Running a household without a budget is equal to driving without a map. You're moving but you're not sure where you're going. A budget is the tour guide to your finances. It lets you know how much money you have, what you need, and what and how much you spend your hard earned dollars on. This is why every household should have one.
When you don't have a budget, there's an acute lack of vision in your financial forecast that can affect your overall quality of life. If you know that your mortgage is $1200 a month and your electric bill is usually $175, yet you still spend about $600 a month on eating out, movies, and impulse spending, you're headed for a fall at some point. The $600 that you loosely spend on non-essentials will probably begin to cut into the money you need for utilities and/or your mortgage, especially if you're only bringing in $2400 monthly. Your mortgage and utilities just represent a portion of the pie, not the whole pie. There are other essentials that your family will need as well. Remember, you still need to eat.
The best way to put money back in your pocket and to keep it there is to develop a budget and stick to it. Start by outlining all of your monthly expenses. Create a set amount that you can spend on non-essential activities and items and stick to it. You should also have a certain amount that you set aside to save. If it becomes hard to keep track of your spending, save your receipts. Your receipts will let you know how well you're following your budget and where your money is going. You need to know how much you're spending in every area of your life in order to get a handle on your spending. Even the money you spent on your cbrne training needs to be documented
Making Adjustments as Needed
The first budget you put together may have areas of weakness that you notice after following it for a short period of time. That's ok. Make any changes that you see fit as needed. The grocery budget may be too generous or not enough, or your utilities may be a bit more than you budgeted for during the summer months. It's your budget, make it work for you.
Once you commit to a budget your money will not longer be a mystery to you. You will be able to easily see where your money is going and make changes that put money back in your pockets. Do yourself and your family a favor by developing a budget and sticking to it. You will benefit greatly in the long run.