The Big Bad 'B' Word
Strict and Unyielding. Uptight and Absolute. Complicated and Boring.
In reality, budgeting is rarely any of those things. It’s the common misconceptions people hold that tend to associate it with these choices of negative words.
Budgeting is actually an incredibly useful tool; it not only decides whether you can afford that extra date night at the end of the week, without affecting your cost of living, but it allows you to organise your spending and manage your money with less stress.
When buying a home, having a budget is almost a necessity when it comes to allowing for a weekly or monthly mortgage payment. Even when you have a higher income, it is always handy to get into the habit of creating a budget, especially if something doesn’t go your way in the future.
Financial Services at Duke University stated that having a budget “will help you identify wasteful expenditure, adapt quickly as your financial situation changes and achieve your financial goals,” and we agree. Budgeting is the key to controlling your spending, saving your money and moving towards your future target.
If you are unsure on where to begin, set yourself a financial goal. Make it relevant and achievable – something that you are motivated to work towards – and give it a specific time frame. Consider your current debts, or if you are planning on saving for a car, holiday or house in the future.
The next step is to focus on your income; where it is coming from and how much is coming in each week or fortnight. A good question to ask yourself is what are your necessary spending’s each week? Dividing and identifying your spending into categories such as; your primary needs, secondary needs, and your wants, are really useful when deciding how much money you will allocate to spending.
If you find yourself going over budget, you can balance it out by referring to your ‘wants’ category, without eating away at the necessary spending’s for the week.
While people may think that a budget is absolute, it should really be quite flexible. By making it too complicated to understand, you may find yourself straying from the plan and getting yourself into potential financial harm. If you have a shifting weekly income, leave it open so you are able to change and modify to make do.
On our homepage, we have an example of a helpful budget chart that you can download from the ASIC’s Money Smart programme. We advise you to print it out and chart your own budget, so that you can build an invaluable and useful habit for future use.
Flexible and Organised. Helpful and adaptable. Uncomplicated and stress-free.
That’s really what budgeting should be associated with.
Image Source: Wiley, Diana. 2015. “Who Wants to Budget?” Php Ladies. Web. Retrieved from: http://phpladies.com/2015/01/15/budgeting-your-money/
“What is a Budget and Why is it Important?” (2016). Duke University. Web. Retrieved from: http://personalfinance.duke.edu/manage-your-finances/budget/overview