The four walls of budgeting: How to provide for your household

By Mark Helgesen

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 4 2014 6:12 p.m. MDT

If you have young children, then you know they grow out of their clothes weekly. Or if you have kids in school then they will probably need new clothes and new shoes before school starts. Plan for this in your budget.

Project how much money you think your family will need for new clothes for the entire year, divide that number by 12 and set aside that amount of money each month for clothing. That way you will have the money needed when the kids grow overnight or when school unexpectedly starts tomorrow.

Be frugal with your clothing purchases if your budget is tight — or just be frugal always. There are a lot of ways to save money when buying clothes and shoes. Don't be afraid to hit up the thrift stores, garage sales or get hand-me-downs from your relatives, friends and neighbors. Hey, my mom made my shorts when I was a kid. I survived.

Kids are always outgrowing their clothes. Somebody somewhere is throwing out some good stuff.

The family is fed, the lights are on, gasoline is in the car and the kids aren't naked. You've covered the four walls.

Taking care of these things first will help simplify the budget and ease the stress and worry of your household finances. The rest is basically a game. If you can't pay your credit card bill or the annoying bill collector that calls and harasses you daily, don't sweat it. You will get to it.

Take care of your own first. Secure your household and family before anything else and then take care of the other things.

Family first.

Mark Helgesen is a financial counselor at Utah Debt Solutions in Layton, Utah, and a runs a personal finance blog at debtfreemormon.org. Contact him at markhelgesen@gmail.com.

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