Budgeting is not something that any of us want to think about. However, whilst the cost of living continues to rise across South Africa, it is something that we have to do. How do you create a budget and stick to it? Here’s a useful guide to creating a budget that works. The best-kept secrets about budgeting, that will make you want to start today.
Money is a tricky thing to predict. Emergencies arise, appliances break down, cars and homes need repairs and expensive but critical travel needs come up. When we need money at unscheduled times, we can turn to emergency short term loan services like Wonga. For the rest of the time, with a little planning, we can create and stick to a realistic budget, to ensure that what we have covers all of our needs, as often as possible.
Here are the top secrets to planning a budget that works:
- When you set out your budget, remember to include a section for emergencies, because it is always useful to have a spare pot of cash that you can delve into when unexpected extras appear each month. If unused, savings that you have made can be carried over into another account for long-term savings.
- If you can’t seem to find a way to make savings, highlight all those expenses that are purchases that you need to survive in one colour and those that you use as treats in another colour. As well as things that you may want to get rid of, some treats may be spends that you can replace with cheaper alternatives.
- Don’t budget so tightly that you can neither stick to the budget or use it. Use one or two of the many budgeting apps and tools available online to track and map your spending, before you attempt to draw up a budget. Once your budget is in place, continue to use the apps to monitor your progress and identify any spending to address.
- As you identify areas of expenditure that you would like to decrease, aim to make the reduction in expenses gradual. With achievable goals, you will be more likely to both reach and stick to your targets.
- Use a visualisation app, to set and remind yourself of a goal for your budgeting. Whether it is a car, holiday, home or something smaller, seeing your target each day will help you to remember why you want to stick to a budget and help you to keep things on track.
View your budget as a work in progress, that can adapt and change as your needs develop. In that way, you can take away some of the pressure and find creative and realistic ways to stick to your budget long term.