A healthy budget makes life much easier in many ways. It’s nice to not have to struggle to pay monthly bills, or to wonder how you’re going to get groceries this week. And it pays to know what the biggest problems tend to be.

Credit cards can be quite the blessing when times are tight, but they can quickly destroy your budget as well. Whenever you have to build up credit card debt, work hard at getting it paid off. The interest rate means that things can add up quickly.

Change your spending habits if you are carrying a balance on your credit cards regularly. If you rely on your credit cards to get by, you need to either reassess what you are spending or start to earn more. Possibly even both.

A lack of a budget is another danger. It’s easy to overspend if you don’t care where your money is going. Start caring. Start thinking about the little things and the big things, and seeing what you can do to improve your spending habits.

Perhaps even more important is the ability to know when you cannot afford something. That means cutting back on some of the fun stuff. But it also means not having to worry about how you will afford the things you really need.

Credit cards are good for one thing, although a debit card may be able to perform the same function. They provide a great record of your spending habits. Go over your records every month and see where your money went versus where you meant for it to go.

Another major mistake people do is to make no allowance for emergencies. What will you do if the car needs a major repair or even just a new tire? Try to allow for saving at least a little bit of money every month. Your emergency fund can keep these little problems from turning into major financial crises.

Do your best to allow for some fun things in your budget. But if there just isn’t room, think up cheaper alternatives. If you want to see that newly released movie in the theaters, go to the matinee rather than in the evenings. Wait for it to come out on video.

But there are plenty of fun things you can do without getting into your budget. Watch for free admission days at museums. Go hiking. Go to the beach. Many fun things won’t hurt your budget at all.

A mistake that can be a bit contrary is to go too cheap. If you buy excessively cheaply made items, in the long run they can cost you more than buying one more expensive but better made item. The right balance will save you both money and frustration.

One of the best things you can do is to know when to buy and when to save. A healthy combination will keep you and your family in better financial condition.

[tags]budget,spending money,personal finances[/tags]