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To efficiently manage your family budget you need to pinpoint your financial situation. Women generally have an idea of where they spend their money, but sometimes they may be slightly wrong.

How to do it? Start by sorting out your expenses: divide them into fixed (mortgage, car payments, water, electricity, gas, school) and variable (restaurants, food, clothing...).

From you can download your banking transactions in a spreadsheet and easily identify your expenses.

Note down your family's monthly net income and deduct all your fixed and variable expenses.

If your final balance is positive, you're on the right track. But you must allow a certain margin for monthly savings and to safeguard against contingencies. A negative balance means you're living beyond your means, which might endanger your finances. It's important to make some adjustments: check which expenses you can cut to balance your budget.

How to better manage your budget

  • By using public transportation you will save a lot of money on fuel, road tolls and car wear and tear;
  • Avoid impulse purchases, buy only what you need;
  • Save on electricity: change to a dual or tri-tariff plan (programme your appliances for the night period, when electricity is cheaper), use energy-saving light bulbs;
  • Save on the gas bill, reduce hot water consumption in the shower;
  • Save on your mobile phone bill. When you only have to say a few words, sometimes it's cheaper to send a text message. Choose pre-paid cards, you will have better control over what you're spending;
  • Look out for special offers on products that you buy regularly and have a long shelf life, sometimes they are greatly discounted;
  • When you go to the supermarket, take a shopping list. Take 5 minutes to write down your list and you'll see it's worth it;
  • Alternatively, shop on the Internet. It's true there are delivery costs, but this way you can compare the price of products, buy only what is necessary and not waste time going to the supermarket.

Tips to buy cheaper

  • Home
    Look for second-hand houses, they're generally cheaper than newly built houses. Be aware of real estate auctions and campaigns for selling real estate property of banks, as these are usually good investment opportunities;
  • Car
    A new car loses 3% to 5% of its value as soon as it leaves the dealer, so think about buying a second-hand car;
  • Sports equipment
    Why not buy second-hand golf clubs, racquets, skis or bicycles? There are some auction and sales websites where you can find these products;
  • Clothing
    More and more shops sell second-hand clothes. You need to search carefully. You can also take advantage of sales to buy clothes that are always in fashion, at a reduced price;
  • Children
    Strollers, baby chairs, beds... these are things that children don't get to have enough time to wreck. You can buy them at a good price, second-hand but in good condition.

02.002.4187 2011/10/13