Home budget – how to plan it?
Nowadays not many people carefully control their finances, which sometimes leads to unpleasant surprises. It is known that not everyone has to do it, but still the percentage of such people is not exceptionally high. It is worth your interest, because a well-planned household budget is a better understanding of home finances, which in turn will allow you to better prepare for unexpected expenses. What exactly is it and how to plan it?
Household budget – what it is?
Many people think that a home budget is a list of past expenses to know the cost of living and how much money we spend each month. This is not quite the case, because a household budget is about the future, and therefore allows you to better manage your household finances. In simplest terms, it is a list of income and expenses for a given period of time such as. in a month, a year etc. Thanks to this we immediately know how much money we can spend, and how much must be left at the end of the selected period.
How to plan a household budget?
In principle, a simple sheet of paper is enough to create a household budget, although nowadays most people prefer to use computers, phones or tablets. Of course, there is nothing surprising in this, because this solution is simply more convenient and allows you to make changes more easily. Taking into account the mentioned devices, we have a lot of applications that will facilitate the management of a home budget. Of these computer-based, any spreadsheet will suffice for a good reason, e.g. Excel whether OpenOffice Calc. In both of them we can easily write down all the required columns and format them properly to make the sheet clearer.
What to consider when planning?
Regardless of the chosen period, when planning a household budget we must take into account:
- income – all monthly income. From salaries and bonuses to additional sources of income such as. those from the internet, investments, etc.
- expenses – all monthly expenses. The easiest thing to do with the fixed ones, because they do not change e.g. payment for housing, internet, installments, etc. In addition, there are expected expenses for food, fuel or pleasure. In addition to monthly expenses we should take into account annual ones like. insurance.
The most popular is of course to plan a monthly household budget, since the paycheck from a full-time job and bills usually come every month.
Example of a household budget in excel
A sample home budget prepared in Open Office Calc.
In the household budget, in addition to the name, we should consider 3 columns:
- budget – how much we plan to spend in a particular category,
- actual expenditure – how much we actually spent,
- difference between the planned budget and what we actually spent. Thanks to this we can see if the planned expenses corresponded to reality and determine what is our home budget in order to take possible further steps.
Of course, the above example of a household budget is only to illustrate how it should look like, because there are many more expenses. We can also detail this in more detail e.g. each bill separately (gas, housing, phone, internet etc).), divide grocery shopping into those at home and those in town, etc. Of course, using a spreadsheet we do not have to enter the sum and the difference manually, because the appropriate function, which automatically calculates everything, will suffice.
Dedicated apps for your phone to make planning easier
While a spreadsheet will suffice, we can also use dedicated applications for the phone. This allows us to have an overview of the household budget at any time, if of course we have our phone with us. All these management apps differ from each other in colors, charts, graphs and other additional features. It looks very clear and the phone is always at hand so it seems to be a better solution than a spreadsheet or a piece of paper.
Interesting applications for managing home budget on your phone:
- Money Lover,
- My Finances.
What a household budget can be?
Depending on the amount of money we have left over (or missing) at the end of the chosen period, a household budget can be
The most comfortable situation is obviously in the case of the first one and everyone should strive for such a budget, although unfortunately it does not always happen. Very often we have to settle for a balanced budget, which is not good, but not very bad either. Being in such a situation it is worth considering how we can move to a surplus budget. In the worst situation are people whose home budget is characterized by a deficit, and then we should do everything to change it as soon as possible.
What exactly are the specific types and what can we do if we are in this situation?
In case of a surplus budget, income is greater than expenditure, so we can save and invest the excess cash. Of course, when investing money we must take into account the possibility of losing some or all of the capital. Everything depends on the choice of a particular type of investment, and these differ from each other in the degree of risk and rate of return. People without an inclination for risk should focus on safe investments, which, although they are not very profitable, but will eliminate the risk of capital loss.
In the case of a balanced budget income is in line with expenses, so we don't have much spare cash for extra pleasures. Being in such a situation it is worth trying to turn our budget into a surplus, but it is not that difficult. The first thing we should pay attention to is saving money on everyday activities. Often we do not even realize how much cash escapes through unconsidered decisions. In addition to saving, it is worth including additional work, which will provide more income.
In the case of a deficit budget expenses exceed income, so to cover it we have to reach for savings (if we have any) or loans. Being in such a situation we must do everything to get out of it as soon as possible, because it will get worse with time. We must first of all learn to save money and look for additional sources of income. Unfortunately, there are situations when money is needed right away and we do not have much time. Then a free loan can be helpful, but only if we are sure that the problems are only temporary and we pay it back on time. Otherwise it's easy to fall into a debt spiral that's hard to get out of.
Planning your household budget is a great step towards improving your financial situation. Once we have a budget, we can easily see if we have a surplus, deficit or balance. Then it remains only to take appropriate steps to improve your financial situation. It's worth planning especially if you only have enough money „from payment to payment” or even worse – not enough.
Have you ever planned your household budget?? What do you think about it? Share your opinion in the comments.
4 comments on “Home budget – how to plan it?”
At my house there is no such thing as a budget, planning expenses, etc. It is known that every month you have to pay the bills water, electricity, rent, etc. But there is no such thing as a. we have this much for this day and this much for the next day. When we want something we go to the store and buy it, Once we tried to spend 20 PLN each day, but it is not possible for my family.
In my opinion a household budget is very useful and has helped me control my finances. It is known that you can not always come out with a surplus but it makes saving money easier. It's clear where all the money went, which before disappeared to unknown places and for unknown reasons. It is also easy to find out whether you can still go crazy in a given month or rather slow down a bit so that the tendency to waste money does not become a habit. I like to use a notebook for this purpose and not mobile solutions, somehow it is more convenient, even if you have to use a calculator to calculate some sums.
Unfortunately, I'm not able to plan a household budget due to the fact that every now and then unplanned expenses pop up due to having a small child. But I try to work on it as much as possible and slowly create something :). I hope that as soon as possible I will achieve the desired effect and I will be able to enjoy the developed strategy.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that unexpected expenses appear every now and then, it is difficult to plan a household budget down to a single zloty, but it happens that it is even a few thousand difference during a month. Nevertheless it's good to have it under control, to record income and expenses somewhere, because it allows to control the situation.