Gel pens? A secret code? Paper cut-out letters? These are some unique ways in which you can write a budget. Actually creating a budget, however, is a whole different ballgame. There are a lot of different factors involved, perhaps the most important being that you want to write a budget you can actually stick to for a long period of time. The most important thing to understand before starting a budget is that you absolutely have to have one to make the best decisions with your money and ultimately reach your financial goals. Since it has to be done, find a way that makes it do-able for you and your family.
Try making budgeting a game. This can be either personal or with your family members. If budgeting somehow has an element of fun, it will be much easier to stick to in the long run. While making it fun, you can also find ways to make it a bit competitive; this can also push your family and yourself to make better choices with money all around. Here are a couple different things you can try right away to get your budgeting game started.
See who can be the most creative with not throwing things away. Ultimately, reusing things you would usually get rid of will save you money because you will (hopefully) cut down on buying new things. They key is to repurpose items; give them a new job to do. For example, old glass jars can be repurposed as cups and containers. Old clothes and t-shirts can be used for new blankets, to cover pillows, and as washcloths and dishrags. While this does create some extra work for you and your family, it could be really worth it if you save money for something fun in the long run, like a family vacation or something new for your home. Aside from saving you money, repurposing keeps everyone thinking creatively, which is always good for adults and children alike. It is also great for the environment because you are cutting down the amount of waste your household produces in a year. Basically, everyone wins.
Cut coupons competitively! Couponing can get out of hand, but, at the same time, it does save you a lot of money (if you have the will power to sit through hours of clipping and searching for the things you need.) Before big family shopping trips, (or personal shopping trips) have everyone make a list of what they want or need and then sit down with the coupon section of the newspaper. Have everyone cut out coupons for the things that are on their lists, and when you get to the store, see who has saved the most. They should probably get a prize of some sort (perhaps the opportunity to buy one item that is not attached to a coupon? Just an idea.) Overall, having some fun family rivalry just might take enough of the drudgery out of couponing and budgeting in general to make it worthwhile.