During tough financial times, people learn that it’s necessary to go back to the basics. All it takes to get through times like these is common sense and a good work ethic. If you’re ready to put in the work to get to the other side of these times, here are some budget and savings tips for you and your family.
1. Agree On a Budget
This is probably the toughest step for most families, but it’s also the most important. If one partner has one budget in mind and another partner has another, you’ll only be divided and totally ineffective. The partner who is the most concerned about money or who wants to be the tightest should write a budget. The more freewheeling partner should then look it over and make a few changes. Your budget should be livable, but you should also try to live at least a little beneath your budget if possible.
2. Save for Emergencies
Many budget and savings tips leave out this important piece of the equation. You need to not only save up for purchases rather than turning to credit but also to save for emergencies. Every household should ultimately have an emergency fund of between three and six months of expenses. If you’re one of the ones lucky enough to still have a good job right now, this should be a huge priority. With the way things are today, you never know when that job is going to go away. An emergency fund can keep you from having to live on credit for a number of months while you get your job back.
3. Keep and Revise the Budget
Writing a budget is one thing, but actually using and learning from one is something altogether different. In order to make your budget really do its work, you need to be meticulously recording all your spending all the time. You can simplify things by operating mostly out of cash. Then you can just look over your bank account ledger every week and record all your debit card spending. At the end of each month, you should review your budget. See where you overspent or where there was a little money left over. This will help you balance your budget, cut the fat, and figure out where you can save even more. These budget and savings tips are absolutely basic, but they’ll get you on the right track in these tough times.