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Household Budgeting and Spending Tips Stabilizing your household budget shouldn't be a chore. Explore these household budgeting and spending tips to get your finances in order. Help stabilize your household finances Everyone has the best of intentions when it comes to personal finances: keep household spending in check, set money aside every month for savings and stick to a household budget. But sometimes the unexpected happens, like a costly home repair or an emergency that can deplete your savings and knock your hard work off course. Getting back on track can give you a better sense of control with your money, as well as some peace of mind. Stabilizing your finances can feel like a monumental task, but it doesn't have to be if you follow a plan, focusing first on your short-term household spending and saving and then revisiting your budget. First, get back to basics Use cash instead of credit cards to buy things. If you do use credit cards, pay off purchases immediately. You can set up online bill pay to make this fast and easy. Treat savings as a fixed expense every month; have a specific amount of money earmarked and set up an automatic transfer so it goes directly into your savings account each month. Your savings account should be accessible but not so accessible that you use it when you veer off your budget. Create shopping lists for groceries and personal care items so you don't make impulse purchases. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if it's necessary. Sleep on it. If you really need it, you can always go back to buy it. Track your household spending with our savings plan worksheet. Keep your eye on the prize by continually reminding yourself of your financial goals. Use mobile banking to track spending set up alerts and monitor your account balances. Next, revisit your household budget You've probably made a household budget in the past, but it may have been a while since you updated it. One good way to track your expenses is to write down every purchase you make and bill you pay for a month or two. To help, try our household budget spreadsheet Don't forget to take into account expenses that happen sporadically too, such as vacations and charitable contributions, and leave room for unexpected bills like car repairs. Take a careful look at the nonessential costs - everything from entertainment to hobbies - and consider how much you want to spend. You may decide to make some changes. You'll be surprised how quickly small savings add up. No matter what your income level is, sticking to a household budget and setting aside savings can be tricky, but time and practice will make it easier. You may hit some bumps along the way, so if you stray off course, don't get discouraged and abandon your household budget. Instead, steer yourself back on track and toward your goals. You'll reach them before you know it. Chip away at your debt If you veered off course due to an unexpected expense, you may have also amassed some debt in the process. Part of getting back on track may be getting your debt levels under control. You want to try to pay more than just the minimum due each month. But if you've accrued debt on more than one credit card, you may want to develop a strategy to stabilize the situation. Tackling your smallest balance first might make sense, but consider which card has the highest interest rate, and try to pay that one off first. This strategy may end up costing you less in the long term since it minimizes the money that you pay in interest. No matter what your income level is, sticking to a budget and setting aside savings can be tricky, but time and practice will make it easier. You may hit some bumps along the way, so don't get discouraged and abandon your household budget if you stray off course. Instead, steer yourself back on track and toward your goals. You'll reach them before you know it. Bank of America household budget, household budgets, household budgeting, household spending

Help stabilize your household finances

Regaining control of your household budget after the unexpected major expense is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few things to think about that can help.

Everyone has the best intentions when it comes to personal finances: keep spending in check, set money aside every month for savings, and stick to a budget. But sometimes the unexpected happens, like a costly home repair or an emergency, that can deplete your savings and knock your hard work off course.

Getting your household budget back on track can give you a better sense of control with your money along with greater peace of mind. Stabilizing your finances can feel like a monumental task, but it doesn't have to be—if you follow a plan. Focus first on your short-term spending and saving, then revisit your budget.

First, get back to basics

  • Use cash instead of credit cards to buy things.
  • If you do use credit cards, pay off purchases immediately. You can set up online bill pay to make this fast and easy.
  • Treat savings as a fixed expense every month: Have a specific amount of money automatically deposited directly into your savings account each month. Your savings account should be accessible—but not so accessible that you use it when you veer off your budget.
  • Create shopping lists for groceries and personal care items so you don't make impulse purchases.
  • Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if it's necessary. Sleep on it. If you really need it, you can always go back to buy it.
  • Track your spending with our savings plan worksheet.
  • Keep your eye on the prize by continually reminding yourself of your financial goals.
  • Use Mobile BankingFootnote1 to track spending, set up alertsFootnote2, and monitor your account balances.

Next, revisit your household budget

You've probably made a household budget in the past, but it may have been awhile since you updated it. One good way to track your expenses is to write down every purchase you make and bill you pay for a month or two. Don't forget to take into account expenses that happen sporadically, such as vacations and charitable contributions, and leave room for unexpected bills, like car repairs. Take a careful look at the nonessential costs—everything from entertainment to hobbies—and consider how much you want to spend. You may decide to make some changes in your budget—and you'll be surprised by how quickly small savings add up.

You may also want to consider setting up a My Portfolio account. This tool provides you with a financial dashboard, where you can get a clear view of your spending and saving across each of your accounts. You can even link My Portfolio to accounts that you may have outside the bank, such as credit card companies, other banks and investment institutionsFootnote3. That can give you a true sense of where all your money is going.

Chip away at your debt

If you veered off course due to an unexpected expense, you may have also amassed some debt in the process. Part of getting back on track may be getting your debt levels under control. You want to try to pay more than just the minimum due each month. But if you've accrued debt on more than one credit card, you may want to develop a strategy to stabilize the situation. Tackling your smallest balance first might make sense, but consider which card has the highest interest rate, and try to pay that one off first. This strategy may end up costing you less in the long term since it minimizes the money that you pay in interest.

No matter what your income level is, sticking to a budget and setting aside savings can be tricky, but time and practice will make it easier. You may hit some bumps along the way, so don't get discouraged and abandon your household budget if you stray off course. Instead, steer yourself back on track and toward your goals. You'll reach them before you know it.

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