Tuesday, March 19

Budgeting and sticking to it

Being a single income family on not exactly the biggest wage in the world means that budgeting is a high priority in our house. Sticking to the budget is even more important and not quite as tricky as I once thought. With that in mind I thought that today I would share a few of my budgeting tips.
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As part of the Digital Parents Conference 2013, RAMS is hosting the Loose Change Round Up, which this post is participating in.

For us a budget is the only way to make sure that everything that needs to get paid does so in a timely manner. Knowing when expenses are due and preparing for them before the due date really takes the stress out of finding the money at the last minute.

When preparing a budget start with the biggest and most regular payments. For most people this is the rent or mortgage repayments, followed by other loan repayments (such as car or personal loans).

From here the next step is to work out approximate expected costs for regular bills such as the phone and electricity. Looking at previous bills and averaging out a weekly amount to put aside means that when the bill arrives it is more likely you will have the money already saved and put away. This same principle can be used for other regular expenses such as car registration, insurances, and the like.

To get into the habit of putting the money aside each pay some people find physically putting the money in separate envelopes each pay the best idea. Though with the modern wonders of technology it is just as easy to have automatic periodical payments set up for most of the regular bills.

When creating your budget it is always a good idea to make sure that you include items such as entertainment and fun activities. Even if it is only a few dollars every week that accumulates towards a monthly family outing or something similar. Neglecting to include such areas is where most budgets fall through. As with most things in life it is all about balance and moderation. Budgeting is no exception.

One of the easiest ways to remain accountable for what you spend and help your budget stay on track is to keep a record of everything that you spend. Being aware of what you are spending will alert you to areas where you may be spending excessively or where you may be able to cut back if needed.

So in a nutshell here are my top budgeting tips to create a budget that you will stick to

  • Be realistic with the amounts 
  • Include all expenses including fun ones and savings
  • Start small and build up once you get the hang allocating the money
  • Set up direct debit and automatic payments where ever you can
  • Write down where you spend you money. Especially on all the little things. It is the best way to keep track of how your money is actually being spent and whether it is budgeted for or not

It is Tuesday and I have blogged, you should too.

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