Setting a Family Budget in 2014 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Setting a Family Budget in 2014

One of my personal resolutions this year is to be a bit more financially savvy in 2014. I'm a pretty organised person (I'm a compulsive list maker!) and I am good in as much as I live within my means but I tend to spend whatever I have in my bank account and I think it's about time I got serious about my finances and started to save for a rainy day.

And I know I'm not alone in beginning to think like this. As 2013 disappears into the past, families all across the country are feeling the pressure financially. The Christmas holidays brought parties, gift buying, and unexpected expenses. From what I've read on Twitter, this year, it seems as if the majority of families are looking to take control of their budgets. The question is where to start! What is the best way to form a budget that you and your family can thrive on in 2014? 

Take a look at your expenses.

If you are already keeping track of income and expenditure, look at last year’s expenses and see if there are areas where you and your family can cut back. If your records aren’t up to date, start sorting receipts and tracking all your financial transactions now. Your expenses will fall into three different categories known as fixed expenses (such as mortgage/rent, insurance policies etc) variable expenditures (i.e. household maintenance, credit cards and other living expenses that can change from month to month) and discretionary expenses (restaurants, entertainment, and travel costs).

Once you've sorted your expenses, record them on a ledger (if you haven’t already done this). Your family’s spending patterns will begin to emerge and it's more than likely you’ll find an area that could stand an adjustment; something as small as cutting back on your daily cappuccino or lunch out can amount to hundreds of pounds each year.

I have some ledger pages at the back of my filofax (yes I'm old fashioned, I know) and twice a month I go through my bank statements online and check off the direct debits and standing orders that have already come out of my account and list the ones that are still to debit. That way I always know the balance I have to spend for the rest of the month. 

Set yourself some goals. 

The New Year is the perfect time to set new goals and this year why not make them financial ones! I read recently that you should always have at least three to six months’ salary saved for emergencies, such as the loss of a job or an accident. One of my plans for next week is to speak to my bank manager about my options for opening a savings account and get cracking!

This is also the perfect time to receive a free credit report. If you're looking to buy your first home this year then lenders will check your credit report to find out how good you are likely to be at making repayments on time. Paying off loans and credit cards can save huge amounts of money in interest rates. I've used Experian before; you can take advantage of a 30 day free trial (although don't forget to cancel before the 30 days are up!)

Family Budget Software

Although I'm living in the dark ages when it comes to diaries and ledgers (I like to put pen to paper!) there are several software programs out there specifically designed for family budgets. Keep track of expenses throughout the day with handheld devices and downloadable computer templates. Look for programs that are easy to use and readily accessible. Most programs can be tailored to your family’s unique needs and adjusted as your family grows and budget requirements change. 

It's not hard to take control of your expenses and I, for one, know that I feel a lot happier every month knowing exactly where I stand every month. Now is a great time to finally set aside short and long term saving goals and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Aside from meaning I'll have a little something for a rainy day, saving is a great example to set to your children (although to be honest, in my case, my girls are already doing a much better job of it than me! CHECK OUT THAT PIGGY BANK!) 

Do any of you save? Or are we all as bad as eachother?! xoxo



  1. I need to be a bit more organised and at the very least do one big shop per week instead of daily trips! x

  2. I'm planning to save a huge amount this year - just like I plan every year - one day ;) xx


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