debt and budget advice
A household budget is a plan for how you will spend and save your money. It enables you to monitor how much money is coming into your household and what you spend. It is one of the most effective tools for taking charge of your finances and achieving your goals.
If you dislike the word “budget”, think of it as a personal financial plan or family savings strategy. Whatever you decide call it, its success lies in making it a part of your household routine:
Tips for creating a monthly household budget to help with debt
Write down the amount that your household income earners bring home each month, including alimony and child support payments.
Save your receipts to record everything that you and your family members buy; for small items like transit tickets, coffee or snacks for which you do not have receipts, mark down the amount in a notepad or use your mobile device
At the end of each week, record these amounts in expense categories, such as “food”, “entertainment”, “travel”, etc.
At the end of the month, add your expenses and subtract them from your monthly income (check that you have done it correctly - do you have that much money left over?)
Once you know where your money goes, you can look for opportunities to reduce spending and increase savings. Make the experience fun by involving your whole family; discuss your challenges and successes every month and set individual goals and prize ideas for the winners.
There are many resources available to help you create an easy-to-manage household budget, including books from the library, software programs, credit counselling, and courses offered at schools and community centres.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a useful Budgeting Resources to help you develop a realistic budget.
Adopting a household budget will help with debt, enabling you to take control of your financial situation, reduce stress and save for the future.