With the change in economic conditions, experts advise and caution consumers against overspending and not saving for the things that matter.
However, there are tools that can help you manage rising household and unnecessary expenses without compromising your goal to live a comfortable life. Creating a simple budgeting template that encompasses your daily and household expenses will help you save for that pair of leather boots, that special family holiday that your family deserve or your child’s education. Making small saving adjustments will eventually add up overtime and benefit you in the long-term.
“Budgeting is not an exclusive activity. It’s quite simple if managed on a monthly basis and if you have a defined set of goals and understand where your expenses fit in,” explains Ester Ochse, Product Specialist, FNB Financial Advisory
Ochse provides a few guidelines to creating your own personal budget:
- Know what your monthly income is – Work with your final take home salary when creating your budget. Make note of your monthly salary and money that you have after all your monthly deductions. This includes your pension fund, UIF and medical aid (if applicable).
- Look at your daily spending – Track your spending by looking at your online transactions or keeping your slips in a file. Doing this will help you identify spending irregularities and also where you can cut back.
- List all your expenses in an excel spread sheet – include your fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses include things like rent; car payments etc. and variable expenses are those that change on a monthly/weekly basis like groceries, entertainment. Listing these will help you track your monthly expenditure and help you decide what to leave in and what to cut-out.
- Evaluate your expenses and set goals – Make a list of your short and long term goals that you want to accomplish in a year. By identifying these goals, you can start budgeting appropriately and identifying things that you will need in the year.
- Create your financial plan – With your budgeting list; you will get an idea of what you will spend in the upcoming months and what you can cut out. This plan will serve as your blueprint to your financial goals.
- Change habits, “buying behavior” – We tend to overspend and buy things out of wants instead of needs. Your budget will also help you understand your monthly spending habits.
- Update and check on an ongoing basis – Once you start your budgeting process, don’t stop. Review and look at your budgets regularly to ensure that you checked in and that you are not overspending on all levels.
Budgeting is an important process in your money management journey. “Taking heed of the above steps will help you identify your unnecessary spending habits and also help you achieve your goals,” concludes Ochse.