expenses

Our expenses are divided into two categories: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are those that stay the same every month, like our house payment and family support. Variable expenses are those that can fluctuate, and majority of our expenses fall into this category. This includes things like groceries, gas, and entertainment.

Here’s a quick look at our current expenses:

  • Tithes & Offerings
  • Savings & Investments
  • Family Support
  • House Payment
  • Househelp
  • Macey’s Tuition Fee & school expenses
  • Utility bills (electricity, water, and internet)
  • Household necessities (food, grocery, gasul, etc.)
  • Baby’s necessities (formula, diapers, etc.)
  • Gas
  • Miscellaneous (buffer fund)

We’ve found that allocating a certain amount of money to each category helps us to stay on track with our spending. At the end of each month, we compare our actual spending to our budget to see how we did. If we spent more than we planned, we figure out where we can cut back the next month. If we spent less than we planned, we put that money into our savings.

Savings and Investments

This is important to us because we want to be prepared for unexpected expenses and we want to save for our future. Right now, we’re putting money into a savings account for our emergency fund as well as investing in some stocks for our long-term goals.

Tithing

Tithing is something that’s important to our family, and we budget for it every month. Tithing is simply giving 10% of our income back to God. We believe that it’s His money to begin with, and we are blessed to be able to tithe.

low income budget

Tips for Creating Your Own Family Budget

Now that you’ve seen an overview of our family budget, here are a few tips for creating your own budget:

1. Set Goals and Priorities

Before creating a budget, it’s important to set some financial goals and priorities for your family. What are you trying to achieve financially? Are there any specific debts that you want to pay off? Or, are you trying to save for a down payment on a house or car? Once you know what your goals are, you can start setting priorities.

2. Determine Your Income and Expenses

Take a look at your current financial situation. How much money do you bring in each month? This includes all sources of income, such as your paycheck, your partner’s salary, side hustle income, etc. Add up all of your income and write it down.

Then, figure out your fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are those that stay the same every month, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, etc. Variable expenses are those that change from month to month, such as your groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. Write down all of your expenses and the amount you spend on each.

Factor in Irregular Expenses

There are some expenses that don’t occur every month, but you still need to plan for them. These are called irregular expenses. Examples of irregular expenses include annual subscription fees, property taxes, car registration, Christmas, birthdays, etc.

Make a list of these irregular expenses and estimate how much they’ll cost you each year. Then, divide that total by 12 to get an idea of how much you need to budget for each month. For example, if your annual irregular expenses add up to Php 60,000, you’ll need to budget Php 5,000 each month to cover these expenses.

Prepare for Unexpected Expenses

No one likes to think about it, but emergencies happen. There will be other times when you’ll need to spend money on something that you hadn’t planned for. This could be car repairs, medical bills, or home repairs.

To prepare for these unexpected expenses, most financial experts recommend setting aside at least 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. This will help you cover unexpected expenses without having to put them on a credit card or take out a loan.

3. Decide on a Budgeting Method

Now that you have all of your income and expenses written down, it’s time to start creating your budget. There are different ways to budget your money, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and your family. You can use the envelope system, the zero-based budget, or the 50/30/20 rule.

Cash Envelope System

The envelope system is a good option if you tend to overspend in certain areas. With this method, you would put cash in envelopes labeled with each of your expenses. For example, you would have an envelope for groceries, one for gas, one for entertainment, etc.

Zero-based Budget

The zero-based budget is a good option if you want to make sure that all of your income is accounted for. With this method, you would allocate every peso of your income to specific expenses. Any money that is left over would be saved or used to pay off debt.

50/30/20 Rule

The 50/30/20 rule is a good option if you want a simple way to budget. With this method, you would divide your income into three categories: 50% for necessities, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings and debt repayment.

4. Track Your Spending

Once you have a good idea of your income and expenses, it’s time to start tracking your spending. For one month, write down everything that you spend money on, no matter how small. At the end of the month, take a look at your spending and see where you can cut back.

If you find that you are spending more than you can afford, make some changes. You may need to cut back on your spending in some areas. For example, if you’ve been eating out a lot, try cooking at home more often.

Or, you may need to find ways to increase your income. If you’re not making enough money at your current job, look for ways to make extra money. You can start a side hustle or get a part-time job.

5. Stick to your Budget and Review it Regularly

The most important part of creating a budget is sticking to it. It won’t do any good to create a budget if you’re not going to follow it. Review your budget at least once a month to make sure that it still makes sense for your situation. There will be months where you may need to spend more or less than usual, and that’s okay.

If you need to make any changes, do so. Remember, your budget is not set in stone. It can change as your income or expenses change.

Sticking to a budget can be tough, but it gets easier with practice. The important thing is to start somewhere and to keep at it. You may not be perfect, but every little bit counts!

6. Communicate With Your Family

If you’re married or have a partner, it’s important to communicate with them about your budget. You’ll need to be on the same page in order to make your budget work. Talk about your income, your expenses, and your financial goals. Discuss any changes that you want to make to your budget.

If you have kids, involve them in the process as well. Teach them about budgeting and why it’s important.

READ: Pros and Cons of Splitting Your Finances 50/50 as a Married Couple

7. Get Help if You Need It

If you’re having trouble creating a budget or sticking to one, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of resources available to help you get started. You can talk to a financial advisor of financial planner, take a personal finance class, or read a book on the subject.

There’s no shame in admitting that you need help. It’s better to get help and create a budget that works for you than to try to do it on your own and fail. So, if you’re feeling lost, reach out for help!

creating family budget

Your Budget Reflects Your Values

Your budget is a reflection of your values. What you choose to spend your money on says a lot about what you value in life. So, when you’re creating your budget, think about what’s important to you.

Do you value your family’s health and wellbeing? Then, make sure to allocate enough money for things like healthcare, healthy food, and exercise.

Do you value experiences over things? Then, make sure to allocate enough money for things like travel, concerts, and other experiences.

Your budget is a tool that can help you achieve your financial goals. But, it’s also a way to ensure that you’re spending your money in a way that aligns with your values.

Your budget is a personal thing, so there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s up to you to decide what’s important to you and how you want to spend your money. The important thing is that you’re intentional about your spending and that you’re making choices that reflect your values.

There’s No “Perfect” Budget

There’s no such thing as a perfect budget. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The important thing is to find a budget that works for you and your family.

Don’t compare your budget to someone else’s. Just because someone else can afford to spend more or less money in certain areas doesn’t mean that you can or should. Stick to a budget that makes sense for your situation and your lifestyle.

Creating and sticking to a budget is not easy. It takes time, effort, and discipline. But, it’s worth it! A budget can help you get control of your finances, achieve your financial goals, and live a happier, more stress-free life.

So, don’t be afraid to give budgeting a try. It just might be the best thing you ever do for your finances! And, that can lead to a more prosperous future for you and your family.

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