5 Top Budgeting Tips

It’s about that time of the month again, salary time, that time in the cycle of our lives when the gods of benevolence shine upon us with the hard-earned fruits of our labour. A time when everything seems possible, the promise of exciting experiences can be fulfilled, random cravings of little Knick knacks can be satisfied; a time so sweet that you spend the rest of the month just waiting for it to come back around.

And then the rest of the month comes. Sequel to satisfied cravings and enjoyed experiences, you are left with an empty pocket, recurrent bills, grocery needs and unexpected (albeit necessary) payments. You are also left with the eerily familiar feeling of ‘had I known’ and when I say ‘you’ I mean all of us.

 Cue in ‘A Budget’, a financial saviour amongst few. A budget, simply put, is a spending plan based on how much money you make and what you need to spend it on. It’s an estimate of your income and your expenses over a certain period, in this example, a month.

 To allow us break this truly vicious cycle, these top budgeting tips are some ideas to have at the back of your mind when creating your monthly budget.

  1. Have goals: Confucius stated that one who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door. I’m certain that this wise, ancient Chinese philosopher was trying to say that before you start your budget you should plan what it should be for (definitely do not quote me on this, I’m only an interpreter). Your goals could range from total comfort during the month to repaying your debts and even increasing your investment allocation. Whatever your goals, it is important to be positive that they can be achieved as you’re going to need that positivity when it comes time for self-control.
  2. Start with the most important categories: Saving and investing are very important. What you save, should go towards an emergency fund and should ideally be 20 per cent of your income, saved in a high-interest savings account. The amount you invest monthly should be about 20 per cent as well and should be spread across a diverse portfolio that spreads across different companies, industries, and a range of assets such as shares and fixed-interest investments. Utilising a digital financial marketplace can make it incredibly easy to make investments to earn passive income. It is next important to sort out the Four Walls: food, shelter, utilities and transportation. Once your true necessities are taken care of, you can fill in the rest of your budget to account for self-care, jaiye and such.
  3. Budget to zero: This means that your budget should account for every single kobo of your income. This does not mean that there won’t be extra for choplife activities, it just means that enjoyment is budgeted for and, I assure you, that it doesn’t take the fun out of it. When you budget for enjoyment, it ensures that other important things will not suffer. In addition, it would help to automate payments, so bills are settled as you get alerts.
  4. Pay off your debt: Having debt always puts a negative in the grand scheme of your peace of mind. Allocating a portion of your income to service your debt will determine that you end up obligation-free in the nearest future.
  5. Don’t be afraid to trim the budget: Even if for a short time, do not be afraid to trim the enjoyment so you can focus on what needs to take priority at the moment. Global economies are not smiling and that is currently affecting livelihoods, if you need to shelve some less important categories do so in the interim.