Life & relationships

Four budgeting tips for families

3 min read

Life & relationships

Four budgeting tips for families

3 min read

Family costs often add up quickly. To help you manage some of the stress you might be feeling, we’ve gathered four tips on how families can budget without the need to cut back on all of life’s pleasures completely. 

1. Create a family budget

The idea of creating a budget can often seem overwhelming. But it’s an essential step to understand where your money is going. 

The first step in creating a family budget is to figure out where all your money is going. In other words, calculate your income and add up your expenses. Yes – it’ll mean rummaging through old bank statements, bills, and credit card statements. Talk about a diligent auditor! As a starting point, you’ll need to consider:

  • Income from full-time, part-time or casual work

  • Your pension, if you have one

  • Any government benefits you might receive

  • Child support payments, if applicable

  • Money from investments

  • Any other sources of income you may have.

Once you’ve added up all your income, go through your expenses. Be thorough. This list should include all household expenses, insurance costs, credit cards and transport costs.

Set a spending limit for your family “wants” - they can include tickets for concerts and movies, a nice meal out or family hobbies. Setting your family spending limit could help you start working towards a savings goal. You could use your savings to create a safety net for unexpected costs – such as medical bills or extra school costs – or to accomplish short and long-term family goals. 1

Need a bit of help? Suncorp Bank’s Budget Planner could help you to work through your income and expenses to get a better idea of your financial situation. It’s easy to use and can help you crunch the numbers.2

2. Set both short and long-term financial goals

Whether you’re planning a house move, having more children or buying a car, it’s worth keeping your short and long-term ambitions and goals in mind. If you’re able to start budgeting for them now, you’ll be one step closer to achieving them sooner.

A short-term goal could be a day out on the weekend for the whole family. And an example of a longer-term goal could be an overseas trip on the school holidays. 

Once you’ve set your financial goals, it’s time put your budget into action and start saving. Suncorp Bank has different transaction and savings accounts that could help you start working towards your short- and long-term financial goals. 

3. Plan ahead for the school year

If school holidays are coming to an end, don’t panic. Whether you’re in for trips to the uniform shop, stationary purchases or have school activities piling up, keeping your budget in sight could make this job less stressful. 

Approach your buying with care and set aside the cash you’ll need in advance. Before you go shopping for school uniforms, sort through your children’s uniforms and work out what needs replacing or updating. Similarly, keep an eye out for shoe sales – you might be surprised by how much you can save!

If you’re concerned about upcoming school camps and excursions, it’s worth checking with the school to see what the costs will be or ask how much it was last year to appropriately plan and budget for the year ahead.

4. Get the family together on budgeting

Sounds like a no-brainer, but it might not be as easy as you think. The key to budgeting – whether it’s to save for a holiday or pay for upcoming school fees – is to get the whole family involved. Got an upcoming vacation? Start a conversation not just about where you want to go, but what you’ll be doing when you get there. Think about the activities and what value they’ll bring to the whole family.

It’s best to focus on the obvious things as a family. It could be changing your grocery habits if possible, or planning a ‘staycation’ one year in order to save for a longer holiday the following year. If your weekly shopping bills keep going up and up, try drawing up an actual shopping list of what you’ll need and go with cheaper brands.

There are plenty of ways to save money as a family. From cutting down on your everyday expenses to getting the whole family involved in budgeting, you can save money in unexpected ways with clever budgeting tricks.


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Published 13 November 2023

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2. The results from Suncorp Bank’s Budget Planner calculator by Widget Works should be used as an indication only. The calculator does not replace personal financial advice and you should seek specific professional advice, prior to acting on any information. 

Deposit products issued by Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722 AFSL No 229882 (“Suncorp Bank”). Terms and fees apply. Read the relevant disclosure documents before deciding. Go to our website or contact us for a copy. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.