Small expenses can equal a big chunk of a families' budget. When
you spend a few dollars at the movie theater or have dinner out
once or twice a week, those seemingly minor expenses can quickly
accumulate into a lot of money. Often, we don't realize how much
until we actually write it down.
A great first step when you get ready to set a family budget is
to journal your daily expenses. This can feel like a time
consuming and tedious task but the benefits far outweigh any
All you need to do is purchase a small note pad that you can
keep either in your handbag or your pocket along with a pen.
Whenever you purchase anything, you jot it down on the note pad.
It doesn't matter if it's something as insignificant as a
package of chewing gum or a bottle of water. You must mark down
the item, the time of day you purchased it and the price. Do
this all day, including everything you spend money on.
When it's time to sit down and set a family budget, each family
member can present their note pads. This way all money being
spent can be accounted for. Doing this enables the person who is
responsible for the budget to get a clearer view of what money
is being spent on. Making an effort to journal expenses also
provides the family an opportunity to review their expenses and
determine what non-essentials are soaking up resources.
One area where many families spend a great deal of money
without realizing it is on convenience or fast foods. Stopping
at a corner store to purchase a sandwich each day can add up to
a substantial amount of money over a month. The same can be said
for items such as soda or juice from a vending machine. On
average, these items cost several times more when coming from a
vending machine, than they do if they are purchased at a grocery
store in the form of a dozen or two dozen carton. If you add
those savings up over the period of a month and multiply that
amount by four family members, that's a nice sum of money.
Taking a few days to keep track of daily expenses is invaluable
information when it comes time to set a family budget. It puts a
spotlight on unnecessary expenses. Armed with this arsenal of
information any family can find ways to save money. For
instance, if your child is purchasing a candy bar on their way
home from school each day, buy them in bulk and keep them handy
so they can grab one before they leave for the day. The same can
be said with bottled water. Buying a case cuts the cost per
bottle substantially and if you stock them in the refrigerator,
they made for a cool and cheap treat.
Investing a few minutes to write down what you've purchased can
save a good deal of money each year. It's a task that every
family member can take part in and also reap the financial
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