Congratulations! If you made it to this page, it means that the subject of money and budgeting is something that you care about. At Full of Kindness we are not scared of the money conversation, so grab a cup of coffee, sit down and relax, while we discuss the subject of budgeting our money.
What is a budget?
Let’s get clear on what the budget actually is! I think the best way to describe it is planning and managing the balance between your income and your outgoings. Most definitely, a budget is the best way to keep your finances in check and to make sure you achieve what you want to achieve with your money. With the use of a very simple budget, you:
- ensure that you have enough money to cover the necessities,
- spend on what really matters to you,
- save for your emergency fund, as well as for the future.
Managing a budget is a good way of making sure you don’t spend more than your income. A budget will also help to show you how much money you can save (we have all heard of these statistics that most people haven’t got a £1,000 in their emergency fund) and help to cut down on some of your spendings (how many subscriptions have you got that are not actually useful or needed anymore?).
The budgeting process.
Budgeting isn’t complicated, so do not be scared or overwhelmed by it. A budget is simply a list of what you need and want to spend compared against a list of what income you have.
Let’s start by establishing where is your income coming from. It can be through salary, or multiple salaries, if you are freelancing, seasonal jobs, dividends, if you hold some shares, selling items you no longer need or unwanted gifts. It is crucial to understand where your money comes from and where possible opportunities for additional income are.
Next, let’s have a look at your outgoings, which includes ALL your expenditure. And let me tell you something! There is a difference between what you need (essential expenditure like mortgage or rent, utilities like gas, electricity, water, food, car running costs like petrol, taxes and insurance, education) and what you want (TV and internet packages, gym membership, subscriptions, entertainment like cinema, theatre, going out to eat, days out and holidays). It is important to include both types of expenditure on your budget, but prepare yourself to be ruthless with your wants, as they are not your priority and you don’t need them to survive.
How to create a budget?
Mobile apps – there is an abundance of budgeting apps available (paid and free), so browse around and choose one that meets your needs.
Excel spreadsheet – this one is my favorite, as it is highly flexible and free. Also, you do not need to be an advanced user to create a simple sheet for bookkeeping purposes.
Pen and paper – if you are not a techy person, get a dedicated notepad and go old-school.
Ideally, you should update your budget every time you make a transaction, but it probably isn’t realistic. I suggest setting a calendar reminder and commit to updating your budget once per week. If you feel like you need to do it more often, do it.
Top tips for managing a budget:
Be honest – if you know that a major event (someone’s birthday, Christmas, etc.) is coming, allocate some budget to this event in advance, so you do not have to act surprised at the end of the month, if you run out of money.
Create a rainy fund, which will give you a piece of mind and a comfortable amount to spend “just in case”, rather than derailing your monthly budget to deal with whatever happens.
Don’t be shortsighted and look further than just one month into the future, as it will give you a greater picture, something to benchmark against and an opportunity to prepare for bigger expenses.
Regularly update your budget with your bank statements (expenses and income). It will allow you to stay on top of your spending and notice any unexpected, suspicious outgoings.
Stick to your budget, however hard it may sound, it will be worth it.
Good luck!! Make sure to check how to create a budget plan and let me know your thoughts on the subject of money.
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