In recent times, the word “budget” has become one that we avoid. It’s just as necessary as regular doctor’s check-ups or car services, and yet it has become the last item on our to-do lists. We’re anxious and avoidant because we know how tough the economic climate is and we don’t always want to face the hard facts. Truth is though, when we can see everything we’re working with – every cent – we can plan properly. When proper planning is in place, the real problem can be avoided: debt.
Use these five tricks to help you budget like a pro and avoid breaking the bank:
#1 Set a budget goal
Do you want to save? Do you have things to pay off? What do you want to achieve with your budget? When you know the answer to those questions, then you’ll know where to spend money. That said, ultimately the goal is always to spend less than you make.
#2 Know your weakness
We all have a weakness – clothes, food, entertainment. Whatever it is, you need to identify what yours is. We have materialism ingrained into our society and our want for things we don’t need often drives us to spend money we don’t have. If you identify what your weak spots are, you’ll be mentally prepared when you are tempted to spend.
#3 Make time to manage money
Budgeting takes time; it takes keen attention and planning. Set up a scheduled time in your calendar that you put aside for budgeting. Whether you need to budget once a week, if you’re doing it for the first time, or once a month, it’s important that you stick to the time you make. This will give you structure and an end goal date that you “work” towards. A consistent day in the week or month will also allow you to accurately track your spending habits and make adjustments.
#4 Track spending and prioritise debt
It may sound obvious but the easiest way to keep track of your budget is to keep track of your spending. The internet has given us access to endless tools – online software, mobile apps – that make keeping track of your spending easy. If you are paying for things using cash, keep slips or take photos of them.
#5 Set budgeting incentives
If the expression “eye on the prize” resonates with you, then this trick will definitely work. Set budgeting incentives for yourself. Use it as a goal from month to month: if you’re within or under your set budget, then treat yourself. The reward shouldn’t break the bank but rather motivate you to stick to the guidelines you’ve set for yourself.
If you try to budget but your expenses, especially debt instalments, far outweigh your income, give Debt Rescue a call. We are here for you!