Get Your Budget in Gear

Ways to Save Money (Without Really Trying)

Expect the Unexpected

10 Tips for Creating a Household Budget

The Trivia Block


Get Your Budget in Gear

How to Create a Household Budget

Many people spend their income without any planning and end up broke before month's-end. Then, they borrow to make ends meet and wind up with more problems because they fail to repay their debts promptly. Obviously, this is not a prudent way of managing your personal finances. Planning your financial affairs by prioritizing your needs and budgeting income and expenses is the best way to achieve financial success.

It is important first to assess your financial needs.

What are your financial objectives? What do you want to achieve in the course of time? Do you have any targets? What are your short, medium and long term needs? List all of them down.

Next categorize income and expenses on a monthly basis. Then prioritize expenses into least important, important and most important. After this, assess costs based on consumption per month.

Put figures to the expense items. Then write down your income sources and the amount you earn per month from them. List the income on the left and the expenses on the right. Add up income amounts against expense amounts and find the difference to determine surplus or deficit.

Once you have added and reduced items and figures several times and you are finally satisfied with the results, type your figures into a computer spreadsheet or word processor table and save it. To make it work successfully for you, you must vow to stick to the budget. Any deviation must be absolutely necessary and funds should be made available separately to meet the extra expenditure. Where no funds are available, some cutbacks or borrowing from other expenses may be necessary. This should always be the exception, and never the rule.

If we could, most of us would want to spend more and more irrespective of our financial ability. However, arbitrary unbudgeted spending is generally hazardous to our financial health!

Ways to Save Money

(Without Really Trying)

Never go grocery shopping without a list.

Avoid buying non-food items such as laundry detergent, shampoo, napkins, and tissues at the grocery store. Usually you can get these items much cheaper at warehouse or discount stores.

To save money on mileage as well as your time, pick one day a week to do all of your shopping and errands.

If you have the storage space, stock up on staples when they are on sale.

See movies in the afternoon when prices are often cheaper.

Go out to eat for lunch instead of dinner.

Visit the library and borrow books and videos for free.

Plan a picnic in a scenic areas for a low cost outing.

Look for coupons in the paper each week for restaurants and save them in a folder for future use.

Develop inexpensive hobbies such as bike riding or hiking that allow you to get exercise and fresh air.

For vacations, go camping instead of staying at hotels.

If possible, travel off season when the rates are lower.

Buy airlines tickets in advance and pay for them right away.

If you delay, the price will usually increase the closer it gets to your trip time.


Expect the Unexpected

Tracking your expenses for a month is a great way to identify routine expenses. However, life is not routine. Prepare for the unexpected. Here are a few examples of unexpected or unusual expenses. Set aside a little every month to spend on these events.

You'll need to examine your own life to make a complete list.

Change in Life Expenses

Weddings & Baby Showers

Holidays & Birthdays

Home & Car Repairs

Broken Appliances

Office Parties

Medical Costs

Emergency Travel


10 Tips for Creating a Household Budget


Goals can be as short-term as buying a new pair of shoes next week, or as long-term as going on vacation next spring.


If it's just you, great. But if you have a spouse and/or children, create a budget together, and explain to everyone that they may be asked to make sacrifices.


A budget that leaves no money for an occasional dinner out or for a family outing at an amusement park is designed to fail. Your budget should help you, not put you in a bind.


Most people look at saving as putting away money for a rainy day. But a better way to look at it is putting away money for a nice vacation.


If you don't know where your money goes, how do you expect to manage it?


Buy what you need first. The wants belong in the "what's left over" category.


Look down the road, and get into the habit of thinking ahead.


Focus on identifying high interest-rate debt and work on paying that debt off.


It could be the envelope system, a bank or a credit union. If it works for you, use it.


Creating and sticking to a budget that works won't be easy, but in the end it will help you make the most of your hardearned money.


The Trivia Block

The powder on chewing gum is finely-ground marble!





Tom Marks

Tom Marks

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
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