budgeting for family

How I Make Our Family Budget for March

It’s Payday!

Your payroll account is full. You finally have money to restock your fridge, buy the dress or shoes you’ve been eyeing, or treat your family to dinner at the new Japanese restaurant in your area. (Hello to the newly opened Marugame Udon in SM Cubao!) 🙂

But for our family, it’s not payday but budgeting day!

Since our breadwinner (my husband) is currently unemployed, we’re not expecting to receive any income today like what we used to every 15th and end of the month when he was still employed.

READ: How to Make a Monthly Budget for Beginners

But it’s not an excuse to not make a budget. We need a budget whether or not we have an income and whether we have plenty or little.

Throughout the Bible, God gives us important principles on how to handle money and finances. In Proverbs 21:5, it says,

Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough.

A budget is nothing more than a plan for spending and saving money. It includes where the money will come from and how much to expect, as well as what expenses that same money will be used to meet.

To live without a budget often leads to shortsighted decisions like saying,

“If I have money right now, I can spend it right now. So if I want new shoes today, and I have the money today, why not spend it? The bills aren’t due until next week, so I’ll worry about that then.”

Unless you are one of those who makes more money than you can spend, you will need to develop a plan for where your money goes or it will slip out of your hands. Sometimes it will disappear in small amounts that add up quickly, maybe a cup of coffee here, a cute accessory there, or some fast food.

Supermarkets, fast-food chains, convenience stores, and so forth are all successful in squeezing money out of us, especially if we have no budget—no plan. After all, it is only money, right?

Through proper planning, it is possible to have a balanced budget and to have a reserve for unplanned expenses.

Setting up a Bare-bones Budget

I usually create a budget a day or two days before the upcoming month. And today, I’m going to share with you how I create a budget for March.

But before that, let me share with you first how I budgeted for February because this was the first full month that my husband was unemployed.

John lost his job on January 20th and we didn’t expect to receive his salary anymore.

READ: Budgeting After An Unexpected Job Loss (And God’s Provisions)

So instead of budgeting his supposed income for the end of January, we made a plan to get the “income” from our emergency fund.

I made a bare-bones budget that covers only our basic necessities for February.

A bare-bones budget is a budget that takes your spending down to the minimum required to survive and fulfill your financial obligations. It’ll get you through a rough patch, but it won’t leave you with a lot of extras in the meantime.

For our family, our bare-bones budget for February totaled ₱45,000 which include the following expenses:

  • House – 9,000
  • Family Support (Medical Allowance) – 5,000
  • Car – 10,500
  • Electricity – 3,000
  • Internet – 1,100
  • Water – 500
  • Laundry – 500
  • Food & groceries – 14,000
  • Gas/Misc. – 1,400

In our usual budget, we set aside an amount for our savings and personal fun fund for me and John, but we didn’t include that here since we’re working on a bare-bones budget.

Unexpected Blessings!

Then the unexpected blessing came! John received his end-of-month pay on February 1st, and it was enough to cover our bare-bones budget for the month of February.

On February 20th, John received another paycheck (separation pay), and this is what I’m going to budget today for our bare-bones expenses in March which are basically the same with our February budget.

How I Create Our Family Budget

Here are the 5 easy steps I did to set up our family budget for the month of March. If you want to create your own budget, you may download this free monthly budget template printable.

Step 1: Calculate Income

I combined John’s last paycheck and my paycheck. Thank God we don’t have to touch our emergency fund (yet) because our combined income is enough to cover this month’s expenses.

Step 2: List Expenses

I divided our expenses into three categories:

  1. Tithes – We gave 10% of our combined income to the church. (READ: My Personal Testimony About Tithing)
  2. Savings – We set aside 10% for our emergency savings fund.
  3. Expenses – We budgeted the remaining 80% for our bills and expenses.

Our bare-bones budget for March is just the same as the previous month:

  • House – 9,000
  • Family Support (Medical Allowance) – 5,000
  • Car – 10,500
  • Electricity – 3,000
  • Internet – 1,100
  • Water – 500
  • Laundry – 500
  • Food & groceries – 14,000
  • Gas/Misc. – 1,400

We follow a zero-based budget by giving every peso a purpose. This means that our income minus our expenses equals zero by the end of the month.

This zero-based budgeting method works for us because it keeps us aware of how much money flows in and out. It can prevent us from spending what we don’t have.

Step 3: Pay Bills Online

I list down the bills that need to be paid online and I make sure to pay them before the deadline.

  • Car – 10,500
  • Electricity – 3,000
  • Internet – 1,100
  • Water – 500
  • Laundry – 500

Step 4: Cash Envelopes

I list down the expenses that need to be paid in cash and I distribute the money for different expense categories into envelopes.

  • House – 9,000
  • Family Support (Medical Allowance) – 5,000
  • Food & groceries – 14,000
  • Gas/Misc. – 1,400

Step 5: Expense Tracker

I keep track of our food, groceries, and misc. expenses using a simple expense tracker.

I record our expenses everyday. I allot 5 minutes in the morning to review our expense tracker and another 5 minutes at night to make sure all expenses made that day have been recorded.

READ: My New Morning Routine 2021

When I enter an expense, I make sure I keep track of how much is left in that category. When John asks me how much is left in our grocery budget, I can easily give him an answer.

It is extremely important that John and I plan the budget together so that we’re both aware of our finances.

Tracking our expenses helps make sure we don’t overspend in any area and we stick to our budget.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t always easy to wisely use and manage family assets. This is where a budget becomes a useful tool to receive God’s blessings as wise financial stewards. It will require not only planning, but self-discipline to stay within the budget.

It takes a plan to make our funds stretch to meet all our needs. It will probably involve putting off some purchases until later or deciding against others entirely. But if we can wisely and carefully manage our resources, we can successfully see to it that the family needs are met.

In spite of what’s going on in our lives — John’s unemployment, my unstable online revenues, and financial uncertainties — we are deeply grateful to God for his goodness and grace. We thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be for we know that this is the will of God for our lives.

God didn’t promise us life would be easy. We will all face problems and challenges. But we believe that God has our well-being in mind and we can trust that whatever happens in life He will work out for good if we continue loving and serving Him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Have you made a budget for March? Share with us in the comments your tips on how you create your own budget and stick to it.

1 thought on “How I Make Our Family Budget for March”

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