What are your tips for creating, sticking to, & managing a family budget? (Weekly Topic Inspiration)
Budgeting as a single person is significantly different from creating and managing a family budget? What advice would you give to others looking to create, stick to, and improve their family budgets? Share your tips in Hub Answer form as part of this week’s Weekly Topic Inspiration challenge. For group support and search-friendly titles you can use, stop by our forum thread: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/94145
Investing some time planning your family budget can save you lots of money.
Things you need to do to gain personal financial stability. read more
I manage a budget for our family of 7 (which means about 140 meals a week) and we also do a lot of entertaining and providing meals for other people (I fed 45 people this last weekend for two different events). I look for bargains at the supermarket. I know that meat is on sale on M to W morning. I take it home and freeze or cook it right away. Another key to budgeting is asking "Do I really need this? Is there anything else I already have that can do this job?" Finally, I think that it is important to teach our kids to ask those same questions and to help them see the value of shopping at 2nd hand stores to get more for our money. Our family wouldn't have to do second hand shopping but I know that at some point my kids might be in a financial situation where they would need to do that. Besides, being taught to share, reuse, recyle and make do creates character. It isn't just about money, it is about values.
My fiance is the King of Coupons, and his diligence in using coupons and on buying on sale items is amazing. We regularly save 33% or more at the grocery store, and we never buy something we don't really want just because it's on sale.
We also save a lot by belonging to the local food coop and buying at a wonderful local produce market where prices are always significantly lower than at the big box markets.
As for me, I am the Queen of eBay! It is my first stop when buying almost anything, certainly clothing, shoes and household items. I am also a big fan of buying used (or, as I prefer to say, "pre-loved" :-) items at antique or second-hand shops.
Another tip is to explore the store brands, especially on beauty products. I use a wonderful moisturizer that would be a very costly product, but I buy the CVS version; it is usually 25% less, more when on sale.
Other thoughts: Check with your vet to see if they offer a discount if you bring multiple pets in for their annual exams at the same time; most do. If you haven't joined a club store (Sam's Club, Costco, BJs) then do so--your savings can be remarkable and they have responded to requests and have smaller-sized packages in stock now.
But the biggest savings of all come from Do It Yourself. Teach yourself how to use basic tools and tackle small projects first. The money you will save can be absolutely astonishing, plus you will have the satisfaction of knowing the job was done right--and the priceless ability to say, I did it myself!"
My husband and I made a chart on a dry erase board and hung it on our refrigerator. It includes
1. How much money we receive every two weeks.
2. How much we owe for rent that month (we pay half every two weeks).
3. How much all our bills are.
4. How much we spent on groceries.
5. We add all the things together and subtract that from how much we made.
6. We put about 1/3 of that in our savings account and keep the rest for gas and anything else we want or need.
We also keep a close check on our bank account to see how much money we have and how long until my husband gets paid again before we decide to buy anything that we don't really need, but want.
Another thing that has made it easier for us is that we buy generic everything. It tastes the same, for less. If there are ever any specials on meat at our grocery store we buy in bulk and freeze it.
Supercouponing is my answer to staying within my spending budget for the week or month. I've been doing supercouponing now for several months and have even written a few Hubs about it. In essence, you need to get a hold of your Sunday paper and grab its coupon inserts. From there, go to online coupon sites like Coupons.com and SavingStar. If your local stores do double coupon days, shop only during those days and stock up on your coupon items that are ALSO on discount. Combine those store discounts and sales with your coupons to save even more money. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, use the items you purchase! Don't let them go to waste or languishe somewhere deep down in your cupboards.
I created a budget for our family when I started staying at home after having a baby. I looked at past months of spending and saw what was necessary and what was extra. I created categories and general guidelines of how much we needed to spend in those categories. Of course, it goes without saying that we couldn't spend more than we were bringing in. I tried to build in some cushion for times that we had unexpected expenses.
As far as sticking to the budget, some people use envelopes of cash for the different categories. Some people are able to stick to their budget while using debit or credit cards. It just depends on the person.
We all try and cut back on the amount we spend, but our biggest monthly bill is probably our food bill. Trying to save money in the supermarkets is a constant battle. But by shopping around and making use of what you have in your store cupboard, you could be onto making big savings. read more
Managing your finances does not require you to maintain a complex excel file or use a budgeting software. For starters, it needs the will to do so and a bit of foresight and a habit of making notes! read more
Being able to cook is key to making the money spin until you get paid again.If you have 3 eggs and a few ounces of cheese and a slice of bacon in the fridge, turn it into a quiche - delicious and will make a meal for 4 with a bit of salad and a jacket spud. Make your own bread and cupcakes (or even big cakes).
Make a sausage pie for snacks with a half pound of sausage meat and half a packet of made up sage and onion stuffing - it's spicy and gorgeous and cheap. There's all sorts you can make that cost a fortune made up in the shops. Best tip of all though - have a 'baking morning' or 'day' and use up valuable oven space with lots of bakes at the same time and save on the electric or gas.
Only fill the kettle with enough water for what ever you're drinking - does save on the 'lecky' and it does mount up - ohhh - guess I'd better shape up and do a hub on this eh...? Hope this was useful
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