TAKING THE PAIN FROM PERSONAL BUDGETING
Quote of the Week: “The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations”~Jacob Lew
Budgeting is the foundation of every successful financial strategy. Whatever your income, you need to track your money to have a handle on your finances. Contrary to popular belief, budgeting is not about restricting what you spend money on and cutting out all the fun in your life. Its core function is understanding how much money you have, where it goes, and then planning how to best allocate it to obtain the most benefits. In order to create and maintain an effective budget, one should:-.
Identify how money is being spent now
Evaluate your current spending and set goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives. Track your spending to make sure it stays within those guidelines.
Take advantage of available tools
Using items like personal finance diaries, simple excel sheets or even personal finance software programs with built in budget-making tools will ease the budgeting process for you.
Focus on the Basics
One major drawback of consistent budgeting is overzealous attention to detail. It is easier to set broad criteria to determine which categories of saving and spending to monitor, concentrate on those categories and worry less about tracking every single aspect of your spending.
Watch Out for Cash Leakage Points
If withdrawals from the ATM machine evaporate from your pocket without apparent explanation, it is time to keep better records. In general, if you find yourself returning to the ATM more than once a week or so, you need to examine where that cash is going and strategise on how to avoid visiting it frequently.
Correct Negative Financial Habits You Spot After Budgeting (implement your findings)
One of the main benefits of consistent budgeting is the ability to spot one`s spending and saving habits. It is thus important to correct any negative trends that may be revealed for the process to be truly effective. For example, spending beyond your limits is dangerous and a definite sign that you need to make some serious cuts to your spending.
Beware of Luxuries Disguised As Necessities
If your income does not cover your costs, then some of your spending is probably for luxuries, even if you have been considering them to be filling a real need.
A Bird in Hand….
Do not count on windfalls. When projecting the amount of money you can live on, do not include money that you are not sure you will receive, such as year-end bonuses, inheritance, lottery and game winnings, or projected profits.
Beware of Increasing Expenditures with Increased Earnings
As your annual income climbs from salary increments promotions, and smart investing, do not start spending on luxuries until you are sure that you are staying ahead of inflation. It is better to use the increase in income as an opportunity to save more.