How to achieve your 2023 resolution to plan a family budget?

In this 2023, one of my New Year's resolutions was to put my finances in order – and in my life in general, and I found that the great key to achieving any resolution is to establish goals and healthy boundaries.

I started in June 2022 taking a personal finance course on Coursera with the Professor Norman J. Wolf del Valle from the Faculty of Accounting and Administration of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who defines the budget as a plan that quantitatively expresses how to manage family income and the activities in which they will be spent, in order to guarantee monetary sustainability.

The family budget makes it possible to observe the behavior over time between the expenditure and income variables. Calculating the budget is useful to understand the magnitude of the expenses and make purchases rationally and not emotionally.

What is a budget calculator?

The next step I needed to organize my budget was to have the big picture of my income and how I can distribute it, so that all our basic and secondary needs are covered, and what made the BIG difference was finding a free financial calculator from

In the budget planner you just have to type your net income that you would like to translate into budget percentages, and it instantly shows you the estimates according to the general percentage values associated with a viable household budget.

In my particular case, my income doesn’t depend on a fixed salary, so a minimum amount and a probable maximum amount must be considered.

With this information, it will be easier to develop a budget that covers all the household essentials, while allocating an amount of money for discretionary expenses, such as charitable giving and recreation.

Most of a family's budget is allocated to necessities like food, housing, and utilities. Depending on your income, the percentage spent on your basic needs can vary: With a limited income, families may find their monthly budget is heavily affected by these needs, leaving little room for other discretionary expenses.

Medical expenses will be a difficult category to calculate, and will vary by family size and the health concerns of its members. On the other hand, transportation costs can also increase or decrease due to the work habits and general lifestyle of the family.

Step 1: Set healthy boundaries

As a general rule, expenses cannot be greater than income. By the time we start having trouble covering the basics of the family budget, like food, this is a clear problem.

Understanding a boundary as a purpose of what I don't want to do, this year I decided that I will no longer feel anxious about not being able to meet our basic needs.

I will then focus on satisfying needs and not on fulfilling desires, limiting entertainment expenses such as going out for a coffee or ordering delivery – which does not contribute much in terms of food health either too.

Step 2: Set goals

Understanding a goal as a purpose of what I want to do, in 2023, in addition to committing to perfectly cover basic services, food, work tools and transportation, I would love to save a fixed amount for contingencies.

The most recommended is that the percentage reserved for savings is 10% of income, but as we have already seen, in very small budgets – like ours, any percentage between 5-10% is good, guided by our new financial calculator.

Savings must meet a goal, and mine in 2023 is as basic as being financially self-sustaining. In addition, self-esteem and self-worth grow both by achieving proposed goals and by respecting your personal boundaries, and by feeling that you are enough and that you are doing well! It's a win-win!

Jessymar Daneau Tovar (@letroupe)

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