As the famous ball drops in Times Square, many are resolving to make a goal for the coming year. For some, this might include getting a better control of their finances.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HOUSEHOLD BUDGET
If you are looking for financial security for yourself and/or your family, creating a household budget is a great place to start.
Below are three reasons why a household budget is essential.
Ensure You Are Not Spending Money You Don't Have
According to WalletHub, each household's average credit card debt was at $8,006 in Q3 2021. Paying down this debt and ensuring your spending does not outpace your income is critical to saving for the future.
Stay on Track with Long-Term Goals
A household budget will help you to work toward your long-term goals, whether those include purchasing a new home or car, traveling, or saving money for your child’s college education.
Identify Where the Money is Going
You can be detached from how much those purchases are costing you if you frequently or exclusively use your debit or credit card. It’s easy for smaller dollar purchases to add up quickly, so do a deep dive of your monthly spending as you create your budget.
WHERE TO BEGIN
To get started creating a household budget spreadsheet:
Calculate Your After-Tax Take-Home Pay.
If your employer automatically takes taxes out of your paychecks, it can be easy to determine what your take-home pay is. However, if you are self-employed and your income is irregular, there are a couple of methods you can use to determine your take-home pay:
- If you recorded your last 12 months' worth of income, take the average of your total monthly income for the previous 12 months.
- If you did not keep a record, use the income of the previous month you just made to determine this month's take-home pay.
List Your Expenses.
List all necessary bills, expenses and unexpected costs. If your expense column ends up being more than your take-home pay, you need to figure out where you can cut your spending back.
Track Your Spending Each Month.
Once you have set your budget up, keep track of your spending during the month.
USE ONLINE TOOLS
There are several programs available to help you create a household budget and organize and monitor your finances.
Revised November 2022