Tag Archive | "spending"

3 Tips That Can Help You Avoid Derailing Your Budget

Here are 3 easy tips that you can use to make sure that your family budget isn’t derailed. Don’t worry, these are NOT very hard to implement and you can start today. The reason you really want to think about this is because creating a budget is only half the battle. Most people are capable of putting together a basic family budget. The hard part is when you run into day-to-day situations that can put your commitment to sticking to the budget to the test.

1) Make sure you have some money put away for emergency situations.

This might take a little while to get set into place, but it’s really important that you set aside some money for emergency situations. Look, it’s a fact of life. Sometimes things will arise that are unexpected. For example, you might suddenly start experiencing car problems. You take it into the repair shop, and are quoted a couple hundred dollars to get it fixed. This ordinarily would break a family budget — but not if you have some money set aside to deal with situations like this.

2) Never go shopping without having a clear idea of what you’re going to buy.

The last thing you want to do is go shopping with only a vague idea of what it is that you need to get. That’s the last thing you want to do. Why? It’s far too easy to buy things that aren’t really even necessary or that you had no intention of purchasing. How often have we gone to a store and suddenly spotted something that caught our interest. Before long, we’ve added it to our shopping cart. This adds up and can bust a family budget easily.

3) Don’t treat your credit cards as being a source of “free cash.”

This is a biggie. The last thing you want to do treat your credit cards as a source of “free” cash. This is a recipe for disaster. You need to make sure that any purchases that you make on your credit card are within your budget. However, a lot of families often find it far too tempting to charge things without really thinking about whether or not it’s a necessary expenditure.

If you heed this advice, you’re more likely to stick to your family budget and to avoid doing the things that can derail it.

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How To Determine If You Are Being Frugal Or Downright Cheap

As you and your family start to get serious about having a budget and about trying to keep expenses under control, there may come a time when you really need to figure out if you’re being frugal, or if you’re being downright cheap. Here’s a relatively simple way to figure that out.

While it’s true that those of us who are in the process of trying to get our finances under control will often focus on money, there’s also the issue of time. For example, does it really make sense to spend 2 hours clipping a grand total of $7 worth of coupons? Maybe, but probably not.

There’s no exact formula, and everyone will feel a little bit different about this, but you need to really try and measure whether or not the amount of time it takes to get something done is worthwhile relative to the amount of savings you hope to generate. Does that make sense?

Someone who is willing to drive around town for an extra 45 minutes because they want to save a few pennies on gas when they get more fuel is likely to be labeled by any occupants as being cheap. On the other hand, if you’re leaving the grocery store and you drive an extra two miles up the road to get your gas at a station that has a special sale, then you’re being frugal. In other words, you’re not engaging in extreme behavior that requires a lot of time and effort that ultimately only derives a relatively paltry amount of savings.

If you look at everything you and your family do through the prism of what others might be thinking, you might come to the conclusion that you’re being a bit too cheap at times. Nobody is going to like you if inconvenience others in a vein attempt to save a few pennies. That kind of behavior will universally result in you being described by anyone who comes into contact with you as being “cheap” behavior. Yes, it’s good to be frugal — but remember — being cheap typically means you’re not being wise with the use of your time.

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How To Keep Track Of Family Spending Without Being Obnoxious

There’s a fine line between keeping track of the money that your family is spending and becoming an obnoxious jerk about it. You’re not going to be very popular in your family if you follow everyone around with a notebook and pen jotting down all of the expenditures that are being made. Not only will it seem very crass, bu it will really take a lot of fun out of things that should be enjoyable. There’s a better approach.

We know it’s important that we keep track of where the money is going. We can’t just spend recklessly and blindly without accounting for where funds are flowing. So how do we track expenditures without being obnoxious about it?

Think about how how many of us make purchases. We either use a check, or we use a credit card. While it’s true that we sometimes use cash, that cash often comes straight from a bank checking account or savings account. You’ll see how you can track the cash in a moment. But let’s initially turn our attention to credit cards and checks.

Do you literally have to be standing over someone’s shoulder looking to see who they’re writing a check to at the moment the check is being drafted? How about when someone is making a credit card purchase? Do you literally have to be right there monitoring what the money is being spent on? See, this is what would make people feel a bit uncomfortable. Doing things like this would be obnoxious — and they’re completely unnecessary.

You can easily audit checking accounts at the end of the month and even look at the checkbook to see where the checks were made out to — assuming accurate records are kept, which they usually are. Credit cards are laughably simple to monitor. Every purchase results in a line-item entry when you get your monthly statement.

This brings us to cash. How can you monitor that? While it’s not as easily monitored, you can at least get a general sense of how much cash has been spent based on ATM transaction notices that are listed on your banking statements.

By following this advice, you can accurately monitor expenditures without being obnoxious about it. It’s not as hard as it might initially seem!

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