Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Maintaining a Household Budget

By Mary Bush

Do you understand the power of budgeting? Do you know that by budgeting your money you could save hundreds even thousands of dollars every month? Do you know that budgeting is not hard?

Probably the easiest part of budgeting is making and designing it. Sure, writing down all your expenses and allotting your income to take care of it is time consuming, but it really isn't that difficult. The hardest part of budgeting is actually following the budget.

Why is it hard to follow a budget? The answer to this question is the same reason why you don't make a budget in the first place. When you make a budget, you are restricting your expenditures. There is only a certain amount of money you are able to spend on things. It's no problem spending a certain amount on your rent because that's the amount you always spend on it, but it's much harder to restrict how much you spend on fun things like going out, food, or vacation.

In order to properly maintain a budget, you need to make sure you build a good enough budget that you can stick to. It's easy to say at first that you are going to spend half as much money on food than you normally do saving $100 a month, but once you hit the grocery store, you realize that a lot of what you spend your money on is really a necessity.

When you are planning your budget, first go after the expenses where you are wasting the most money. For example, if you spend $100 a week eating out, you know for sure that if you cut it back to maybe once a month, you could save over $250. On the other hand, if eating out is how you connect with your friends and you spend a lot of money on groceries that you know you can cut back on, then focus on the groceries first.

This is not to say that you don't need to cut back on the expenses that you enjoy more and don't want to give up. If you eat out for enjoyment, even after saving $100 a month on your groceries, you should still try to cut back because you could save much more.

The point is that you want to save wherever you can, especially if you are in debt. If you are in severe debt, than you need to cut back on everything immediately. But if you are just looking to save money, you can afford to take it slow. It's better to slowly move in to saving money and be effective, than to give up entirely.


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