You can do it on your Fitbit. You can download an app that will nag you incessantly about your spending. You can even have savings automatically deducted every time you post on Instagram.
Today, there are no end of tricks, tips and devices to help you budget and save. But the good news is it all comes down to one very simple principle: don’t spend more than you earn.
We know it’s tough when you’re tempted in so many ways. So here are our simple tips to help you stay on course:
First, be clear about why you’re budgeting
Chances are, you’re probably keen to balance your essentials and a little fun with some savings. So you may want to:
- Understand where your money goes
- Look for savings, perhaps by seeing what you’re spending too much on
- Work out what weekly allowance you should give yourself and, perhaps, your partner
- Save for something specific, like a house, car, holiday, or getting rid of that credit card debt.
If you’re running a business, then you may need more detail. Our tips are designed for a simple household budget. Try these…
Use a budget calculator
Try Easy Street’s budget calculator. It’s quick and will simply put the job at hand in perspective. Best of all, you can try different spending scenarios so you can see the difference small changes can make.
If you’re running a business, then you may need more detail. Our tips are designed for a simple household budget.
Use three accounts
This quick and simple method means you have an account for spending, another for regular expenses and a third for saving.
Once you get paid, make sure you make available what you need to cover your regular bills first so you won’t fall behind.
What’s left is the balance between spending and saving. This is where you have more flexibility so it’s also the area you are more likely to excel or struggle with. This is where you conquer temptation!
If you only make available what you think you can live off each week in your spending account, and keep what’s left in your savings, you can give yourself a big high five! You’re less likely to dip in to your savings.
Make it personal
While we’d love to tell you that there is one hard and fast rule as to how you can stick to your spending budget, we can’t. What works for you may not work for your spouse or your friends.
But there are some wily ways to help.
- Cash is king – If you’ve set yourself a small weekly allowance for discretionary spending for things like lunch or coffee, then just carry it in cash in your wallet. You can see exactly how far you’ve got. Electronic devices are fine – but they can mask your outgoings.
- Automate it – Only release your weekly allowance to your transaction account. Keep everything else (savings and expenses) separate
- Don’t lose track – use SMS or email alerts, mobile banking – whatever works to ensure you don’t forget what’s left and you get a better sense of what you spend
- Start small – set a savings goal you can achieve. Nothing breeds success like success, and pretty soon you should be able to raise the bar!
And don’t forget to talk about it
If you manage the household budget, ensure you speak to your partner and be open about what you want to save and what you can spend. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Need a hand?
Easy Street’s budget calculator is a really useful friend. Or, if you need the convenience of managing all your accounts online, while have access to free account alerts, mobile banking and fast payments, consider Easy Street’s range of competitive accounts at www.easystreet.com.au
This information is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs (your “personal circumstances”). Before deciding whether to buy any product you should consider your personal circumstances. You should read and consider the Terms and Conditions when deciding to use any product (terms and conditions, fees and charges may apply). Easy Street’s product Conditions of Use are available at www.easystreet.com.au.
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