1. Monitor spending before you set your budget
It’s easy to say you’re going to set a budget, but it’s another thing to create a spending plan that actually works for your family.

Begin by separating expenses into categories and then track how much you spend in each area, (either historically or for a couple months going forward). Then, if you’re looking to cut back, you’ll know where to start and what’s realistic.

This should be an ongoing process. Even after you’ve taken the time to set goals, you should go back and determine whether more can be cut or if the amounts you allocated really work for your family. It's useless to create a number too low for the realities of your household.