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5 Tips for Sticking to a Household Budget
1. Plan spending on a weekly, rather than monthly, basis
A month is often too long a time period to set and maintain an adequate, reasonable budget. Instead, budget either on a weekly or biweekly basis. This allows you to quickly identify errors and adjust spending in subsequent weeks, rather than going over budget for an entire month.
2. Deal in cash, rather than credit or debit cards
At the beginning of the week, take out the weekly spending money in cash. You're more likely to be frugal with cash than you are with a credit card, and you'll realize that when the money's gone, it's gone.
3. Don't take the kids shopping with you
Shopping with children can be a hindrance to budget-conscious families. It's difficult to stick to a shopping list or your budget with children around, especially in grocery stores where snacks seem to sneak their way into the cart, and malls where teenagers may need to stop in just one more store. Save family shopping trips for times when the wallet isn't so tight, and shop alone when you need to spend from the household budget.
4. Account for every penny
It's easy to spend here or there without giving it a second thought, but that's one of the quickest ways to throw off your budget. Keep track of every penny you spend, and tally up your pennies at the end of the week. You may be surprised to see where you are throwing money away.
5. Avoid online shopping
The same mistakes made with credit and debit cards are quickly repeated with online shopping. You'll buy what you don't need, waste money on shipping items that you could easily purchase locally. Even if you get a deal, you will often add frivolous extras to your cart that ruin your savings. When you are trying to stay within your household budget, online shopping is a no-no.
Setting a family budget is the easy part; it's figuring out how to stay within that budget on a regular basis that's tricky. Stay conscious of when, where and what you spend, and it will be possible to follow that practical budget you've laid out.
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