|:: Your Budget
The development of a household budget is a desirable activity both before you make a major purchase as well as consistently during your ownership. Maintaining a budget can help to prevent potential financial disasters as well as point you in a money saving direction so you have more funds available for those things that you need or want.
You will need a little time to develop your budget--it's not a five minute exercise--but should not take longer than a few hours if you gather the necessary information first. Get everyone who will be involved in spending involved in developing the budget.
Some of the items and information you will need to develop your budget are:
- All current monthly loan payments.
- All other monthly expenses (such as child care, dues, tithes, etc.)
- Records of variable expenses (for example, utilities, food and car repair) from the last 12 months.
- Records of annual or semiannual expenses (such as insurance and taxes).
- Records of other non-fixed expenses (for example, medical expenditures) for the last year. This will give you an estimate of average expenses of this type.
- Records or an estimate of personal expenses (entertainment, vacation and travel, etc.)
- Having a current copy of your credit report can be very helpful.
- Not only will it reveal any inaccuracies in your credit history, it will also give you a clear picture of not only your total debt but your monthly obligations. You can get a copy of your Credit Report here.
- Be realistic in your budget assessment. Make provisions for possible increases in some items (for example, school tuition, insurance and taxes). Then, look for ways to get (and maintain) control over your budget.