Kimberly Steinhoff December 2, 2019 Family Budget
More often then not when we start to speak about a home budget or budget spreadsheet, we tend to focus on the setting up and the working with the budget; as if that was all there was to running a family`s home budget; never touching on the broader and more general aspects of home budgeting that interlace to form a overall successful financial picture. The successfulness of your budget spreadsheet will be reflected in how you handle, define, and process all of your financial information. For todays discussion, we will only focus on your family`s checkbook and the effects misinformation can have your family`s home budget.
To avoid running out of money because expenses occur before the money actually arrives a "safety cushion" of excess cash (to cover those months when actual income is below estimations) should be implemented. There is no easy way to develop a safety cushion, so you will have to spend less you earn. Developing a cushion can be a challenging particularly when starting during a low spot in your earning cycle, although this is how most budgets begin. In general, personal and family budgets that start out with expenses that are 5% or 10% below your average income and should slowly develop a cushion of savings that can be accessed when earnings are below average. Whether this rate of building your cushion cushion is fast enough depends upon on how variable your income is, and whether the budgeting process starts at a high or low point during the earnings cycles.
A budget needs to estimate your average (yearly) income. Spending, which will be relatively constant, needs to be maintained below that amount. A budget should allow for error and so keeping expenses 5% or 10% below the estimated income is a conservative approach. When done correctly, your budget should end any given year with about 5% of their income left over. Of course being conservative and having more than 5% is never a bad idea.
Your home budget software should aid you in the reaching your short and long term goals in life. If it does not, than you should not be using it. Likewise, your home budget software should provide you with useful information about your future projected bank balances. Elements that contain Information such as daily bank balances, your lowest weekly bank balance, and bank balance trends over time (charts). If you are going to budget out your expenses, then those projected expenses will (over time) affect your bank balance. These elements are paramount to any successful home budget.
Checkbook registers come in many sizes, shapes, and colors; yet, for all of their physical diversities, their only function is to provide information about your bank account. And since you are basing your lifestyle on the amount of funds in your bank account; it would behoove you to have an accurate account. Remember, you are the first line of defense against potential problems that can arise from having misinformation. Of course, you can be like our friend above who waited and had his card returned, deflated and useless only then to realize that there is a serious problem.
Once your checkbook is balanced, you should take a moment to look at the wealth of information contained therein. What? What is this wealth of information you are talking about? Try looking at your checkbook as a snap shot of your spending habits over time. By looking at what you purchase, where you go to purchase it, and how frequently you travel there to purchase it; it will soon be clear to your brain that all of those little trips to the store sure do add up! Look at all the gas you are using, and the wear and tear you are putting on your vehicle. Since you are spending the money already, you might as well purchase the items once a week and not on an everyday basis. Likewise, since you already know the items that you purchase on a daily basis, you might consider buying them in bulk (only if bulk means costing less!).
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