Category Archives: Home Finance
Home finances can be a daunting subject for most couples (even singles). The logistics of creating a budget while making sure that each bill is paid on time, and at the same, ensuring that you and your family don’t go hungry is enough to make your head spin. A lot of us who manage the finances of our family are trained handle this type of responsibilities. However, it doesn’t mean we are unable to create a budget that will ensure that we meet all of our obligations, at the same time, allowing extra money for fun. It all boils down to organization. If paying your mortgage is part of the picture, then using a mortgage interest calculator can be of great help.
Here are a few tips to help you organise your finances at home:
- Make a list
This list should include all your monthly bills and the days they are due. Also include a reasonable monthly budget for food and grocery items. You also have to set aside an amount to pay your utilities and other expenses. Add the total amount of your expenses and less this to your monthly income. This will give you an idea how much extra money you have that you can save or use to buy some of the things you or your family need. This budget planner is probably the best example I have used to date. It really is excellent.
- Set up a savings system
Saving is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family. At bare minimum you should have a savings account for emergencies and one for extras. Emergencies include things like a broken water pipe or anyone in the family getting sick. Extras are for buying a gift for your mother’s birthday. You can have these savings build up either in separate bank accounts or in a safe place in your home. It is wiser to keep your emergency account at a bank for safekeeping.
- Make a plan for paying off debts
Most people have several credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and other types of debt. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get rid of it! Start with the smallest debt and pay it off. Once you do that, you can then focus on the bigger and longer term debts like your car loan or mortgage payments. In case you come up with a substantial amount, try to pay off the bigger debts. If you have good credit, check out a balance transfer deal as these can save you a lot of money. They’re relatively easy to set up when you apply for a credit card online. Use the money saved to repay debt and keep this up until you are debt free!
A payday loan may seem like a good idea because you get cash quickly; however, it also comes with high interest rates. Paying a loan with high interest rates will only put you in a deeper hole than you started in. When emergency crops up, and you don’t have the savings to cover it, instead of going for these types of high interest rate loans, consider selling some things or swallowing your pride and call your mum for financial assistance.
- Know how you will pay each bill before you get it
Since you have made a list of the bills to pay, you already know when they are due and how much they will be for (with a few exceptions). It’s time to decide where the money is coming from. If you are paid monthly, this is easy. If not, then you will need to decide which week you will pay which bills. Make sure to get them paid a few days early, so you are never worried about late fees.
- Budget your leftover money
After you have figured out how much you need for bills, groceries, transportation, and savings, you can start looking at your “extra” money. If you like to take vacations, then you will need to set aside some to save for that. Other than that, you might want to budget a certain amount of weekly fun money for each family member.
A good way to keep track of all of your bills, receipts, and payments is to keep a file folder. Have a separate folder for each bill and bank account. To keep them organized, keep all the relevant information in the file. For example: electric bill for January – keep a copy of the bill, a copy of the check you paid, and the receipt of payment. If necessary, keep any other correspondence about the bill in that file as well. Shoeboxed is about as good as it gets for this.
- Balance your account daily
Save all the receipts you get in a given day in your wallet. At the end of your day take five minutes to get them out and write them down or check them against your online account statement. This has the added benefit of making you consider what you buy because balancing the books isn’t exactly fun.
- Cut corners where you can
Groceries don’t have to be your most expensive bill. Most local brands taste about the same as the branded ones. Also, you don’t have to cook a gourmet meal every night. Most kids and men like Mac ‘n cheese just fine. Also if money is tight, you don’t have to go to the salon to get your nails done. Make a one-time manicure kit purchase and do your own. Learn to paint your own house. Seriously, your budget will thank you.
Money does not have to be a constant source of aggravation and worry. Once you have a system set up, then you can just run through the system each month without a lot of thought.
Managing your finances need not be an overwhelming task. There are many resources, methods and tools like the mortgage insurance calculator that help in manage your home finances. You can do it!