Starting a Family on a Budget

This is a guest post by Holly Miller, who writes for Coupon Croc.

If you do not keep tabs on your spending habits, they can easily get out of control. When starting a family on a limited income, budgeting is especially important. Families with limited resources face additional pressure when it comes to keeping spending in check. Raising a family comes with many expenses, from food and clothing to school and sports. Creating a budget allows you to plan your monthly expenditures in advance, and to more easily make choices for necessary adjustments. Budgeting allows your family to be financially prepared for minor setbacks and helps when starting a plan for savings.

The first step in budgeting is to review your spending history. A period of six months gives a realistic overview of your average monthly expenditures. Examine your spending, and be realistic about areas in which you can save money. Reduce your food budget by planning to cook, if your family eats meals out of the home often. Reserve one night per week for a family restaurant outing, rather than making it a routine.

Next, create a budget. This is a written plan that details how money will be spent each month. Begin with your monthly bills. Rent, utilities, debt payments should be subtracted to the monthly net income to determine just how much your family can afford to distribute among other expenses. Factor in groceries, clothing and seasonal expenses, such as school supplies or summer daycare.

Make an additional plan for any leftover money. If your family is fortunate enough to have money after making all of its payments, start saving it. Any unexpected expenses, such as a broken appliance or a medical emergency, can be paid for out of savings without harming the established budget. This prevents from creating additional debt by using credit cards. Create several savings accounts to portion extra funds, if desired. A separate college savings account will keep money saved for your child’s education from being spent on a family vacation, for instance.

If your family does not have any extra money after the bills, it may be time to formulate ways to cut spending. Scale back on unnecessary expenses to create a little leeway in your budget. This will allow you to start a savings account. Move into a less expensive dwelling, or trade in your gas-guzzling vehicle for a fuel-efficient model. Shop at discount grocery stores or join a carpool to save gas money. Avoid paying retail prices for items. Use coupons, follow sales and select store-brand products to save money on groceries. Consider buying used products, when possible. Used clothing, shoes, books and toys save new families a lot of money. Sell your own gently used products to other families after you no longer need them.

This was a guest post by Holly Miller, who writes for Coupon Croc. Protect your family, and car, with sufficient insurance coverage; use Prudential car insurance discount codes and save on your policies.

One response to “Starting a Family on a Budget”

  1. Good advice here! Another thing I would add, and this applies to everyone really, is to just live within your means. People always seem to find a house which they can just BARELY afford, and drive a car that is stretching them thin. This adds unnecessary stress. Living well within your means is better for you, and better for your bank account!

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