How to Manage Your Household Budget

Once you have created your household budget, you now face a potentially harder task—making it work. It may have been hard enough managing your own budget, but now that there is someone else involved in the spending, it can sometimes seem like an impossible task. If you have the job of taking care of your household's budget, it's your responsibility to take charge, get everyone on board and encourage each household member to stick to the plan.

Step 1

Establish reasonable "penalties" for household members (including yourself) who deviate from the budget, just so that each person knows it's not cool to disrespect the plan. For instance, if someone uses a credit card to make a frivolous purchase, take the card away or suspend privileges for one week. Make sure there is agreement the time you first establish the budget.

Step 2

Use cash instead of a debit or credit card, if possible. When the cash is gone, you can no longer make purchases. This will help you stay on track with your budget.

Step 3

Ask each person in your household who has access to the cash and credit accounts to bring receipts home each day and place them in a basket for review.

Step 4

Communicate with your partner and any other members of your household regularly regarding progress on your budget. Congratulate each other when you meet your goals. You should also address any concerns. If you find that your partner is still getting a manicure every week, for instance, it's a good idea to discuss the issue right away and find common ground.

Step 5

Update your budget each time something changes. For instance, if your cable company increases its rates, update that total and make any necessary adjustments to the rest of your budget.

Step 6

Open your budget every time you plan to make a major purchase or financial decision. Examine your budget and ask yourself "Can I really afford this?" If making that purchase will throw your budget into a tailspin, figure out an alternative solution for now.

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