Family Savings: Creating a Family Budget

Read Time: 4 Min
Organize your family budget with these tips from Huntington. Learn about savings account options for your household and set goals for your monthly expenses and savings.

Planning a family budget can seem daunting, especially when your expenses feel like they’re never going to stop growing. From ever-expanding grocery lists to constantly buying new clothes and school supplies, all this constant spending tends to add up over time and can overwhelm even the most experienced budgeters and savers.

Also, depending on the size of your household, your finances can be drastically different from one year to the next. No two households are alike. That’s why we have tips and tools to help you create a budget that works best for you and your family’s short-term and long-term financial goals.

Tips for Creating a Family Budget

The steps for creating a personal budget and a family budget have similarities, but a family budget requires consolidating multiple budgets into one. This can present its own unique challenges, especially if you and your partner have a significant pay gap between one another, along with differences in how each of you manages your own personal finances.

Also, if your household includes children or other dependents, you will have to budget for additional expenses like school fees, college funds, childcare, long-term medical care, and other costs unique to your family. Creating a family budget and savings plan can be essential to keeping household finances running smoothly.

Remember, it’s important to consider the needs of every family member when planning a household budget, not just your own. It sounds overwhelming, but we have budgeting calculators to help you get started.

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List Monthly Family Expenses

Next, it’s time to list all your monthly family expenses. Without keeping track of your spending, it can be difficult to create a budget. To get started, look over your bank statements and start to identify reoccurring household bills, along with recent unplanned expenses.

If you’re a Huntington customer, you can use Spend Analysis to track how much you’re spending and see exactly where your money is going. This can help you set a budget by understanding how much money you need to allocate toward monthly household bills and groceries, and then nonessential items like entertainment and subscription services.

From there, you can use Huntington’s Spend Setter tool, which enables you to set budgets for categories like:

Household Expenses:

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Homeowners and Renters' Insurance
  • Electricity and Gas
  • Water and Sewage Utilities
  • Grocery

Transportation Expenses:

  • Car Payment
  • Car Insurance
  • Gas
  • Monthly Parking
  • Public Transportation Passes

Healthcare Expenses:

  • Dental
  • Primary Care
  • Eye Care
  • Pharmacy
  • Fitness

Personal Debt

  • Student Loans
  • Credit Card Payments
  • Personal Loans

Childcare Expenses:

  • School Supplies or Fees
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Uniforms or Clothes
  • Childcare

Additional Expenses:

  • Pets
  • Restaurants
  • Personal Care
  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Subscription Services
  • Shopping

Although most shopping would be considered a discretionary expense, it can also be essential. For example, replacing a refrigerator, stove, or a broken window are examples of essential shopping. Luxury and cosmetic changes, like building a deck or painting a room, are not necessarily essential to the household, but they are something to take into consideration while planning your budget.

Other personal expenses like clothing can also fall under either essential or discretionary shopping. New outfits might be essential for work or school, but following the hottest new clothing trends can be discretionary depending on your current budget. The line between necessary shopping and discretionary shopping can vary from household to household, so develop a strategy that works for you and your family’s budget. 

Create a Family Budget

After you’ve calculated your total household income and subtracted your household expenses, you should now have a better understanding of your family’s overall budget. Are you happy with your family’s spending, or would you ideally like to cut back and contribute more to savings each month?

If you’re not comfortable with your current family budget, have an honest conversation with your partner or spouse. But don’t go into the conversation looking to place blame. Talking about finances can be difficult for some, so try emphasizing that you’re both on the same team, and no one person can take accountability for it all.

First, start by addressing each of your financial goals, and long-term plans. By doing this, you can better understand what’s important to your spouse or partner, as well as communicating your needs, so you can create a budget that works for the both of you.

Next, identify the entire family’s nonessential spending, and see if there are opportunities to cut back, or even consider negotiating the price of current household bills to help reduce monthly expenses. Oftentimes, making minor tweaks can reveal some surprise savings and can help make your budget more efficient.

Track Your Spending

Now that you’ve created a family budget, it’s time to track it. To help track spending against your budget, you can review it daily, weekly, or monthly. This can be time-consuming if you’re doing it manually, because you need to constantly pay attention to your transactions, organize them into spending categories, and record them in your budgeting worksheet.

If you’re ready to upgrade the way you manage your finances, we’re here to help. At Huntington, we offer our digital tool called Spend Setter, which replaces household budget templates and spreadsheets by giving you an easy way to create a budget and track your spending. This can help you determine how much you’ve spent on groceries or dining and how that compares to your slated budget.

Creating a Family Savings Plan

Now that you’ve set up a budget and started tracking your expenses, it’s time to think about the future. By setting up a savings account, you can help ensure you will have enough funds for your monthly expenses as well as extra cash to put toward emergencies and future goals.

Whether you’re planning for a family vacation, looking to renovate the basement, or saving for your child’s college fund, a savings account can help you reach your goals.

At Huntington, we offer digital tools to help you with your savings, such as Savings Goal Getter , which lets you create up to 10 savings goals, plus an emergency fund. We also offer Money Scout® , which analyzes your spending habits, income, and upcoming expenses, to help identify money in your checking account that you’re not using and transferring it into your savings, automatically after enrollment.

Plan for Vacations and Emergencies

In addition to saving for future expenses and retirement, you should also have an emergency fund and other small savings goals. An emergency fund should cover at least three to six months of expenses. We have additional guidance on financial emergency preparedness to help you get started. Smaller savings goals include expenses like family vacations, summer camp, home improvement projects, or a down payment on a car. Vacation budgets can feel tougher to stick to, so we have five tips on how to save for a vacation.

Creating and maintaining a household budget is important to help keep your finances on track for both monthly expenses and future goals. When you bank with Huntington, you have access to The Hub, a set of digital banking tools that can help you stay on track. For more information on how to create a family budget or manage other savings goals, contact us at (800) 480-2265 or visit a local Huntington branch.

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Money Scout automatically schedules transfers from your selected checking account to your selected savings account. A money market account (MMA) cannot be a selected savings account for use with Money Scout. A scheduled transfer may be canceled before midnight ET on the day it is scheduled. Transfer amounts and frequency may vary and will reduce the money available in your checking account to cover other transactions. You are responsible for ensuring your checking account has sufficient funds. You may be charged overdraft fees if your account falls below -$50. Subject to eligibility, terms and conditions, and other account agreements.

The information provided in this document is intended solely for general informational purposes and is provided with the understanding that neither Huntington, its affiliates nor any other party is engaging in rendering financial, legal, technical or other professional advice or services, or endorsing any third-party product or service. Any use of this information should be done only in consultation with a qualified and licensed professional who can take into account all relevant factors and desired outcomes in the context of the facts surrounding your particular circumstances. The information in this document was developed with reasonable care and attention. However, it is possible that some of the information is incomplete, incorrect, or inapplicable to particular circumstances or conditions. NEITHER HUNTINGTON NOR ITS AFFILIATES SHALL HAVE LIABILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES, LOSSES, COSTS OR EXPENSES (DIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR OTHERWISE) RESULTING FROM USING, RELYING ON OR ACTING UPON INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT EVEN IF HUNTINGTON AND/OR ITS AFFILIATES HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF OR FORESEEN THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, LOSSES, COSTS OR EXPENSES.

Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks/service marks of their respective owners.

Money Scout® is a federally registered service mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

Spend Setter and Savings Goal Getter are service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.