It’s fair to say that budgeting feels like a bad word to some people. After all, budgeting can seem restrictive and dull, especially when you want to fully enjoy life and indulge yourself from time to time. However, learning how to make a budget work for you can actually make your life much better – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. In this guide, you’ll find 4 straightforward tips that’ll show you how to make a budget that adds to your life, rather than restricts you.
Tip 1: Try a Budgeting App
One of the easiest ways to incorporate budgeting into your life is to use an app like Simplifi, which lets you monitor your income and expenses, create budgets for different time periods (weekly, monthly, etc), and see how much money is left over at the end of the month. Keeping track of your outgoings quickly becomes easy, and you can even set up alerts to let you know when you’re going over budget in a certain area. You’ll be surprised at how motivating it is to see a positive balance in your app after a month or two.
Tip 2: Allocate an Indulgence Fund
Once you’ve got your budget in place, consider allocating a portion of your income that’s separate from the rest of your expenses. This is essentially money that you can use to indulge yourself or buy rare items when you fancy it – but if overspent, it doesn’t affect the main budget. This concept of an indulgence fund allows you to put aside a certain amount of money each month that can be used for unplanned or unusual expenses. It helps you have more control over your spending and teaches you not to rely on credit cards or loans in order to pay for things, too.
Tip 3: Compare Prices to Cut Costs
One of the major benefits of a budget is that it can make you aware of how much your outgoings are, and where your money could be saved. For example, by using price comparison websites, you’ll get far better value for money on fuel, utilities, and groceries by switching suppliers. Some sites let you do this in a few clicks, saving you time and effort – ultimately giving you more money to play with.
Tip 4: Don’t Cut Everything at Once
While it’s a good idea to cut back on superfluous purchases and unnecessary expenses, sudden changes can be too extreme and difficult to stick with, and ultimately lead you to quit the budgeting habit altogether. So, it’s important to gradually introduce changes into your life that will enable you to keep them up for the long term. For example, if you want to pay off all your debt, don’t just tighten your belt and stop spending. Instead, set up a separate account to funnel money towards your debt repayment every month until you’ve paid it off, and treat it like a challenge.
It’s easy to see budgeting as something that takes away from life, but if you follow the tips above, you’ll find that it actually gives you a sense of control over your money and teaches you the value of saving. After all, when it comes to budgeting, if you spend less than you have, then that’s good news!