Setting up a personal budget for you and your family isn't as hard as you might think. What's hard is maintaining and keeping it working for you for any length of time. If you are setting up a personal finance budget, here's 3 tips to keep in mind.
1. KEEP IT PERSONAL
That might sound like a given, but with so many budget programs and plans out there, you'd be amazed just how easy it is to try and shoe-horn your personal finance situation into another person's perfect design. Don't do it.
By trying to make someone else's ideal, your own, it will only be that much easier to give up on it later when it turns out that it doesn't work for you. This means setting up categories that are specific to your situation and lifestyle. If you do a lot of camping, for example, and that's not one of the categories on your pre-formated budget sheet, don't try to squeeze it into "Recreation" or "Entertainment." Make a category for "Camping."
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
One of the quickest ways to give up on a personal finance budget is to have it be so complicated that the week after you set it up, you're not sure why you did what you did and can't figure out how to update it. Keep it simple.
Keeping the budget simple also means not having it be too much work to maintain. If it's too much work, then you are really not going to feel like doing what needs to be done, because, it's too much work.
3. AUTOMATE TASKS
Do what you can to make things happen automatically so that keeping and maintaining a budget doesn't wear you out. For example, if you want to track how much you are spending on entertainment during the month, just keep your receipts and stash them in an envelope somewhere. At the end of the month, just add them up and you know how much you spent. This is much easier and "automatic" than writing down everything on a daily basis.
As I mentioned at the start, this article was about how to keep the budget going once it gets started. You could sit down tonight and make up a budget, but will it work for you? Will you be able to maintain it over the long-term?
Follow the 3 budgeting strategies above and you will greatly increase your chances of designing a personal finance budget that will last as long as you need it to.