CREATING A FAMILY BUDGET

First, and this is really important, remember the family budget is an ongoing project that you will work on and perfect over time. There will be mistakes and you will learn how to balance your budget well over time. Be forgiving of yourself. We all make mistakes. 
Okay, now we can talk about creating a family budget. First, you have to figure out how much money is coming in, your income.  “Add up your expected monthly income, plus any side income. If you are paid at odd intervals, just get as close as you can. You might want to take your annual income and divide by 12. If your income is uncertain, then choose an amount that is realistic, but conservatively low. You can always adjust it later,” advises Small Notebook. Org. 
Next, you have to figure out what your expenses are. Try to be honest with yourself. How much do you really spend on groceries, on bills? I had a friend who budgeted her family so that the children could eat but not the parents. That is a big mistake, right? Food is important, and having someone not eat to get by is not a solution. “It’s tempting to set up a lot of categories, but don’t go overboard. If you’re doing it on paper, just use general categories. If you’re using software, you could create more as you need them.” So, give yourself an honest look on what you need as a family. Small Notebook.Org lists a few categories: “Debt payoff – Paying off any kinds of debt should be a high priority. It will free up your income for future opportunities when you are not burdened with the monthly payments and interest. Home – Rent or mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes. You could even include home repairs and furnishings in this budget category. Utilities – Monthly bills for water, electricity, gas, phone, internet, cable. Car – Car payments, gas, insurance, repairs, registration, inspection, tires. Healthcare – Doctor visits and prescriptions. Food – Groceries and dining out. I separate the two because groceries are essential, but eating out is an indulgence. Personal – Clothing, hair cuts, wants, entertainment. One-time or big expenses – I set aside money each month for any big-ticket items before buying them. Grace, [room for error].” 
After this, make sure you calculate the expenses and try to make them less than the income. “Have a goal. Whatever your goal may be – a home purchase, a remodeling project, an exotic vacation – it can help you find the discipline you need to squirrel away money by a certain deadline. Reflect on a goal you truly want to meet and resolve to do it.” 

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