If you are like most Aussie working families, you work from week to week paying the bills, the mortgage and factoring in school expenses, play dates, presents, clothes and if you are lucky, the occasional night out.
With all the expenses today’s families face, having a gook working family budget can be a lifesaver and one that will prevent a bucket load of stress when you receive those unwanted, or unscheduled bills.
We’ve compiled some tips to get your household budget started. There’s no need to wait for the New Year – start your new budget at any time – now is as good time as any!
- Know what you earn
Getting to know what you earn and what you spend is crucial. You may be living beyond your means and not even realise.
Money Smart has a great online budget program you can use or download their excel spreadsheet version. Alternatively, use this as a guide and develop your own. Record all the income you receive from your income, your partner’s and any additional payment or benefits you receive.
- Know what you spend!
Here’s the tricky part! Detail all your expenses – from food, fuel, bills, car, medical, insurance, clothes and entertainment. Pop it all in there to get a good idea of what you spend on a weekly/fortnightly/monthly basis. From here you can see if you are left with a nice surplus or need to rein things in. Always keep some slush money aside for the unexpected expenses.
- Keep track of when your bills are due
If you create a weekly budget, keep track of when your bills are due so you don’t have any nasty surprises that send your weekly budget out of whack. Pay in advance where you can if the opportunity is there to save money by paying early.
- Plan ahead
If you know that all your car insurances and registrations are due right after Christmas, be sure to plan ahead and keep the money aside. If you keep your bill money separate, you will have a better chance of not being caught out in those expensive months. Which brings us to our last point…
- Open separate bills bank account
If you find keeping bills money aside difficult, a great idea is to open a separate bills account that all your direct debits come out of. This way you aren’t tempted to grab that latest pair of jeans…