Home Budgeting Ideas

2019/02/25

One of the biggest challenges in today’s times is to run the home budget within constraints. It is like a tight rope walk with the ever increasing inflation and rising prices. So homemakers are always looking for home budget ideas to save money.

Prepare A Budget

When you think of budgeting, the first step that you need to begin with is to sit down and write out a budget. It gives you an idea of what is the breakdown of your expenses and your cash flows. You can segregate expenses as fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are those such as monthly installments, utility bill payments and school or college fees which need to be taken care of every month. Certain fixed expenses such as car, health and life insurance are to be paid on annually, but you need to budget for them nevertheless.

Variable expenses are those such as a vacation, a wedding gift, eating out or movie outings. A budget is effective only if it has tangible goals, so you need to identify and prioritize the correct goals. Suppose you need to save for the college admission fee at the end of the year, then your goal should be to save 10% of your income every month, if may mean cutting down on some expenses such as eating out or watching movies. You may use a diary, an Excel worksheet or any personal finance software to keep track of your budget.

Wants And Needs

One of the key for maintaining your budget is to differentiate between wants and needs. A need is something you cannot do without. You obviously cannot cut down on milk and fruits in your meals, they are essentially needed for nutrition. But you can definitely cut down on the stuff such as chocolate chip brownies and ice-creams for dessert because it does not have much of value add in terms of nutrition and just piles on calories for you. Similarly buying the school uniform for kids is a need, but buying those designer brand jeans is just a want. Of course it does not mean that you have to always cut corners but splurge on the extras only when you can afford to and not with borrowed credit.

Buy In Bulk

Often buying in bulk has its advantages, especially in case of non-perishable items.  You can get very good discount offers which will go a long way is saving substantially on the expenses in your home budget. So items such as soaps, detergents and home linen which are always required at home and do not have any expiry date can be bought in bulk when there is a good discount offer in the neighborhood store. But don’t buy perishable food items in bulk because if not consumed within the expiry date it will lead to unnecessary wastage and you may unknowingly compromise with the health of family members.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines are the major contributors to your monthly electricity bill. If these appliances have been bought in the 90s’ then they are likely to consume much more energy than actually required for these tasks. The appliances that are available in the market today are labeled as Energy Star to indicate energy efficiency standards. So the 5-star mark means the most energy efficient product in the particular category. It may have a slightly higher price than others but it in the long run the onetime cost will be justified by the savings in the monthly bills.

Use Public Transport

For a lot of people, traveling by car is a preferred way of getting to work. But with the rising fuel costs, this is one expense which throws your monthly budget out of gear. So you need to look at alternatives for cutting down on travel costs. If feasible, consider using public transport for getting to work.

If public transport is not available, then consider car pooling with colleagues and friends. You can also explore the option of getting the car fitted with a CNG kit which will not only save on your fuel expenses but also help you cut carbon emissions. For small distances it is better to walk rather than taking the car or bike.

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Prefer Eating At Home

Make it a habit to eat at home, its undoubtedly healthy and easy on the pocket too. Instead of going out with friends for a movie and dinner, you can instead organize a potluck party at home with everybody bringing in something and rent a DVD of the current favorite movie. You will have a very good time and that too in the comfort of your own home.

Reduce Credit Card Usage

Credit cards when used smartly help you get a free credit line for 30 to 45 days. But it also tempts you to exceed your shopping budget when you visit the mall. You may have a planned budget to but certain things, but suddenly you may see that dress which you think is just perfect though you don’t really need it at the moment. You may feel like buying it with your credit card since the money won’t go out of your pocket immediately. Similarly you may do impulsive purchases online with your credit card which may just add up to your bills. Therefore limit your credit card usage and keep track of your bills so that you don’t miss on payment dates.

Reuse

Home furnishing at festive times is a major annual expense. Each of us wants to give our home that special look in the festive season, but often changing the soft furnishing of the house can be a costly affair. Instead you can use your old saris creatively to design cushion covers and curtains. Similarly a few new paintings can give a new look to a wall instead of painting it.

You just have to think out of the box for a lot of such innovative ideas.  Similarly furniture can be rearranged to change the look of a room or you can polish it in a new color. We have looked at a few ideas for home budgeting, you will get a lot more ideas like this once you start maintaining a monthly budget and look at the pattern of spending.

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