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    Categories: Financial PlanningPersonal Finance

Budgeting for families: getting it right

Ahhh the household budget… I may loathe it but I must also be in control of it!! Which suits my husband down to the ground as he wants no part but to tell me I’m doing an amazing job.

Recently, my husband’s pay cycle changed from fortnightly to monthly whilst mine remained fortnightly. This brought me to the realisation that I would likely need to draw up two budgets, one for my husband’s income and one for mine. As a family of five, with three sons who eat us out of house and home, I need to be diligent about every dollar.

The old jar system

This then brought me back to the principles that made my grandfather’s budgeting, although simple, so very powerful. Yes, gone are the days where we tucked away our pay in a collection of jars in the cupboard but the principles to Pa’s system remain the same and as effective.

Each pay cycle, Pa would sit down and list all expenses and how much he would need to put away into each jar.  Although in today’s budget there may be quite a few more “jars”, the theory is still exactly the same.

How I tweaked our family’s budget

As most bills are monthly, I completely restructured our budget to monthly, leaving my fortnightly income for mortgage and childcare (ouch!). I quickly learned that a successful part of family budgeting is to be able to reconcile your budget with your bank account, far easier when this process can be done to line up with the end of each month.

Each month, I ensure money is set aside for the expenses we don’t like to think about until they are upon us and we have no choice. For example, things like but not limited to:

  • Annual vehicle registration
  • Six monthly council rates
  • Body corporate fees
  • Beginning of the year schooling expenses
  • Christmas!

Again, it’s back to the jar system or rather in today’s terms – our allocated bank accounts.  I also find keeping a log and tally in an app or notepad on my smartphone of what funds I have allocated to which expense a necessity.

The importance of taking the time to thoroughly identify all my expenses proved imperative. Additionally, so is the importance of the cost of each expense, how frequently it occurs, and (where applicable) the next due date.

In a nutshell, once I got my head around the two budgets, identifying all my expenses and back to Pa’s jar theory, this all began to work!

 

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Kellie Murphy: Kellie is the Guest Services Officer at Quill Group and works in the Southport office. Kellie has 18 years experience in administration and is excellent at balancing career and family life.