learn how to manage your money

Budget like you’ve never budgeted before

If you are reading all this and thinking that there is not an inch to move. You’re stuck between what you can earn right now and what you spend; your expenses are fixed and it’s overwhelming. The time has come my friend to start a budget. Knowledge is power and the sooner you know where your money is coming from and going to the sooner you can make changes.

Open your bank statements and start now by entering everything you have spent for the month there. If you’re like me, most of your spending is via eftpos or direct deposit so this is a great place to get started. Have a column for money in and money out, the date and how much.

Then start collecting your receipts. Weekly or at the end of the month enter those receipts, finish your bank statement information and you’ll have a comprehensive snapshot of what you are spending. If you want to get REALLY nerdy (I did, oh my I did) add totals columns to add up categories like phone, electricity, rent/mortgage, spending, clothes, insurances, etc. By doing this, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of your money and the areas it’s being spent.

There’s no use putting all this together if you then don’t make a plan to reduce your spending, increase your savings and know where your money is going. Start to draw out your spending, clothing or entertainment money every month and once it’s gone it’s gone.

I’ve successfully budgeted in one period of my life and it was an empowering feeling. We did it to reduce our credit card and personal debt as quickly as possible while managing mortgages and other expenses incurred with new businesses. It was hard work to start with but as I got into the swing of thing, set up my regular direct debits and let them go and limited what I spent weekly on ‘other’ items there was money left over. Not much, but a smidgen.

Take a look and see what you can find out for yourself. Make a plan around what you learn that will bring you closer to achieving your savings or investment goals.