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Budgeting tips to sorting your finances

Family Budget - Seven Tips To Get Your Finances Sorted

By Lyn Bell

Creating a family budget is a priority in understanding your financial situation. With rising costs in gas and foodstuffs it is even more important than ever to keep a check of the family expenses so that they do not get out of control. These seven helpful tips will assist you with your budgeting and getting your finances sorted.

Tip One: Save credit card receipts.

Keep an envelope in the car for the credit cards you use. Each time you buy anything using your card, put the receipt in the envelope as soon as you enter the car. Change the envelope every month. This will save you time and hassle when looking for receipts.

Tip Two: Getting bills paid.

Set up an interest bearing account for your bills that are not paid on a monthly basis -- such as insurance, rates etc. Work out the monthly equivalent of these bills and make sure that this amount is removed from the family 'paycheck'. Therefore, when the bill is due there is no risk of losing an entire paycheck to cover the expense.

Tip Three: Keep a note book.

This is a way of keeping your financial information at your fingertips. Record all daily transactions and keep a running total. It does take a bit of time and self-discipline but you will always have your actual working balance handy. Keep a separate section for cash transactions and another for account entries. You will be surprised at what you spend your cash on.

Tip Four: Respect your partner's need for independence.

While overall financial security of the household must be considered as a priority it is important for each person have some freedom to spend. This way there is no need to ask one another if you can spend your money on something. Calculate a reasonable sum into your budget without sacrificing the family budget.

Tip Five: Ask yourself: Is it needed?

If you are unsure that you need it, you probably do not. Don't buy something because it is on sale. If you had no use for it before you saw it on sale, you probably won't have a use for it later. It will no longer be a bargain but an unnecessary expense and may blow the family budget.

Tip Six: Save money for special occasions on your budget.

Add up how much you spend at Christmas, on birthdays and anniversaries etc. Treat the total as if it was a debt and make payments to a savings account from your monthly income.

Tip Seven: Know what you spend.

Entering your purchases into money managing software will save you time and take the guesswork out of your finances. There are many software tools on the Internet, some are even available free.

Responsibility for maintaining the budget and tracking finances should be shared with all family members. Check on your family budget at least monthly, particularly in the early days of setting up your budget. By keeping a close eye on your financial matters you will be able to see any problems looming and take action.
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