It’s not easy to manage your family’s household budget. It’s one of those things I wish they had taught me in school. When you first get a job and start earning money, you really have to learn how to budget your finances. Working out your income versus your outgoings can be tricky. And the bad news is that it only gets more complicated as you earn more and spend more. I want to share with you some tips I’ve learnt, through personal experience, of how to manage your family household budget efficiently.
This is a sponsored post written by me.
When it’s just rent and spending money, maybe a car, it is easy to balance your budget compared to juggling expenses when you have kids, a mortgage, car finance, credit cards or loans. It’s taken me a long time to figure it all out and balance the budget well, but I’ve learned a lot along the way in doing so.
Before I share my tips on how to manage your family household budget, I want to preface it with a simple motto to always bear in mind: If you can’t afford it, or you can’t fit the payments into your existing budget based on your income, don’t buy it!
How To Manage Your Family Household Budget
Here are my tips to manage your family’s household budget. They might sound obvious, but that’s the point. Invest the time in intentionally and actively staying in control of your finances, and you’ll soon reap the reward of knowing where your money is going every month.
1.) Create a monthly spending template so you know where your money should go.
Creating a simple spreadsheet template listing your income vs your expenses might sound obvious, but the simple act of seeing what you’ve got left after all the bills and expenses can help you prioritise your spending.
Important things to consider when drawing up your template are:
- Weekly expenses such as groceries and fuel for the cars
- Monthly expenses such as utility bills, council tax, insurance and transport costs.
- Provisions for annual or quarterly bills, so you don’t struggle to pay something like a water bill every third month.
- A contingency amount for those unexpected expenses
- How much you want to save
- Spending money
2.) Review your bills and see if any can be reduced or eliminated.
In the age of austerity, it is more important than ever to take a look at your budget. If you’re spending too much money in one area, think about where you can trim in order to save.
Once you’ve listed all your expenses, you can review what is a priority and what isn’t. Remember to always leave a small contingency for those unexpected expenses like new school shoes for the kids.
One of my personal favourite ways to save on expenses is to proactively check what your service provider is offering versus the rest of the market. Being able to switch things like your gas and electric, or even taking advantage of low-interest rates on switching credit cards, can help cut those monthly outgoings.
3.) Get rid of items in your home that are not being used or are broken.
Before minimalism became cool, selling old unused household items and clothes was done to free up space. In a world of fast fashion and cheap flatpack furniture, we have become a more wasteful society, more often than not, simply throwing away unused things that take up space rather than donating or selling them. Getting rid of those nearly-new trainers that don’t fit anymore or that coat that’s no longer your teen’s style shouldn’t be a wasteful process. There are many online second-hand stores where you can sell your unwanted clothes, books, electricals, toys and tech for decent money.
I understand that charities appreciate donated items, and there is absolutely a place for that. However, if you have something that’s got some value, why not consider selling it online to get some return on the investment you made initially? There are loads of different places to sell your second-hand or preloved stuff, from Facebook Marketplace to Gumtree, Vinted and even Amazon.
And remember, those places aren’t just great for selling unused items, and they are also a great places to buy second-hand goods that you need without having to purchase new ones. Remember: Reduce, reuse, recycle!
4.) Review your credit and savings responsibilities
As I said earlier, one way to cut your monthly outgoings when you are being proactive about how to manage your family household budget is to make sure you’re on top of your credit card expenses, loan repayments, car and mortgage payments, and other financed responsibilities. You should constantly review if you’re paying more than you need to and whether you can save money by switching providers.
If you find yourself short and need a short-term loan, you could consider a payday loan alternative such as Polar Credit. which is a bit like a credit card but without the actual card (which makes it more sustainable). You can apply online for a credit limit, and if your application is approved, you can draw whatever sum of money you need (from £25) up to the limit offered to you.
The money goes straight into your bank account, and the best part is that you only pay interest on the amount of money you’ve borrowed, not on the total credit limit agreed. They also offer repayments that can be tailored to your financial circumstances, whether that’s repayment on the full balance or a minimum repayment amount each month. For more information, check out the Polar Credit website.
Credit cards and loans should always be treated with the utmost respect because it’s easy to get yourself into financial trouble by borrowing more than you can afford to pay back. You should always aim to pay back more than your minimum repayment balance because otherwise, you probably aren’t paying the debt back; you’re only paying back the interest.
5.) Limit how much cash you carry so you don’t spend it without realizing it.
Cash is king, or so they say. Personally, I don’t often carry cash. The problem with cash is that it’s not always easy to track where it went. My husband is the worst for this; he’ll be rushing out the door and ask me, “Do you have any cash on you?” and inevitably, I’ll hand over £10. Then at the end of the week, I’ll be short that money and not be able to remember where it’s gone. It might sound like a small thing, but if you’re trying to get in the habit of tracking where you spend money (which I always recommend), not accounting for cash can throw your schedule out.
6.) Get the best deals on groceries and household items
Groceries, cleaning products and laundry detergents are the bain of my life! The effort of getting the most for my budget consumes me, so I consider myself a bit of an expert in this section of how to manage your family household budget. While my husband and I manage the big expenses, the weekly grocery shop is down to me, and I see it as a personal challenge every week.
It’s important to remember that competition between supermarkets for your money is rife! If you’re prepared to shop around to get the best deal on your weekly shop, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save.
Besides the sales and specials you’ll see, there are so many ways to save money on your weekly shop, from going between different stores to swapping out the more expensive high-end branded goods for the cheaper alternatives and store own branded versions. Let’s be honest; a can of chopped tomatoes is the same whether you pay £1 or 30p. But every penny counts.
Many supermarkets also have brilliant reward schemes that offer vouchers or deals for customers for the simple cost of signing up for free. It’s well worth it when you suddenly get to the till and realise you’ve saved yourself a few quid simply by using your loyalty card regularly.
I hope these tips on how to manage your family household budget are helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, advice or tips of your own to share.