Saturday, 8 November 2014

Family Budget 2015

Not of the country! That's done and dusted, without much debate, right?

I am referring to personal-household budget. 

Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert, neither am I trained to analyse numbers. This only serves as a personal family anecdote so we may improve ourselves. 

Further disclaimers: Always pay yourselves first, 20% of your gross income being the ideal sum. Always settle your zakat too, the 1.5% belongs to Him. 

Now that we have that clarified, let's get to the gist of what I meant to share...

The Other Half prepares our annual budget/ income and expenditure forecast every end of October after the national budget is presented. We will then review it together, debate on some areas we can try to cut back on (usually the column on provision for my shopping, sigh!), provide for contingencies/new forthcoming expenses, then fair the agreed numbers. So far, he has not asked for me to sign for acceptance of the budget *phew!*

In all our 5 years of being married, our expenditure had escalated mostly due to growing head count. Our income has been somewhat stagnant. Results: we have to do something constructive to increase our income and find multiple sources of income.

With impending GST, even more stretching of the Ringgit is required. It is not an area married couples like to discuss (neither do we!) but vital that we set aside that one or two hours per annum to plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail, right?

Last year, we revised all our medical, life and endowment policies to factor in rising cost of private health care. This year, we added new provisions for school fees with all incidental cost and charges for both kids. 

Minor lifestyle changes will have to be introduced come 2015 too, which includes lesser artisan coffee, more cooking of family meals and buying clothes only during discount. We will try our best. Give credit where credit is due: Cutting out impulse purchase of toys and books have been our greatest achievement so far. 

A budget is a quick snapshot of our finances. With clear numbers, it is much easier to provide for everyone's needs and possibly some treats within our means. That also gives us a better idea of what to pray over (opportunities, extra income etc.) and count our blessings!

The daily expenditure spread sheet captures almost every single ringgit and sen, so we can track if we are on or off budget. How scary, right? 

In all honesty, it keeps us financially disciplined. We know before we purchase anything if we can afford it, or not. The next level is determination to want to keep to the budget, and not stray from it. 

Budget 2015. We have done ours, and we would highly recommend that you do yours too! Have fun!

p/s: templates are online for free, please download one that suits you. 


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