Creating a family budget begins with making time to review income and expenses and setting goals that will guide the family's use of money, according to Mint. Examples of budgeting goals suggested by Mint and Bank of America include paying off debt and saving for college or expensive gifts.
Mint advises families to decide whether a paper or electronic format for record keeping works best for them. Mint provides electronic budgeting tools, both online and though an app, to assist in following a budget. With either paper or electronic records, families can create spending categories and set specific limits on spending in order to reach other financial goals. Bank of America recommends that families view these limits as guidelines rather than fixed rules, as some flexibility is needed as expenses vary from month to month.
America Saves is a nonprofit organization that aims to help low- to moderate-income families maintain a budget. It advises families to limit spending around birthdays and holidays and to regularly document all purchases in order to track where all money is spent. Reducing debt is another key way to save money in the long-term, as high interest rates cause families to spend additional money in fees and interest. Mint suggests reducing debt by paying as much as possible beyond the minimum debt payment required monthly.