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Creating a budget is like eating healthily, everyone knows that they should do but that does not mean that they will. I recommend that everyone who has regular earnings, or pocket money if they are children, creates a budget. Why do I recommend that? It’s about one word – control. Spending money without any sense of how much you have left or what other outgoings need to be paid for is a fast track to stress and ill health. Think of all those celebrities and ex professional sports people who ended up broke; they clearly were not in control of their budget. I do not want you to find yourself in the same position.
A Budget that You Can Stick To
I want you to start with a mindset shift, budgeting is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The right budget will give you peace of mind and a sense of well being. If we return to the food analogy, I want you to think of budgeting as eating healthier forever rather than going on a ‘financial diet’ for the short term. We all know what happens when people come off diets, they usually regress and lose the gains that they’ve made.
Start of with a Simple Spreadsheet
I know you do not want to start from the very beginning so click on this link to download a free household budget template. Print off your last two monthly bank statements and examine all your expenditure. If you do not know your monthly income, print off your last two payslips. Now record all the details required to complete your spreadsheet.
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You can download this budget template to use here. To change the currency on the template follows these instructions.
I always find it helpful to list mandatory expenditure above discretionary expenditure and savings. Mandatory expenditure includes your mortgage / rent and bills. Your mortgage or rent is likely to be the largest single expense in your budget. Discretionary expenditure includes entertainment and non- essential shopping items, saving is self -explanatory.
Budget For A Better Future
There are far more complicated spreadsheets available, but this is a good place to start. Having a plan for the month financially will make a big difference to how you feel. Sticking within your allocated amounts for each category will make you feel good. In time, you can add in additional considerations as you grow more confident working with your budget.
Apply the 50/30/20 Rule
It was US Senator and academic Elizabeth Warren who popularised the 50/20/30 budget rule in her book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” She co authored her book with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi. Once taxes have been allocated, the rule is to spend 50% of your net income on needs, 30% on wants and to transfer 20% to savings. Above, I have referred to these categories as mandatory, discretionary and savings.
I have great news! Once you filled out your budget, you have done most of the actual work. In the future, you will need to refer to it, tweak it, add extra details about new income or items or expenditure, but on the whole it won’t change very much. In most cases, it is possible to live within your budget and to plan effectively for future additional expenditure around Summer or Christmas time.
Do you have a budget already? Are you managing to stick to it? Let me know in the comments section below.
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My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only. This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.