ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Create a Family Budget You Can Stick To

Updated on December 2, 2009
Photo: sciondriver,Flickr
Photo: sciondriver,Flickr

Do you want to know the secret of creating a family budget you can stick to? The secret is to understand what you spend money on right now. If you don’t know where your money goes, you are powerless to take steps to affect that spending. It’s no use creating some arbitrary budget and willing yourself to live within it. Instead, by creating a ‘budget’ of your current spending, you become aware of how you spend money, for better or worse. Armed with this information, you can make changes.

Any time you’re ready is a great time to create a family budget, so if you’re serious, get some paper, pencils, and a container to collect receipts and let’s get budgeting!

Tracking Expenses

Because the secret to creating a workable family budget is to identify your current expenses, you’re going to need a way to track them. While some expenses like rent or a mortgage are fixed, many others vary. You may not know how much you actually spend at the coffee shop until you really look at it. Tracking doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be high tech.

If you have the ability to categorize your spending electronically through your bank or a personal finance software program, try utilizing this feature. Some people put everything on a credit card and categorize spending at the end of the month. A very effective method is simply to keep all your receipts and log them in a spiral notebook. It sounds tedious, but yields priceless information.

You’ll want to collect spending information for a least a couple of weeks, a couple of months is better. Create some budget line items such as Groceries, Medicine, and Clothing. Along with fixed expenses, this creates your budget.

I used to use Quicken, but when my bank started offering online bill pay, many of it’s features were rendered useless. Now I keep my budget on a very simple Excel spreadsheet, but you can do the same thing on paper.

Using the Budget as a Tool

Starting with the budget of current spending, continue tracking, but also use the budget to decide how and where you can make changes.

If you are spending more than you are bringing in, you need to cut costs. A simple way to do this is to label all expenditures as wants or needs. If it’s a need it gets cut! Repeat until your expenses are under control.

If you have trouble cutting in a certain area, you might consider living on a cash basis for that particular expense. For example, if you find your family is spending $200 a month on dining out and you’d like to cut that by half, put $100 cash in an envelope at the beginning of the month and use that for eating out. Once the money’s gone, it’s gone. No excuses, and no credit cards!

Having a written budget is a key step in improving your family’s financial well-being. It gives you control over your spending and serves as a valuable tool for making changes to the way you use the money you have.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)