Get your home team on board with saving! Starting a family budget is a great way to introduce everyone in your household to savvy shopping and saving. Try these four simple steps to kickstart your family planning budget planning: plan, check, act and track.
PLAN: Know what you want
The first step of planning your budget is knowing your why. Are you creating a budget to try and reach a savings goal like a holiday? To pay off high-interest debt? Or to make sure there’s enough of everything to go around for the family?
Get the whole family involved in setting money goals and sticking to a new budget might go down a little easier if there’s a common savings goal.
CHECK: Know what’s coming in and going out
The first step to starting any budget is getting a clear idea of what’s going on now – what is coming in from your job or other income, and what you need to survive.
It’s a good time to take stock of what you spend your money on. There’s some simple online tools and apps that can help you categorise your spending into sections like household bills, medical costs and school expenses. You can see at a glance where your unplanned luxuries – like those weekend takeaways – are eating away at your budget.
Shopa Tip: Have a complete picture of where your money is going:
- Start by going through your bank statements, debts, bills and regular expenses
- Check your account statements for monthly subscriptions or memberships you don’t use (like home entertainment subscriptions or apps)
- Categorise what you spend and plug any obvious money leaks. Check your phone and internet provider, home and car insurance, gas, water and electricity bills as part of your audit.
- Work out your Fixed expenses: (eg. rent, mortgage, rates, car etc), Debt expenses: (eg. personal loan, credit card and mortgage) and Unexpected expenses (car repairs, medical bills, extra school expenses)
Shopa Tip: Use comparison sites to see the best deals
When you know what’s coming in and out it’s time for some decisions. Let’s put your budget plan into action!
ACT: Cancel, cut back and set up direct debits
Start by cancelling any direct debits for services you don’t use – including checking on pre-approved payments and subscription renewals in tools like PayPal.
You can’t spend money you don’t see. Setting up automatic debits – on payday – for recurring bills and debts takes away the temptation to spend what you don’t have.
Shopa Tip: Add your direct debit dates to your calendar as a reminder to check your balance.
TRACK: Spending with a budget templateIf you don’t track your spending, you won’t know where your money is going or whether you’ve stuck to a budget. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re trying to change your money ways. Declare an amnesty and put everything on the table from debts to direct debits. .
Shopa Tip: Download an online budget planner to use to help you see where you’re spending your money.
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