One of the key aspects of creating a successful financial plan for a year is to establish a workable home budget that deals with your expenses, manages your debt and also builds your savings at the same time. A home budget can be defined as a plan that pre-determines your spending goals, spread over a certain period of time (in this instance, 1 year).
Understand your income and cash flow
To chalk out a workable home budget, your income is the first thing that you need to consider. It must include all forms of income that is being received by you, like your pay cheque, interests and dividends that you earn from investments, tax refunds and gifts too. When you are calculating the “Cash Flow”, you however need to consider your expenses too - both anticipated expenses like food, conveyance, loan payments, taxes, supplies etc. as well as the unanticipated ones like medical bills and car repair costs. The incoming and outgoing money in your household is your cash flow. Good home budgeting can better your cash flow, i.e. will help you ensure more inflow and fewer outflows while reckless spending can do just the opposite The bottom line therefore should be to successfully manage and tackle the cash flow.
Home budgeting tips
Manage your home budget by tracking all the income/expenses that have occurred in your household month on month to figure out the bigger picture for a whole year. This will help you understand your weekly, monthly and annual cash flow and provide you with a good understanding of how your money is spent and saved. You will notice an improvement in savings with the progress of each month, as the stringent tracking of expenses will help you take a disciplined approach to excessive spending.
Once you understand the patterns of your income and savings graph you will be able to forecast your expenditure for the upcoming year, set new goals with regard to repaying your debts, planning your investments and improving your savings. To secure your finances for the future it is important that you save a minimum of 5-10% of your income every year.
Your sample home budget checklist
Groceries and supplies
Car/ Gas maintenance bills
Communication expenses like phone bills, cell phone bills, internet and cable TV charges
The reason why ‘Entertainment’ finds a place right at the end is primarily because this needs to the first to be sacrificed in a month where an unplanned or emergency expense crops up!
Paying the bills (even if you are not working and everything is being paid for from your spouse’s money), must be a prerogative for both the partners. Remember that you can chalk out a workable home budget and better the prospects of your family’s financial planning only if you have a clear-cut idea of the financial dealings that you need to make every month.
The most successful of budgets always include a contingency fund or an emergency account, to meet the unexpected costs that may arise in a household due to unforeseen events like a job loss for instance! Anywhere between 2 and 6 months of average income must always stay intact in this account.
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