How to maintain a family budget

In Nigeria, most families find it difficult trying to live within a budget due to either a meager monthly salary, or  when your pay is good, many immediate and extended family needs to meet makes it difficult to follow a budget plan.
However, it is important to know that living within a budget definitely takes a bit of effort, commitment and discipline on your part.

Tips to keeping a budget plan:

1) Shop around for sales
Buying items on sale is one way to keep your spending on target and still get what you need. If you keep an eye out for shops that having sales, you can get some super cheap deals on clothes, shoes, appliances or other items for your family. You should note however, that the items you buy are those you need.

2)   Look for the cheapest places to buy food
With a little bit of an effort, you can actually save money when buying food supplies. Some women find that going to the market is cheaper than buying food from a supermarket. If this is what will save you money, then find the best places to get items cheaply and affordably in your area.
In Abuja for instance, there are some markets outside the main city where food items are sold at a very cheap rate, you can patronize such markets to save money for your family.
But If you find supermarkets more convenient for you, then find out how you can save money there. Some supermarkets often mark down some products so they don’t have to throw them away when they expire. Keep an eye out for such times. Also ask staff at your favourite supermarkets, if and when nearly expired products are marked down. You shouldn’t buy more than you can use since throwing food away is a waste of your money

3)    Shopping online is one simple way to budget your money
Now in Nigeria, there a variety of websites you can buy from. Because you are shopping in your own home, there is no rush and you can compare products and prices until you find just what you are looking for at a price that fits your budget.  However, be sure to budget shipping costs too as not all websites offer free shipping.

5)    Don’t get pressured to buy what you don’t need
Women, often fall into the trap of buying items from  friends and colleagues at work that they don’t need. When your friend comes with a lovely top or nice pair of shoes, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this?’ If the answer is no, you can politely tell the friend or colleague, to come back another time.
It is also very pertinent to know that living within a budget requires you to be aware of various ways you can save money. Like is stated earlier, it requires a lot of discipline on your part. You don’t need to live in debt, you just have to spend the money you have wisely. To do this successfully
A mother of two who gave her name as Mummy Jenifer said she controls her spending by making a budget for the month. I live within my means so I don’t find it difficult spending on our needs and saving some for future expenses.

I always make a scale of preference and that has helped me a lot because I know where and when to cut down on expenses and I also disciplined myself to set an expense limit.
Mrs Sunday Ime Ufot, a mother of three and graduate of English Language from the Abuja University said making a budget is easy and difficult as well.
“Right from my childhood days my parents always gave me money to save for them so I am disciplined when it comes to spending. I made it a priority to save some money out of everything I make no matter how small it is and that I apply when it comes to making a budget for my family, in a nutshell I would say making family budget requires discipline.

For Mrs. Maureen Okpe, family budget is all about sticking to plan. “If you can  can keep to your budget plan without adjusting it in the middle of the period, whether you have a budget surplus or deficit, you can fix the errors at the beginning of the next period. The discipline you’ll develop will help you in the long run.”

NOTE: to successfully stick to a budget plan learn personal finance – that is the art of making your money work just as hard as you did for it. You need the knowledge of personal finance to cater for financial emergencies, to build a viable road map to your long-term financial goal, and to make the most of each Kobo you have left at the end of the month.

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