Budgeting Tools To Keep Your Family Finances On Track

Dec 02, 09 Budgeting Tools To Keep Your Family Finances On Track
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Budgeting your monthly expenses is a difficult task.  However, since the recession began we have been getting a crash course in budgeting and saving.  While many of us have been a much better job of managing our finances, this is the time of year when we typically go off the reservation and fall victim to all of the wonderful “sales.”  Now is the time to have a refresher on the beneficial budgeting techniques that have helped you dig yourself out of debt.

There are many programs that you can use.  Money management programs provide you with the materials you need to your cash inflows and outflows, categorize your expenditures, and some even analyze your spending habits and behaviors.  You input your data into these programs, such as the various payments you have to make monthly and track how where and how your money is spent.

Coupons are another budgeting tool that is often overlooked.  There are a large number of stores that provide coupons that you can use to get discounts on their products.  You can also find great coupons online.  Coupons can help you save a great deal of money and you will end up spending a fraction of the money you might have otherwise.

Lists are one of the best, most inexpensive tools that you can use.  Lists are one of the most effective ways to keep track of all of your purchases.  Whether you use a piece of paper, a cellular phone, or a personal digital assistant (PDA), a list will help you manage you purchases and you finances.

For instance, when planning a trip to the grocery store a list can be very handy.  Prior to making the trip, plan the week’s entire menu and identify what food items and materials you need to purchase that are unavailable in your pantry.  Then, make a list of other household items that you have run out of (or are eventually going to run out of before you can make the next trip to the grocery).  Armed with these lists, you can go to the grocery and know exactly where to go and what you are going to buy.  This is an excellent way to avoid impulse buys and overspending.

A filing system is another good budgeting tool.  With simple, labeled file folders, you can keep your bills, receipts, and bank documents in a safe place.  This is another method that will help you keep track of your bills and receipts.  Filing helps you manage your expenditures and conduct sound financial planning.

This is very difficult time of year.  However, if you budget accordingly, you do not have to enter the New Year further in debt.  You and your family can still have a great holiday season while remembering the sobering lessons of 2009.

Perhaps a lesser-known budgeting tool could be your bank account. There are bank account alternatives out there that come with a budgeting service: the money for your bills is kept separate so you only have access to your ‘spare’ income – meaning you can’t accidentally spend money you need for something important.

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