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The Family Budget and Credit Card Balances

Updated on May 6, 2011

Times are tough. Few people have not been hit in some way by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and probably none more so than the average family. Rising costs in essential living items including fuel for vehicles and utilities along with rising interest rates for mortgages, personal loans and credit cards has no doubt stretched most family budgets.

Update the Family Budget

It is important in these times to review the household income and expenses and update the family budget. While it may be advisable in normal circumstances to pay as much off the credit card balances as possible each month, if the school fees are due and the bank balance is low, it makes more sense to pay the school fees and make a lower payment on the credit card.



Review Credit Card Payments

Of course, this should not continue on a regular basis. Keeping to the minimum payment due at the end of the month can cost hundreds of extra and unnecessary dollars spent on interest alone over a 12-month period. Reviewing your credit card payments will be an instant aid in the short term. It will also help get you through any rough patches you may be experiencing.

If your income has stayed at a steady level throughout the GFC it is still advisable to check your spending. Keep receipts from the grocery store over four weeks and compare them weekly. This can give you an idea of how much more you may be spending at the checkout. Non-essential items, such as sweet treats or sodas should be the first items to go. While the staples, bread, milk and fresh produce, should always form a large part of the weekly shopping.

Family Budget Categories

School Fees
Car Registration 
Credit Cards 
Additional Interest
Forward planning and keeping the budget simple takes the worry out of personal finances.

When reviewing the family budget, be sure to include any additional fees or interest charges if your credit card balance has increased. This will occur at different times depending on your family needs. Holidays and beginning of year costs for school fees, books and resources need to be taken into account. By being prepared and knowing ahead of time what your expenses will cost the following month, there will be less chance of running out of cash or sending your credit card balance through the roof.



Avoid Credit Card Balance Over the Limit

Having credit cards to use in times of emergencies can be life savers but avoid letting the credit card balance go over the limit. Most credit card providers charge severely even if the amount is only for a day or a few dollars. It is better to approach them for an increased limit than pay additional fees. The limit can always be reduced when the crisis is over.

Copyright © Karen Wilton 2011


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    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for reading Ddraigcoch. Appreciate the comment.

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from UK

      A very up to date post. Good read thanks.x

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Vocalcoach, how lovely of you to stop by for a read and comment.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Very good tips and advice! Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful article. Rated up!

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Eiddwen. I do hope someone can take this and get their credit card debt under control. It is good to see you back on HubPages. Here's to the best writing year for both of us!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub, very easy to understand and well presented.I'm sure that many will benefit from reading this and the very best to you and may you write many more great hubs such as this one in this new year.

      A useful and up for this one.

      Take care.

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 7 years ago from Australia

      That's a great analogy Winsome. Too many people forget about carrying the spare tank. Good to see you and thanks heaps for such a great comment.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Karanda, nice to see you.

      A budget is a little like driving on the freeway. Go too fast too long and you run out of gas. Slow down and you may get a few honks, but cut somebody off and be prepared for a melt down. I say watch where you are going, keep your eye on the gauges and carry a spare tank. =:)

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 7 years ago from Australia

      Oh yes, I think I am due for a makeover, but can the budget afford one? Never mind, I can put it on the credit card because I was so clever with my spending over the holidays.

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 7 years ago

      One has to have a makeover each year ya know lol, I look forward then to many more helpful hubs, good luck moi friend ; )

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks TattoGuy, lucky for me the contest topic is an easy one for me to write on, I worked in the finance field for many years. Nice to see you and your new redhead.

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 7 years ago

      Good advice my friend, lets hope we see a lot more hubs from you in 2011 ; )