14 Household Budgeting Tips

Bill Nadraszky

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1. Stay busy after work

One “easy" way to avoid overspending and thus stay within your budget is to have something else to do after work. Get a second job that is fun, go to school, volunteer or get into great physical shape. The more you do, the less you will spend!

2. Watch those miscellaneous categories

Make sure you have enough well-defined categories to capture your true spending. Putting too much into a miscellaneous category makes it harder to track what you have spent and harder to control, especially the splurges!

3. Need

If you did not know you need it, you probably do not. Do not buy things just because they are on sale. If you had no use or want for it before you saw it on sale, then you will have no use for it later.

5. Don't Forget to Budget for Special Occasions

When forecasting your expenses, remember to include gift-giving occasions. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries are good examples. If you plan to spend money on these occasions, remember to include this in your budget.

6. Don't use a debt to get out of another debt

Do not take out a consolidation loan to pay off your other debts. The point is to get out of it, not to squeeze them together and end up paying interest on the loan while paying off your debts. Try consulting a “free" debt counselor service first.

7. Remember To Budget Time As Well

We have all heard “time is money. " Well-spent time can be an investment. Take a few minutes to plan ways to save on bills - 15 or 20 min. researching lower rates on electricity or long distance can pay off. You will know when time spent is not worth it.

8. The envelope system

Total yearly/monthly bills, divide each into 12 months. Divide monthly amount into bi-weekly payments. Use envelope for each bill; put in cash every 2 weeks. Use only the cash in envelope till it is gone. Do not touch your account/debt card! Envelopes ONLY!

9. Good teeth cheaper

You can go to a dental school to have your teeth cleaned, filled, orthodontic work done, etc. The cost is approximately half what you would usually pay. Note: Make sure you have some extra time as this takes a little longer.

10. Avoid expensive friends

Avoid friends who want to go for drinks all the time or suggest an evening at home. The money you spend on drinks and snacks, can buy something better, or go into your savings account. Also avoid friends who want to have supper at your house because you are a “good cook" what that really means is that they are saving money while you are grocery shopping.

11. Keep Track of Your Expenses on a Daily Basis

I call the bank's automated line and do my banking every single night before I go to bed. I can see what checks and/or debits from my debit card are posted and what my running balance is. I compare with what I have in my checkbook or with receipts. This only takes about 10 minutes. Often people get into trouble when they try to keep a running total of what they have left in their head and get into trouble.

12. How To Live Within Your Budget

Organize, budget, and beat stress.

13. Know what you spend

Establishing a budget, and periodically entering all of your purchases into money managing software, should take the guesswork out of your finances. At the beginning, minor changes will most likely need to be made to your budget. Once you have a finalized budget, one person should be responsible for maintaining the budget and tracking finances. I sit down with my wife on a monthly basis and go over our financial results. If we are close to exceeding a budget line item during the month, I will tell my wife and we adjust our spending accordingly.

14. Cut down on interest

With bills happening throughout the month, people can find themselves poor one part of the month, and rich during the other. My bank offers free online bill pay, so I take all of my bills, and divide it by 4. I then pay weekly, so I always have the same spending cash each pay check. It also cuts down on the interest that accrues.

Have these tips been helpful for you? There is a lot you can do to improve your lifestyle just by following a few simple rules. Read more free tips on home finance at the home budget blog


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