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Budgeting - Financial Regulation

Budgets are not just about tracking expenses but also setting goals for the future such as buying a car, putting a down payment on a house, or paying school tuition. Tracking expenses and income sources helps you and everyone in your household see all money coming in and all money being spent. Planning a budget involves determining incomes sources, crrent household expenses, planning for future expenses, and deciding what spending is necessary. Budgeting is one way to stay out of debt and save money. Creating a household budget helps households to maintain a list of various expenses such as:

  • Fixed expenses (costs that do not change from month-to-month) such as mortgage, car, and insurance payments
  • Periodical expenses (those scheduled once per year) such as taxes
  • Variable expenses (costs that can be different month-to-month) such as groceries, utilities, entertainment, and credit card payments

A budget can be beneficial for your family in many ways including:

  • Helping to keep finances in order
  • Seeing where your income is going
  • Giving you an opportunity to address any spending issues
  • Helping to provide insight into your financial future in the short and long term
  • Preparing your household for emergency expenses (such as unexpected repairs)

Mking budgeting routine can mean greater financial security. Budgeting works best when everyone in the household is involved. This can include having everyone save their receipts or compare weekly transactions.

Tips to help you maintain your budget:

  • Evaluate your budget monthly
  • Develop a way to keep records of spending such as saving receipts or copies of online transactions
  • Spend wisely and comparison shop
  • Compare your predicted and actual expenses
  • Pay off debt and control expenses

The Federal Trade Commission has a fillable budget form that can be printed for everyone in the household to see. American Student Assistance created a budget worksheet with students in mind but it can be used by anyone wanting to keep track of their spending.