Taking control of your family budget can be a daunting challenge. Managing your expenses well can be the key to finding ways to save money and balance the family budget – but we all know that when life happens, even the best-laid saving plans can go out the window.
Like anything overwhelming, sometimes the best way to get started is to break the most important tasks down into several straightforward steps. A simple three-step guide can help you on your way:
1. Create a household budget
2. Make a savings plan
3. Review regularly to find ways to save money.
Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is different. Be sure to seek financial advice from a professional if you feel you need more help.
But for now, let’s run through the basics.
One of the hardest things is keeping track of what you spend, especially when inevitable curveballs come your way. Having to buy a new washing machine or hot water system often happens at the least convenient time!
To help, we’ve created this handy budgeting-at-a-glance guide to help you work out what you spend, separated into fixed and variable expenses. This might help you successfully set aside money for when you need it the most.
Fixed expenses and Variable expenses
Fixed expenses cost the same amount each week, month, quarter or year. These bills are usually there to stay – you can’t do much to stop them coming in, but there might be small tweaks or changes you can make to reduce what they cost.
It’s much easier to budget for fixed expenses because they’re charged regularly. This means you can plan for them and you’re likely able to estimate how much they’ll
Variable expenses change regularly. While many of your variable expenses form an essential part of life and are composed of things you can’t really do without, they are more likely to be influenced by the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis.
Variable expenses usually represent the biggest opportunity to make lifestyle changes or do things differently to save money.
To really take control of your household spending, try documenting your fixed and variable expenses in a simple budget spreadsheet or app. You can add in your income too to get a close-to-complete picture of your total family budget, and how you’re managing your money.
Make a savings plan
Once you’ve got a handle on your household budget, it’s time to set goals for what you want to save for. Is it a new car, family holiday, that bathroom renovation you’ve put off for years.