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What is Budget Control?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Budget control is a term that is used to describe the process of managing individual line items within a household or business budget so that expenditures over and above the allocated amounts do not take place. This type of control is necessary in order to make sure that operational expenses do not exceed the projected revenue for the period, creating a net loss. There are several elements that go into the task of budget control, including the preparation of a realistic budget, monitoring income levels, and engaging in comparison shopping before actually executing any purchases.

The first step in effective budget control is the creation of a budget that is based on factual information regarding the revenue needed to operate the household or business effectively. This means using information obtained from consumer markets regarding the prices of different goods and services that will be consumed each month. As part of the process, budget control involves making sure that fixed costs are accurately reflected within the budget, and any items that are considered flexible or floating are covered with a budget amount that reflects the standard and usual usage of the operation.

Once the workable budget is in place, the process of budget control focuses on making sure that expenditures for any particular line item remain within the budgetary amount that applies. At times, this may mean reducing consumption in order to prevent going over the budget on a particular line item. For example, if a household has a monthly budget of $500 US dollars (USD) for food and has consumed $300 USD by the second week of that monthly period, budget control will require that the household find ways to spend no more than $200 USD on food for the remainder of the month. This may mean adjusting the consumption of different foods, substituting higher priced purchases with other foods that are less costly.

It is important to note that budget control usually involves attempts to not only keep within the budget, but to also save money when and as possible. Here, the goal is to purchase the items covered in the budget for as little money as possible, creating a small amount of surplus each month. In order to accomplish this, managers will compare prices on similar goods and services, eventually choosing the one that offers the best price while still providing an acceptable level of quality and service. For instance, a household may choose to migrate to a prepaid cellular provider that works out to half the cost of a current provider, based on the fact that the household only consumes a certain number of minutes per month. Assuming the prepaid provider offers the same quality of service as the previous carrier, this budget control strategy reduces the cost for that budget line item for the month, making it possible to either allocate those savings to another line item, place the surplus into an interest-bearing account, or even enjoy a treat that is outside the scope of the monthly budget.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Oct 26, 2013

@SarahGen-- I highly recommend using a monthly budget planner. You can even use a budget planning software, whatever makes things easier for you. A budget planner helps you allot your budget according your needs so that you don't splurge. It will teach you self-control as well.

If you can, ask your employer if you can get paid every two weeks instead of once a month. That will prevent you from spending too much at one time.

By SarahGen — On Oct 25, 2013

@donasmrs-- Can you give me some advice on how I can manage with my personal budget?

I'm not good with money matters at all. I tend to splurge in the beginning of the month and I don't have anything to spend later on. You have no idea how I look forward to that next paycheck!

By donasmrs — On Oct 25, 2013

I think that almost every wife and mom is an expert at budget control. My mom was definitely an expert. She was a housewife who had never worked, but without her, there was no way that my dad could have made ends meet. She knew how to save money and she made sure that everyone's needs were fulfilled. My dad didn't make a lot but I don't ever remembering not having something that I needed while growing up.

I appreciate my mom more now that I am married. I've understood how difficult it is to manage a household with a limited budget. I call her and ask her for advice all the time! Budget planning is a lot of work.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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