Planning your Household Budget

Writing out a household budget can be a complicated thing. While some people just look at their immediate rent or mortgage, food, transportation and entertainment budget, there are many more factors in a family budget. A family with two or three children must plan for the future of those children. If they are healthy, it is expected they will eventually be self-supporting, but the educational process can last until age 25 and beyond in some professions. Family savings can also be quite complicated. Social Security is worth only so much, and under new budgeting plans will not go into effect at full value until a person reaches the age of 70, for young people now entering the workforce. This means that it is necessary to set up an IRA plan or a 401k or other retirement investments.

Savings can be a tricky subject as well, because there are both short-term and long-term savings. There is the $100 a month you have to put away for Christmas/Holiday presents for friends and family, and more money for that if you plan any major purchases. Every family needs some amount of immediately accessible emergency fund in addition to insurance, in case there is sickness, unemployment or accidents in the home or to the family vehicles.

Healthcare expenses as well can be tricky. Many health plans on the surface look comprehensive, but watch out for extra expenses. Even a little thing like a $30 deductible can easily add up. If infants need to go to the doctor once a month, over a year, that will be a $360 expense just for the office visit deductible. Unfortunately today, there are many health plans that in the case of operations or prolonged hospital stays require 5 percent to 20 percent out-of-pocket expenses for these extremely expensive medical procedures. Surgery, even of the run-of-the-mill type can easily approach and exceed $50,000. To pay 10 percent of that would require $5,000.

People tend to look at personal budgeting as something difficult, which it is, but this can be surmounted with careful planning. Admit that you are going to need $100 or more for even occasional childcare, don’t lie to yourself that the aunt or grandmother will always watch a child for free. Look at your expenses in terms of different categories. For example there are fixed expenses such as housing, clothing, transportation and food, and there are more variable expenses such as entertainment and vacations. Identify what your income and expenditures are in a general sense and get them to match.