Creating a simple household budget is necessary if you hope to get a handle on why it seems like some months there’s too much month left at the end of the money. All household budgets should include sections that track both income and expenses. You can get as creative as you want with a simple household budget. Many savvy consumers use budgets to identify options for saving, investing and, of course, spending.
Let’s face it, budgeting is boring. But you can make it exciting – kind of – by exercising complete control over how you spend your money. Remember, you are in the driver's seat. Whether you have your heart set on a great pair of heels, a designer tie or a more sobering – but infinitely more sensible – money market investment, creating and sticking with a simple household budget can help you achieve your goals. In the short term, a budget can help you rise to the top of the fashion ladder, and in the long term, it can set you up for a well-planned, comfortable retirement.
Choose a format you are comfortable with and create a document that addresses your goals. Using accounting software and its built-in budget templates makes creating a simple household budget a snap. Spreadsheets work well too, and the major ones have built-in budgeting templates. You may find it easier to jot down your expenses as you go on your handheld computing device. There are always the old standbys – pencil and paper. Keep a small notebook in your handbag or jacket pocket, and use it to track expenses, which you can transfer to a spreadsheet later.
The first step to putting a budget together is to list all of your income. Start creating a simple household budget by listing your take-home pay under an income heading. When entering income, consider all sources. Get a bonus lately? Record it. Anticipating an end-of-year gift and pretty sure of the amount? Document it. Sell some surplus items on the Internet? It’s income; write it down. You get the idea.
Expenses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and many are fixed, such as the house or car payment, while many are variable, such as groceries and clothing purchases. If you’re guilty of making impulse purchases, it’s a good idea to create a line item that estimates your habit’s monthly impact on the bottom line. After all, when creating a simple household budget, what you’re looking for is a snapshot of your income and expenses. You won’t get that if you don’t record every expense to the best of your ability.
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