Department of Financial Institutions
Ring in the New Year with a Family Budget
FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Dec 28, 2010) – After holiday spending on gifts, gatherings and travels, now is a good time to rein in expenses and examine your savings plan. A good resolution for the coming New Year might be to re-examine – or create for the first time – a family budget.
The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) encourages consumers to review their personal budget several times a year.
“Having a budget in place will give you a sense of control over your money,” said DFI Commissioner Charles Vice. “By documenting your spending habits, you might discover ways to spend less or think of extra ways to save. And you can work into your plan ways to build assets for the future.”
Budgeting can be done in just four steps. First, you should track your daily spending for a week or longer. This can be done simply by carrying a slip of paper or notebook around for a week and recording every expenditure – down to the last snack machine purchase.
The next step is to determine your income and expenses. Income includes wages, public assistance, child support, alimony, interest, dividends, social security or other sources. Expenses include housing costs, taxes, insurance, utilities, services, food, loan payments, credit card bills, child care/elder care, and other costs. Expenses also include things you may not regularly spend money on like car repairs, vacations, new clothes, or entertainment – anything that shows up on your daily spending diary should show up somewhere in your expenses column as well.
In a successful budget, your income should exceed all your expenses. However, sometimes you may find that your budget doesn’t work out as well as you would like it to. This is where the final two steps come in – decrease spending and/or increase income.
To decrease spending, it is important to identify items that are “wants” versus those that are “needs.” You could eliminate anything that is not essential. Use tips for saving energy and water to save money on utility bills. Pay off debts with higher interest rates first. Save by using coupons or shopping for discounts – and don’t buy on impulse.
Increasing income can include changing jobs or securing a promotion. Some may choose to hold a second job or become an entrepreneur. Taking advantage of tax credits may also help.
For more tips visit Governor Steve Beshear’s web site for helping Kentuckians through tough economic times at www.assistance.ky.gov/. For information on how to save, invest and avoid fraud, visit www.kfi.ky.gov/public/invest.htm. You also can get help with credit management at www.kfi.ky.gov/public/credit.htm.
DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents and protect their financial interests by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities.