When you have kids, your family starts growing in more ways than one. As your children gets older, they will: outgrow their clothes and their bedroom sets, eat more food, and start requiring things like piano lessons, video game systems, etc. When this happens you’ll find that your family budget starts ballooning as well. So how do you budget for your growing family?
Many people budget for their recurring bills (regular monthly payments) such as: electric, gas, mortgage, and car payments. However, while it’s true that these form a large part of your monthly expenses, there are other things that need to be factored into your budget as well. Most people underestimate their weekly food bill, which will obviously grow as your children get bigger. And what about those large expenses that don’t occur on a monthly basis, but are still a necessary part of your growing family’s life? These could include dental work, doctor’s bills, sporting equipment and school supplies, or summer camp. Even a trip to an amusement park or the theater can become a major expense.
If you have trouble keeping track of household expenses for your family, there are computer accounting programs, such as Quicken, which can help you track and organize household expenses for your family. Or, a simple notebook or ledger can work just as well for record-keeping purposes. Keeping track of all your expenses – even the diet soda you just got from the machine – takes some getting used to. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes a natural part of your family’s budgeting process. Writing down your expenses for a couple of months in a row, or even six months, will give you a clearer picture of your true financial situation.
When you sit down with your records and organize your expenses, you may be surprised to find out where your money is going. Most people underestimate expenses such as grocery bills, and aren’t able to plan ahead for large purchases because they don’t really have a good, solid grasp of what their true budget looks like. But with an organized budget, you’ll be better able to afford that set of braces or new bedroom set when you need it.