This week I promise to be back on my usual blog routine. I’ve been in and out of the blogsphere since the holiday season and I’m so sorry for the lack of posts especially here on SavingsPinay. I have a ton of pending items I need to attend to from personal stuff to work related matters. But now I’m back and ready to share personal tips from budget, saving, spending, investment and more. Hope you can join the SavingsPinay Facebook Group for more money discussions.
Today we will talk about budgeting for 2017. I am a firm believer in the importance of creating a budget. It acts as a blue print of your financial life, giving you a clear outline on your current money status. But let’s all be honest that not everyone succeeds when it comes to budgeting. You’ve all read my love-hate relationship with my budget and I thought it will be nice to share to you some helpful tips on how to fix your budget and make it work this 2017. If you struggle in this area the most then this post is for you.
What is Budgeting and Why is it Important?
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A budget works as a basic plan on how you will spend your money in a given period of time, mostly monthly-based. Budget gives a top-view on how much money is coming in and how much is going out. READ:Frequently Asked Questions on Budgeting
A budget gives the following advantage to a person:
It gives you control over your finances.
One of the best benefit of keeping a budget is that it shows your where your money goes. You have an idea on your regular expenses like utility bills, rent, transportation and meal allowance. You can recall how much you spend on a certain month and whether you overspend or not. To put simply, a budget makes your money work for you in the best way possible. You will stop feeling robbed every after payday season because you have a clear picture of your current cash flow.
It clarifies your good and bad spending habits
A budget will also let you know whether you are a saver, spender or a mix of two when it comes to handling your money. If you are a saver, you feel utmost satisfaction in seeing your money grow in the bank and you easily feel guilty for every big (unwanted) purchases. If you are a spender, you are prone in buying impulsively and making excuses/justification in for every big (unwanted) purchases. Having a budget will give you full understanding why you keep on doing the same thing on your money. It can also lead you to change your bad habits and achieve your financial goals.
It teaches you to live below your means
Because you are following a spending plan it is much easier for you to live within your means. You won’t be easily influenced to overuse your credit cards or overspend on your expenses. You’ll find contentment on your financial life and easily deal and adjust in case something is going wrong.
It helps you reach your personal and financial goals
Last week I have shared to you my personal and financial goals for 2017. Now one way I’m making sure that I stay on track of my goals this New Year is having a budget. I always included in my monthly budget breakdown the Three Envelopes of New Life – Emergency Fund, Financial Goal Fund and Fun Fund. This got to be the biggest change I had implemented in my entire life. Without having a budget you will probably just waste your money on the unimportant things. Making a budget on the other hand will lead you to the opposite. Ever since I started funding these three envelops I feel more secured to invest and to make big financial decisions.
It takes a lot of patience and practice to master the art of budgeting. You may remember my two-part post on Things that Ruin my Budget and Maybe Yours too. I did that about two years ago and up until today those things are on top of the reasons why I can’t seem to make my budget work.
But of course I can pretty much say that I have matured over time. Thinking about my goals, making necessary adjustments and sticking to my budget proved to be some of the best money tips ever. Below are the common budget mistakes we all seem to commit and possible solution on how to fix it this 2017.
Problem #1. My budget doesn’t work at all
I think it is a very common scenario that we follow a certain budget technique or template but end up not sticking to it. It became more like a wish list of how you want your money to be distributed rather than an actual spending plan that works.
How to fix it
Budget should be personal. You may find a ton of guides and printables online but without practicing and giving a few months to test you’ll definitely end up failing. For me budgeting using pen and paper works best. I just have an online 50-20-30 Rule of Budgeting Template as a on-the-go guide but I still do a hardcore budget and spending log on my Bullet Journal.
Some will find comfort on downloadable personal finance apps instead. These apps are free to get and you can use them whenever or wherever you are. It is only you who can make your budget work for you and I sincerely hope that that statement makes sense.
Problem #2. My budget is too restricting
The lack of area to make necessary adjustments to your budget will also end up as a big mistake. Your budget should be flexible enough to keep you from going downhill and getting bored. It should have room for mistakes and be as forgiving as it is to set you on good financial start.
How to fix it
One of the best way to fix this is to divide your money into three categories – Essentials, Financial Goals and Lifestyle. I find this to be the ultimate solution in my own personal finance journey.
Essential Expenses are your needs or non-negotiable. It includes your rent, food, transportation, education etc.
Financial Goals are your savings and investments. It includes your contribution to your retirement, emergency fund and your big life purchases like house, car and vacation.
Lifestyle are your wants and recreations. It includes your gym membership, your monthly cable fee, your internet plan, your hobbies and your personal care allowance. Any other miscellaneous expenses goes to this bucket.
The right balance between this three will help you create a budget that works. You can follow my suggested 50-20-30 Rule or change it to 70-10-20 or 80-10-10. It is all up to you.
So once your income comes in all you have to do is distribute your money on the following buckets:
50% will go to your essentials
20% will go to your savings and investments
30% will go to your lifestyle
Problem #3. My budget lacks of fund/money
Now most of people long to create a budget but will always feel the pressure of not having enough money. Living paycheck to paycheck is a sad reality to many of us. I have been to this state before and its something I will never wish to come back at all. Below are possible solution to your money problems.
Prioritize your debts
Debt management should be the first in your priority as always. Cut back as many items on your budget categories and put all the money to pay your debts. I have a ton of debt-management articlesyou can read for more information.
Ask for a raise
Not having enough money to cover your expenses only means your income is too low already. Learn to negotiate your salary once and for all. If you know that you deserve higher salary then why not talk to your manager or supervisor for a raise. READ:How to Get a Major Major Salary Increase
Increase your income
Having part-time jobs or freelance job will help you big time to make the gap between your expenses and spending smaller. I have mentioned a ton of side hustles you can try to increase the money you are getting.
Always build a budget out of real and actual numbers. Put the real income you get in a payday, the real expenses you usually spend on your budget categories and the real magic numbers you have in your saving goals. Make your budget as close to your real life spending as possible.
Do it regularly
Setting regular budget from monthly, weekly to daily will definitely make you more knowledgeable in your own personal cash flow. Don’t stop with just a monthly budget but add a weekly spending plan to further breakdown your expenses. Also try tracking your expenses on a daily basis to see whether you live within your means.
Review it as often as you can
This is the part that can make or break any budget. Doing regular reviews of your budget is essential to keep yourself updated on your spending habits as well as whether you are acing your financial goals. Reflect on how your money went from the past month or past week and find out possible solutions to make it better.
Final Note from SavingsPinay
Knowing how to create a budget will definitely change your life for the better. It is the most important step in building a solid financial foundation. Take your time in creating a budget that works for you. Make sure that you have defined all your budget categories. In case this is your first time to create a budget I suggest reading this post.
Is budgeting one of your goals this 2017? Share how you budget or your own struggle when it comes to budgeting in the comment section below.
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