In difficult economic times, many young couples and families may find themselves wondering where their money goes. Faced with income constraints and competing demands for their money, many people simply spend what they must on necessities and save whatever happens to be left over. Or they spend all of their wages trying to make ends meet and borrow or charge anything else that they need.
Whether you live close to your means or have substantial financial resources, a budget can serve as the foundation for a family savings program. It can provide an effective tool to help control both personal and household expenses, thus freeing up income that you can redirect toward your family’s future.
How does a budget accomplish these goals? Consider the following points:
- By putting your family’s actual expenses down on paper, a budget may reveal an inefficient or ineffective use of your family’s financial resources.
- Once you see where your money is going, a budget can encourage you and your family to conserve your financial resources or spend them more wisely.
- A budget can assist you in anticipating financial problems that might otherwise arise from your present spending habits, thus allowing you to take corrective action to prevent difficulties before they occur.
- Equally important, a budget may alert you to the need to develop alternative courses of action to achieve your family’s financial goals.
- A budget can also help motivate you and your family to stick to a savings plan once you’ve committed yourselves to it.
- Finally, a budget can help you evaluate and measure your progress toward meeting your family’s long-range financial objectives.
Regardless of your family’s dreams—whether of higher education for a child, an early retirement, or a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation—a budget can help boost your savings, thereby bringing your family’s wishes closer to reality.