# Financial Budget Worksheet - Discovering How Much You Actually Spend

Finding out how much you actually spend on each expense.

This is the hard part, where some thought and effort will have to go into the process to ensure the most accurate information is recorded.

This will give a realistic and real-time estimate that is reliable and accurate.

In this section, you need to ask yourself how much each item on your list actually costs how much each item costs you a month.

The following estimates and guidelines can prove helpful to you as you set up your family budget:

•   Monthly bills that stay the same – car and rental payments.

•   Monthly bills that change – utilities, phones and more. Find costs per month for say six months, add them up. Take this number you have calculated and divide it by six (the amount of months) to get your average cost. This is the number you will be using for your budgetary exercise.
•   Bills that come every three or six months – the number for every month will be used in your budgetary process.
•   Bills that come annually, meaning once a year – divide the amount by 12 months. The answer is your monthly budget number.
•   Bills that come more than once a month – food, gas, lunch and family fun. This is a category to watch very closely, as it is a contributor to this “bottomless pit”, we sometimes feel and see our cash disappear into.
•   Unexpected expenditures or surprise bills – what you can afford to set aside as a buffer or emergency, contingency fund - (look at the last three years or so and see what kind of unexpected expenses you and your family faced). Use an estimate that makes sense to you and divide the annual number by twelve months to get your monthly number.
•   Finding out if monthly expenses match monthly take-home pay.

Compare your total expenses with your take-home pay. A couple of results and scenarios could be staring you in the face:

Positive result:
Income more than expense – you can either spend or save!

Negative result:
Expense more than income – spending more than you have, you should cut costs and try to save some money to cover the bases!

Whichever of these outcomes you are faced with, knowing is better than not knowing.

For some this might bring little comfort and relief, but people in general, find this exercise useful to make an unknown more measurable.

It makes us both accountable and wanting to act, faster and that sense of urgency and momentum is just what the family budget process needs!

Continue to the next step of your free Family Budget Tips Guide : More About Financial Budget Worksheets.

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