Between vacations and sunny day activities, there’s never a dull moment in the summer. And all those fun times often cause you to stray from your regular routine — and sometimes your budget. After all, extra fun often comes with extra expenses.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, back-to-school time is a great opportunity to get back on track with your monthly budget. Here’s how…
Review your expenses
In general, you should take the time to review and update your budget every month. And if you don’t even have a family budget, the busy back-to-school season is a great time to start. Review all of your expenses and determine what’s necessary to spend and what you can cut out. Basing your monthly budget on past spending habits will help you create some realistic goals, and see where you’re spending too much without realizing it. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need some help. Check out these resources:
- Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting
- Mint.com’s How to Create a Family Budget
- Kiplinger’s Household Budget Worksheets
Learn creative ways to save
These days, there are many ways to save money on your daily expenses. From reward programs to coupon apps, finding deals is always worth the extra effort. Coupon apps for various grocery stores can help you find deals in your area, but don’t buy things you don’t need just because they’re on sale. Search for discounts for the items you need. Check out this guide to the top ten best couponing apps.
Re-commit to your budget
This is the hardest part — especially in the months to come. But why create a budget if you’re not going to stick with it? Your kids will be doing their homework each night, so make sure you do yours, too! Each month, sit down and check your expenses against your budget to make sure you’re meeting your goals.
Creating and sticking to a budget is hard work, but you’ll appreciate your efforts when they turn into real, tangible rewards down the road. Seize the back-to-school budget refresher and enjoy an opportunity to keep your money where it belongs — in your bank account!