7 Ways to Reboot Your Family Budget

January is always a great time to get back on track after holiday spending, but it’s also when your paycheck can come with some surprises. Between insurance increases, new tax brackets, and additional deductions, that first paycheck may not have been what you were expecting.

Now that you know what you will actually bring home each week, it may be time for a budget reboot. We just finished completing our own 4th quarter profit statement, so we have a better picture of where our business income is going this year. We’ve been making some decisions in the last few days that will improve our budget.

Sometimes, you just need a quick boost to get back on track. Even one small change can jump-start an entire year of better budgeting. So, consider January your do-over month, and let’s get the family budget back under control!

  • Here are 7 ways kick your new budget into gear: 1 of 8
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  • No-Spend Month 2 of 8
    No-Spend-Month1

    Can you go an entire month without spending any money? That's the concept behind the no-spend month challenge. Take out what you need for groceries and gas, then say NO to all other expenses throughout the month. Don't go to a restaurant. Don't buy that clearance deal. Don't spend any money at all — just for one month.


    Photo Credit: Flickr user: Steve Boneham

  • Stop something. 3 of 8
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    Cancel your cable. Stop buying soda/wine/beer/insert vice here for the house. Don't renew that magazine subscription. If you can remove an entire category from your budget, you will have some wiggle room and a little extra money to pay toward debt, savings, or your next vacation.


    Photo Credit: Flickr user

  • Get an expert’s advice. 4 of 8
    Read-a-book1

    Pick up a book on personal finance to jump-start attitude changes and give your budget a boost. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is a popular one and has helped millions of people get out of debt. I try to read at least one non-fiction book per month and have found some great budget-saving books along the way.

     

    Buy It on Amazon, $18.30

  • Write it down. 5 of 8
    Budget-Worksheets1

    If you don't have a written budget, start one now. Just writing it all down to see where your money goes can have an instant impact on your monthly expenses. Budget worksheets can be especially helpful in organizing your financial obligations.


    Read more at Inexpensively

  • Spend your tax refund wisely. 6 of 8
    Spend-Tax-Refund-Wisely1

    As you gather the last of your 2013 paperwork and begin filing your taxes, carefully consider what you might do with a refund. It's tempting to treat this as free money, but it's your money, and you should spend it wisely. If your budget is struggling, use this quick influx of cash to boost your savings, pay off a bill, or bring your checking account further into the black.


    Read more at Inexpensively


    Photo Credit: TaxCredits.net

  • Switch to cash. 7 of 8
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    Only using cash can be a great way to catapult a new budget. You're limited to what is on hand, so it forces you to spend less on each category. We switched to cash for groceries this month and have already cut our expenses nearly in half.


    Photo Credit: TaxCredits.net

  • Stay home. 8 of 8
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    It's difficult to spend money when you're staying at home. Host a girls' night in instead of spending money at a restaurant. Plan a date night at home instead of going out with your spouse. Enjoy board games or a movie night at home instead of spending money on family fun. If you stay home just one time when you normally would have gone out, you can add that money back into your budget for a quick boost.


    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol

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