Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home Budgeting Tips

There are some simple tips you can follow to balance your home budget, and even come out ahead. Tracking expenses carefully and using a budget worksheet can help. You may be surprised to see where your money is going. That is the first step to cutting out waste and accumulating an emergency fund.

Use a Budget Worksheet

Make sure you are including all of your expenditures by using a detailed budget worksheet. Look it over to be certain all of your expenses are listed. If not, modify the worksheet so it works for you. The budget worksheet will have categories like insurance, taxes, mortgage payments, medical, food, childcare, transportation, utilities and communication expenses like cable TV and Internet connections. Use the budget worksheet to see where most of the money goes.

Needs vs. Wants

Take the time to figure out if the items you buy are necessities or options. The key is to cover expenses for necessities first, see how much is left over and make a determination about where that money will go. That way you will avoid impulse buying. Medical bills, food and housing are expenses you must cover, but you may have to figure out if cable TV is really a necessity or if do without.

Cut Back on Waste

After tracking your expenses, see where you can cut back. Certainly, food is a necessity, but eating out several times a week and buying prepared food can add unnecessary expense. Even a cup of coffee or a soft drink every day can add dollars to your budget, which can add up at the end of the year. Look for ways to cut back on expenses, like doing things yourself instead of buying them, driving a more fuel-efficient car and buying energy-efficient appliances. Instead of buying concert tickets for entertainment, go to a free concert in the park.

Build up an Emergency Fund

One way to accumulate money for an emergency fund is to stop using credit cards and department store charge accounts. Use the money you save on interest payments and fees to build an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, like a broken water heater or medical emergency. One well-known budgeting tip to help store away money for an emergency is to pay yourself first when paying bills.

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