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 with a family budget it 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, and not just your own. It sounds overwhelming, but we have budgeting calculators to help you get started.
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 towards monthly household bills and groceries, and then non-essential items (e.g., entertainment and subscription services).
From there, you can use Huntington’s Spend Setter℠ tool which enables you to set budgets for categories, such as what’s listed below:
- Rent or Mortgage
- Home or Renter’s Insurance
- Electricity and/or Gas
- Water and Sewage Utilities
- Car Payment
- Car Insurance
- Monthly Parking
- Public Transportation Passes
- Primary Care
- Eye Care
- Student Loans
- Credit Card Payments
- Personal Loans
- School Supplies or Fees
- Extracurricular Activities
- Uniforms or Clothes
- Personal Care
- Subscription Services
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 for work or school might be essential to your family’s success, while a desire for the hottest new clothing trend 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 who helps you manage it. 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 non-essential 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.
Spend Setter℠ - Budgeting Your Finances Just Got Easier
Forget budget planning spreadsheets. With Spend Setter, you can set budgets for categories where you'd like to tighten-up your spending. We'll let you know how you're doing along the way. Open a Huntington checking account and we'll help you start tracking your budgets today. Learn more.
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 3-6 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.