- Budgeting can be liberating if done properly and realistically
- Stalking your spending is important to know where your money is going
- Budget check-ups are essential to track progress and adjust goals if necessary
It doesn’t need to be a dirty word – or something you avoid like the other life-admin you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Sitting down and getting a budget fleshed out is worth the time. Promise! You’ll soon be able to afford those big ticket items you thought were out of reach. See, the trick with budgeting is not to restrict yourself so much that you just end up splurging because you’re missing out on all the fun. Be realistic with your budgets. If your daily coffees are non-negotiable, build that into your budget.
We’ve put together a few steps for budget-newbies, so its not so overwhelming.
Step 1: Stalk your spending
We’ve all done a bit of ‘background research’ before a date, right? Well employ those skills to your spending.👀 Stalking your spending history is going to help you get a fuller picture of where those 💲 are going and spot any splurges. A great way to do this is via your bank app. In fact, most bank apps automatically sort your spending into categories. Intuitive spending categories give you an instant overview of exactly where your money is going. There are other cool apps like Pocketbook (free) or MoneyBrilliant which sync with your Aussie bank account and can give you extra awesome options like upcoming bill notifications, regular spending overviews, and budgeting for goals.*
Step 2: Know your bills, bills, bills
You’ve stalked your spending, you know where those extra dollars are going (hello, daily shop-bought coffees!). Now is the time to understand your bills like rent, electricity, phone, car rego, transport, internet, insurance etcetera and also those necessities like food!🥗🍜 Apps like the ones we just mentioned, as well as most general bank apps, can keep tabs on when bills are due and remind you of upcoming payments. This is especially handy for those bills that don’t occur every month and suddenly pop up.
Step 3: Balance your budget
You know what you’re spending on essential expenses like food and bills, and also other expenses like entertainment (and the fun stuff) … so what’s left? If there’s not much, look over your expenses and see what you could cut back on without affecting your lifestyle too much. Like we said at the start, if you restrict yourself too much with the ‘fun expenses’ you’re less likely to stick to a budget. So if you want that daily coffee, you’ll need to find another area to trim some spending on. After you’ve refined those expenses where possible, see what you’re left with. This money can be allocated to savings.
Step 4: Set #goals
Now you know what cash you have left at the end of each month. It’s time to set specific (and achievable) savings goals. This will help keep you motivated! If you just say: ‘I’ll save $70 a month’, it might feel a bit pointless after a few months. But if you say: ‘I’ll save $70 a month to buy a plane ticket to Melbourne to spend NYE with my bestie’- that’s a heckload more motivating.
Back to the apps we mentioned before – they can also help you budget and set budget goals. It takes a lot of the brain power away from your plate, so you can just watch those savings grow!
Step 5: Schedule in check-ups
When you first attempt to budget there’s usually a bit of ‘budget creep’, times where you may slip-up and overspend on what you had planned. Instead of getting bummed about it, have a look at why you’re over-spending. It might just be an adjustment period while you learn to be more disciplined, or maybe you’ve simply restricted yourself too much. It’s also super important to schedule in regular ‘financial check-ups’ to make sure you’re progressing in the right direction. You never know, you might be killing it and need to set a higher goal! 👏
Step 6: Use a budget template
We’ve created a simple, easy-to-use budget template for beginner budgeters. Grab the free template. Easy as!
And that’s how you get started with budgeting. You’ll soon be budgeting like a boss and feeling more in control of your money – and your life! It’ll be hard at first but totes worth it when you start achieving those #lifegoals. You got this!