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Family Budget Tips - How to easily plan a family budget

Updated on January 22, 2011

Before You Get Started

When you are planning a budget for your family you need to look at your monthly income and expenses first. Some families also receive assistance from state agencies, it can be either food or cash assistance, or both. You can have an income and still receive state assistance, in this case you should also plan this into your budget. Then you need to figure in all the rest of the costs to run your household. You should make a list of your monthly bills and how often they are paid, some bills are paid a few times a year - in this case divide the total amount into what would be it's monthly payment, for ex. water bill is $125.00 every three months, it would calculated into about $42.00 a month.

If you have children like I do, you will need to figure out an amount that would be for your children's needs each month, for ex. money for diapers, wipes, school clothes, etc. If you have pets you need to figure out how much it costs monthly to take proper care of your pet or pets. A category for your car is also helpful in planning gas money for the month or costs to maintain your vehicle. Also I find it helpful to have a miscellaneous category to help cover costs of an unexpected expense or something you may have just forgotten about when you designed your budget.

Income and Expenses

I will show an example of a family budget that has personal income, state assistance, and expenses for the home, with children and pets. You can adjust my example to fit your needs by taking items out that do not apply to you or adding something in that may differ from the example.

Your income should be greater than or equal to your expenses each month.  In my example the income is slightly more, so in this case I would recommend at the end of each month transfering the difference to a savings account.  Also transfer any additional money you may have not used from each category to the savings account.  By doing this you can feel secure that in the event of an emergency you will have some cash available.

Income Source
Income Amount per Month
Expense Amount per Month
Income for Person #1
Electric Bill 
Income for Person #2
TV Bill 
Food Stamps 
Phone Bill & Internet
Cash Assistance
Water Bill (every 3 months)
Sewer Bill (every 3 months)
Garbage Bill (twice a year)
House Insurance
Cell Phone Bill
Car Insurance
Heating Bill (coal heat 7 tons yearly)
Cost for Food
Children's Needs
Amount for Pets
Amount for Vehicles
Total Income
Total Expenses

Changes and Updates

 The needs of a family can change from day to day, month to month, or year to year.  Be sure to update your budget often to make sure it is meeting all of the needs of your family.  Expenses can also change quite often, so be sure to update as soon as possible if any expenses are going up in price or down.  The same applies to income, if it changes update as soon as possible. 

Cutting Expenses

By making a budget for your family you can easily look for ways to cut down on some of your expenses. This can be done by closely looking at your bills and checking if you can get rid of any extra fees. For example, by taking a different cell phone plan you may be able to cut the cost by $20 or more, etc.

It may take a few months to get your budget precise. Be patient! You may forget about certain expenses when first planning your budget, but remember you can add and adjust as you go. Once you have your budget set up be sure to follow it, by committing to the budget it will not only let you see where your money is going, but it will also help you to increase your savings and possibly cut your expenses.


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    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      elayne001 - Thanks for reading and commenting...You are exactly right, each person would need to modify the budget to fit their income and expenses. The one I supplied was just a basic example on how to set one up. Every household is different and each budget will share some aspects, but each will be completely different from one another.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Very useful information. I think the costs will be a bit higher here in Hawaii, however. Our electricity bill runs almost $300 per month. Gasoline for the car here is $3.50 plus per gallon. I guess each person would adjust the costs per month according to where they live, etc.

      Here is a hub I wrote about adding another baby: