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Five tips for creating a budget with a family budget example


How many times have you drafted up a household budget and then fallen short of your goals within a few months? If you need a solid family budget example, you’ve come to the right place. Ting Mobile is the phone provider that can help you meet your budget goals.

Recurring monthly expenses don’t have to be high stressors, so long as you make sure you’re prepared. If you’re wondering how to budget your money, or if you tend to have a hard time sticking to your budget and are struggling to keep up with your financial responsibilities, it may be time to change your approach.

Sitting down and taking a closer look at your spending habits isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary step for taking control of your finances.

Our family budget example: it all depends on the family

This family budget plan is built for an average family of four with two working parents. Remember, your budget is going to change and scale depending on how many people are in your family and what your income is.

Our generic family budget example works on a sliding scale of more modest expenses, with a higher range for people who live in more expensive areas or who have more budget to work with. This is intended as an example or guide only.

family budget example

  • Food and beverage: $300-$500
  • Household items: $50-$100
  • Entertainment/fun/social: $150-$200
  • Cord cutter subscriptions: $20-$40
  • Housing: $900-$1,500
  • Electric and gas: $150-$200
  • Car and transportation: $250-$500
  • Internet: $19-$89
  • Two phones for the parents: $50 (on Ting Mobile)
  • Clothes: $50-$100

On the lighter end in our example, a family could spend just under $2,000 a month at $1,939. On the higher end, a family might spend $3, 279 a month. What you spend all depends on how much money you have to work with and how much money you want to save, while factoring in your family’s unique situations. For example, your family might spend more or less on a car or transportation depending on how much you travel in a week.

Now, we’ll show you how to create a budget you can actually stick with. Remember, creating a household budget will differ from family to family. Here are five tips for creating a customized household budget for your family.

Break down your weekly expenses

How to budget better? Writing it all down is a great place to start. You might think you already know what you spend your money on and how much you are spending, on average, each week. However, writing it all down just for seven days might shed some light on how much you are actually parting with without even realizing it. Write down every single expenditure for a week to get a more accurate idea of how much you are spending. Then you’ll get a good grasp on your average weekly expenses and where your money is going. Pen and paper work great to track weekly expenses, but there’s a world of personal finance apps that can help with this too.

Create lists: how to budget groceries versus flexible expenses

How to budget your paycheck? You need three basic lists to organize your budget: Fixed expenses, such as housing costs, average grocery costs, bills, loans, and other necessities; flexible expenses, such as entertainment expenses, deposits to a savings account, and luxury purchases; and income, which includes all sources of income. These lists will give you an idea of what your cash flow looks like from month to month — and will tell you whether your current income level really is enough to support your lifestyle.

Set realistic savings goals

Be honest — completely honest — about how much you can save each month. What types of expenses can you do without? Setting goals within the parameters of your budget may not be easy but you need to have a fairly accurate idea of what’s possible and what you are comfortable working with. Are you saving for a vacation? Do you want to contribute more to a savings account over the next few months? Figure out what motivates you and categorize your savings contributions as a monthly expense in your budget.

Set a debt payoff goal

If you are in a position to pay down debt, be sure to work those payments into your ‘fixed expense’ column. Setting realistic debt payoff goals and then plotting them into your budget will make it easier to keep track of cash flow each month. Create a separate worksheet to track your debt payoff plan so that you can watch that total go down month after month.

Don’t be too restrictive

Just like restrictive diets, overly restrictive budgets are doomed to fail because you will feel the ‘pain’ of not spending what you want. You may even end up over-spending to compensate. Be realistic about how much money you need for discretionary expenses and little luxuries so you don’t feel like you’re cutting out everything you enjoy. You can even make a discretionary expense column for your budget and work in a realistic amount for those ‘extras’. This will give you a chance to enjoy your money while staying within budget.

Check out more personal finance tips

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