Budgeting does not need to be complicated, but it seems impossible for a large number of people. Even though you try all the harder to make a realistic budget, you give up in the middle. However, this all happens because many of you take budgeting as a tool to restrict your spending.
The fact is that budgeting aims at making most of your money. You all know that you need to rely on budgeting to take control of your spending regardless of your income, and you may have understood this fact after the pandemic outbreak.
Many of you lost had to rely on savings for a couple of months after losing jobs. If you had not stashed away money, you would have been almost ruined.
This challenging time has taught you all a lesson that budgeting is essential, but many struggles to create a realistic budget that works for them. Here are the three ways to master your budget.
Stretch your money
It means spending your money more frugally, so you do not end up running out of money. Here is how you can stretch your money:
- Nail down your income and expenses
To make the budget work for you, you will have to be frugal with your spending, and that is not possible unless you nail down all your income and expenses.
You should figure out how much money you earn every month. This should include income sources other than your full-time job too.
Find out how much money you spend every month. To get an idea of your monthly spending, you can look over your previous months’ bank statements. Calculate the average monthly spending when it keeps fluctuating every month.
- Find low-cost alternatives to your needs
Once you have an accurate picture of your income and expenses, the next step is finding out the low-cost alternatives to your needs.
For instance, you should try to buy groceries from a thrift store. You can also buy several items in bulk to save your money, provided they will not go off soon.
As far as it is about going to your workplace, you should prefer public transport instead of your vehicle.
This can help you save a lot of money on fuel. You should check alternative utility suppliers. Your current utility supplier likely costs you more money.
Make sure that you have opted out of unwanted subscriptions like gym subscriptions and magazine subscriptions.
Make a plan that works for you
You will have to make a spending plan even if you are trying to be frugal. You need to consider a lot of things to ensure that your budget will work for you. Here is what you need to do.
- Identify your debt obligations
Your spending does not just include food, utilities, insurance, rent etc., but you must have some financial obligations.
You cannot compromise with them despite being in a tight spot because otherwise, your credit score will go down, and your ability to borrow money down the road will be badly affected.
Make a repayment plan, so you do not end up falling behind the due date. If you have multiple debts, you should strategise whether you should pay off a small amount of debt first or the one with high interest like personal loans in Ireland for bad credit.
- Identify where to whittle down
Without know your debt obligations, you may not be able to decide how much you have to skimp on having enough money to keep up with payments.
Your debt payments are fixed expenses, so set aside that amount immediately as you receive your paycheque. This is because you do not have to struggle to arrange that money.
This will make it clear that what you are left with can help you meet your daily expenses. You will have to keep all of these expenses limited to that available money.
You will have to look over those expenses that you can cut down. For instance, you may avoid dining out.
Although you do not need to curb it completely, you should try to reduce its frequency. Likewise, there are other discretionary or inessential expenses you can leave out of your list.
- Schedule automatic transfer to your savings
Open a separate savings account to stash away money for a rainy day. After analysing the spending and all obligations, decide on the amount of money you can put aside.
Whether it is 10% or 20% of your monthly income, make sure that you have opted for an automatic transfer facility. Link it to your payment account, so the money is transferred automatically as soon as you receive your paycheque.
Improve your spending habits
If you want to make your budget work for you, you will have to improve your spending habits. Here is how you can do it.
- Track your spending
If you track your spending, you will be able to ensure you are spending within your limit. A rule of thumb says that you should check it periodically, for instance, once a week or once two weeks.
You should use budgeting apps because they can alert you if you have reached your spending goal set for a particular month.
- Avoid retail therapy
Retail therapy is shopping that you do to uplift your mood. It is also known as emotional spending. Never shop anything just because you are upset or your mood is low.
Emotional spending can ruin your whole budget, making it even harder to pay off your debt.
If you want to make your budget work for you, you will have to ensure that you are not overspending. The first thing that you need to control over immediately is your spending.
Make sure that you spend money on things that you need, and as far as it is about discretionary expenses, it should be limited. You can spend money for fun and entertainment but avoid emotional spending. Keep tracking your expenses to hone your spending behavior.
If you are struggling to make a budget work for you, read this blog. This discusses three tips to master it.