Listen, you don’t need a degree in accounting to stick to a budget – ultimately it’s just addition and subtraction. Once you realise what you’re spending your hard earned cash on every month, the importance of a budget becomes all the more clear. Scroll on down for a few tips that might just be the push you need to bsmart with your budget.
Track your income and spending
The first step to your smart budgeting strategy is knowing what you get in and what you put out. Write down your weekly or monthly income and all your regular expenses and calculate how they compare. Are you spending more than you get paid every month? Then it is time to re-evaluate your spending habits. If you make it out at the other end of the month with a few bucks to spare, it can’t hurt to know where your hard earned cash is disappearing to.
You never know, you might be shocked to see in black and white how much your family spends on eating out or on luxuries every month. Or perhaps, if you reshuffle some funds and stick to your budget you might be able to add a night on the town every now and then without feeling guilty about it at the end of the month.
Be realistic and revisit
If you feel that you are spending too much on petrol or food every month, be realistic with your budget and cut back strategically. If you cut your budget too drastically from one month to the next the chances are pretty high that you will overspend in the coming months. Have a look at your needs and set a realistic goal for your budget. Try joining a lift club to work or start one for all the neighbouring families to get the kids to school. Revisit your budget if you see that you don’t have enough set out for a particular need, or perhaps you can cut back and allocate extra funds to another area of your budget. The point is, don’t be too hard on yourself when you can’t stick to an unrealistic figure that just isn’t working or making sense for your situation.
Get the right tools for the job
Almost all the banks have apps these days that can make your life so much easier. Be sure to download yours and make use of the tools on there. You can keep track of your spend and easily relocate funds to your savings pockets or accounts that need payments. Some of them even allow you to set saving goals and can calculate whether you will be able to stretch your finances to the end of the month based on your previous spending habits.
You can also try one of the many budgeting apps available on the Google Play or App Stores to help you stick to the goals you’ve given yourself. A simple spreadsheet or old fashioned ledger can help tremendously as you will be able to see all your finances with one glance. Making it easier to keep track of your overall spending habits and how this compares to your income.
Log in to the bsmart member portal or download the app to help you save while sticking to your budget.
Cash envelope system
If it’s easier for you to keep track of your money when you can actually see it, go to the ATM after payday and divide the allocated budget for all your expenses in marked envelopes (minus debit orders of course). When the money in each envelope is finished, that’s it. This will stop you from overspending on unnecessary things and help you stick to your budget.
Set up a savings plan
We know it’s easier said than done, but your savings plan should form part of your budget. Rather than putting away what you have left at the end of the month, (which more often than not is not much) incorporate a set amount for savings into your budget every month and put it away as soon as you get paid or set up an automatic payment. That way you can’t spend the money on impulse buys that would have been all the more tempting if your had the funds readily available in your everyday account. You know what they say, you can’t miss (or use) what you don’t have.
Do you have any budget busting tips you swear by? We’d love to hear them!