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The Last Step You’ll Ever Need in Controlling Your Finances: A Family Budget

How to Put Together a Family Budget

This is part I in the series How to Put Together a Family Budget.   (Family Budget Part II)

How is your family budget?  Do you know how much money you spend each month on little things like a soda at the convenience store, or a cup of coffee at Starbucks? When an emergency comes up, do you find yourself scrambling to cover the cost? Is your credit card debt increasing as you charge things because you don’t have the cash to pay for things you need (or want)? Are you living paycheck to paycheck and run out of money before pay day? Do you ever see something you want to buy, but you’re not sure if you have enough money to pay for it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your money is in control of you.

That’s the bad news. The good news is it doesn’t have to stay this way. Now is the time to get realistic about your money by putting together a family budget. You may be thinking that a family budget won’t help because lack of money is your problem. Lack of money may contribute, but a family budget will make sure you are spending every dollar wisely. And it will force you to take an honest look at your finances, and make needed changes.

Step One in Creating a Family Budget

Spending Log: In order to create a budget, you must first find out where you are spending your money, and why you are spending your money. I recommend taking anywhere from a few days to a full month to gather this information. I can’t stress enough the importance of this step. It may seem like an easy one to skip, but the information you gather will be invaluable in creating your budgeting plan.

  1. Download the Spending Log Form (or create your own) and print out several pages.
  2. You may complete this spending log daily as you spend money for a month, or complete it using information you have at home. This includes bank statements, utility bills, spending receipts, or any other records which shows spending.
  3. For every dollar you spend, write the date, the description, the category, and check whether it was a need or a want.
  4. Consider these categories, and add any unique to your situation: housing, utilities, food, clothing, insurance, medical, entertainment, transportation, credit cards, loan payments.

The next part of the How to Put Together a Family Budget  series, you will use the information from your Spending Log Form and put it into a budget that will work for your family.

Are you in on this first step? Don’t be shy – I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

How to Budget Your Money Part II

Photo Credit: Jen_Jen

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Category: Budgeting

Comments (8)

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  1. 1
    Jim Spence says:

    Saturday I was looking for sites about Home Contents Insurance and specifically about home emergency insurance and I found your site.

  2. 2
    Kelly says:

    I’m recently divorced and just want to get back on track and love your site. I tried to open your Spending Log form and I can’t for some reason? is there another version of it somewhere? thanks! love the site!!!

  3. 3
    Rob says:

    Hi, i tried to download the “My Budget Planner” but it wouldn’t come up. Might check that out. Thanks.

  4. 4
    Rob says:

    Hi, i tried to download the “My Budget Planner” but it wouldn’t come up. Might check that out. Thanks.

  5. 5
    Dena says:

    I tried to open the link for the “My Budget Planner” and it didn’t work. Do you have a link you can post so I can get into that? From reading the comments I’m glad to see I’m not the only one having problems.

  6. 6
    Candace says:

    Hi Dena!
    The link is fixed now. Sorry about that!

  7. 7

    I have gone through countless articles and videos on budgeting. To be very honest, I have never found such comprehensive and detailed briefing on the subject before. Great work.

  8. 8

    This site is amazing…………
    Before i get this I never found this type of article……
    the video & the explanation is brief and informative.
    Thanks for sharing this article…..