Do rising costs of living, rising mortgage/rent payments and escalating energy bills make it difficult to maintain a budget? You can find some great tips and tricks here to help you keep within your budget.
For some, just the thought of sticking to a budget can cause us to break out in a sweat.
But the reality is, a well-planned budget shouldn’t be restrictive or difficult to stick with. Instead, it should make your life more affordable and easier to manage, because you know exactly what your regular expenses are, and how much “disposable” income you have leftover for play.
If your budget needs a little tweaking, here’s a four-step plan to help you make the most out of your personal financial plan:
Step 1: Reassess your outgoings
It’s a tough question to ask yourself, but you need to know: can you afford your life? You may need to reshuffle your expenses if it turns out you’re spending more than you earn.
Keep track of all your regular expenses and double-check it!Compare it with your salary or wage. If your outgoings equal more than your income, you may need to cut some lifestyle “wants”, at least temporarily.
Step 2: Allocate your pay accordingly
According to www.debtsteps.com, your monthly pay packet should roughly be divided up as follows – how does your personal budget stack up?
- Housing 35% (includes mortgage or rent payments, repairs and maintenance, improvements/renovations, home and contents insurance and utilities, such as electricity)
- Transportation 20% (Monthly car payment, petrol, services, repairs, tyres and insurance, as well as parking and public transport)
- 15% debt (Credit card, personal loans, and other debts like store cards)
- Other expenses 20%
- a Investments/savings 10% (Shares, cash savings, real estate investments, etc)
Step 3: Track your spending
It’s all well and good to know what your budget should look like, but it’s equally important to know where you’re actually spending your cash!
A spending journal is similar to a food journal. You jot down all the things you purchase for the week and then look at your results to find any gaps. You’ll be amazed at how much money you waste on an average week.
Step 4 – Look for income opportunities
If you’re loath to cancel your Foxtel subscription or you can’t live without a fortnightly clothing splurge, you’ll need to look for ways to boost your income. Perhaps it’s time to look for a new job or ask for a payrise – or you could investigate freelance opportunities. Websites like www.elance.com and www.freelancer.com.au can provide an extra income stream if you have skills in writing, editing, graphic design, book-keeping and web design.