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Setting Up A Family Monthly Budget
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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Making a family monthly budget is essential. If you have children, it is even more important. Families of one, two or five or more need to know how much money is flowing into and out of their households. The family budget allows you to track each item, and determine if money problems are about to develop. It is important to create a monthly budget for your family, because expenses can vary from month to month.

First, determine all sources of income for your family. These sources can include one or more paychecks, interest income, investments, inheritance, annuities, and anything else that pays you directly. If you and your spouse have separate bank accounts, determine which account will be used to pay the bills. Deposit your income money into that account. Add up all the income sources to begin the monthly budget for your family.

Add up all your family budget expenses next. Some expenses do not change from month to month, such as a mortgage or car payment. Other expenses will vary monthly, such as heating bills. That's why it is important to set up a family budget for each month. Only then can you see months that might mean money trouble for your family.

If you have children, the expenses never seem to end. Do your best to track these expenses for family budget purposes. These expenses include clothes, lunch money, doctor visits, baby formula and diapers, and everything else children need. Start making lists of each child-related expense you pay.

Include some emergency money in your family's monthly budget. If your income is greater than your expenses, save the extra money for emergencies. Illnesses, new cars, rate increases in rent or insurance, and other unexpected expenses can cause financial hardship if you are not prepared. If you can stand it, don't forget to contribute to your retirement fund too.

A family's budget can be either a monthly chore, or an effective money management tool. You must choose how to view it. It is better to know in advance which months will be financially difficult so you can plan for them. Setting up a family monthly budget can save you lots of anxiety.

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