You can create a household budget online for free with just a few clicks on your keyboard. As an added bonus, online budget worksheets afford you far more flexibility in terms of accounting for irregular income and expenses than simple ledgers do. Use your online household budget to gain insight into your financial habits, and manipulate the numbers so that you can better attain short- and long-term monetary goals.
Select a budget worksheet with categories that suit your lifestyle. Some people live by numbers and firmly established goalsl. Others rebel against them and prefer a more nuanced household budget, with a general miscellaneous category or an adult allowance. The free household budget guides at Mint.com and Kiplinger allow for a range of options.
Assemble all your paycheck stubs, bank statements, bills and other financial records. You need a complete picture of your monthly as well as annual spending.
Enter your income and expenses on the online household budget worksheet. In the case of bills that fluctuate dramatically, such as seasonal utilities, you can add a 10 percent cushion to your figures, or enter a single average figure for your utilities individually or as a group.
Account for savings and spending surprises. Every year brings some irregular financial situations, and your budget can accommodate them. Amortize irregular sources of income and expenses such as bonuses, gifts, taxes, repairs and vacations by creating an average monthly figure or a payment to an account for short-term savings goals that covers surprise expenses.
Establish goals. Even the simplest online budget worksheets have entries where you can create regular payments toward monetary goals. The typical order of household budget goals begins with paying down high-interest debt, then building an emergency savings account that covers at least six months of expenses, and then creating a savings account for major financial goals, which should include contributing to a workplace retirement account.
- Check your budget after a month or two to ensure you have allotted your funds correctly.
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.