Money is something we need to live but something we hate to think about. Without the proper planning, it's easy to put that housing loan or retirement fund on the back-burner when you're focusing on just covering the bills and feeding the family. Most people struggle with money frustrations, but creating a budget is a great way to actually see what is going on and find where you can make changes. Here are our tips on how to create a household budget and stick to it.
Setting tangible and attainable goals is the first step in creating any household budget. Know what you want to get out of your budget and figure out ways to organise and achieve it before diving into its creation. Whether you have a lot or a little to work with, want a simple saving and spending guideline, or are saving up for new car or a dream vacation, setting goals should be your first priority.
TRACK YOUR INCOME AND SPENDING
Figure out your monthly and yearly income and spending patterns, and then create a budget that gives you a monthly surplus. You may have to cut back on spending for a while and put a little more in savings, but giving yourself a surplus is the best way to give yourself peace of mind. The more diligent you are in short time periods with less money, the bigger payoffs you will see over time with larger amounts of money.
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Whether you're an Excel spreadsheet fanatic or prefer the old-fashioned paper way, staying organised is a must when creating a household budget. Record everything from income to spending and debts to savings. Write down when you receive a bonus check or raise at work, have unexpected expenses or spend less than you thought. Seeing the numbers in writing makes it easier to set goals and create an feasible plan.
SEPARATE NEEDS AND WANTS
This is always our least favourite part – separating what we need from what we want. Electric bills, water payments and food are a must. Weekend trips, clothes and lattes are not. Make sure to pay for the things that are vital to living before splurging on the things you want. We suggest setting aside a small savings section that you can use for things to spoil yourself (which we all need to do). You will see that small "fun" account grow when you remain diligent in your budget.
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SAVINGS AND DEBT
This tip will give you the greatest peace of mind when it comes to budgeting. We like to live in the now, forget the past and not worry about the future, but paying off debts and making savings for a comfortable future is important. Pay off debts in small monthly installments, and you will soon see them disappear. While you may not be thinking about retirement right now or spoiling the future grandchildren, planning for the future is important for future security. Things like sickness and injury can never really be planned for, but you can prepare yourself for the financial costs.
MAKE IT REALISTIC
The best way to stick to your budget is to make it realistic. Don't set allowances that you can't afford because you will set yourself up for failure and frustration. But also remember to enjoy yourself and celebrate your hard work. Don't stress out over a fancy Sunday brunch with the family or the shoes you just had to have for your next outing. Find the perfect balance, and you will find yourself sticking to the budget.
Are you a pro at sticking to a budget? Share your tips below with your Nabo neighbours.