Sarah Neudorf October 5, 2020 Budget
A spending outline that has everything you spend money on and stays within the acceptable income range is considered to be a good budget. It is also important to remember to include things like saving money for retirement, emergency expenses or schooling. Many people find budgeting a chore because they do not have direction or goals laid out as part of the budget. When you consider things like what you want to have in the next five years, for example, having paid off the car or mortgage, it makes it easier to sit down and take the time to budget with those goals in mind.
There are always going to be unexpected bills, if your car breaks down or pet needs to be taken to the vet. These are problematic to accurately account for so it might be easier to set aside a contingency amount each month for unplanned expenses. Next step in the budget is to list all of your income. Look at recent payslips to get an accurate figure for wages and remember to include any benefits you receive, such as Child Tax Credit.
Some budget calculators will also break down monthly expenditures to reflect a percentage, enabling you to see what proportion of your income goes towards each expense. Simply put, they offer a quick and simple way for you to get a preliminary idea of whether you should apply for a loan or invest your money.
Beware of small, impulse purchases. Small and impulsive purchases like this are usually the reason that our money does not make it through the month. Lots of little purchases can end of eating away a significant chunk of our monthly income because we do not really see it happening. The money disappears a little at a time, so it does not hurt until we look at the big picture. Another good example of this happening is buying lunch every day at work. If we run out and get fast food every day, that can be $5 a day, $25 a week, and $100 a month. If two spouses are doing this, it adds another $200 a month to the food budget.
It can be easy to become accustomed to a certain way of life and assume that to spend any less money would mean having to make major sacrifices, hence making life less enjoyable. But through carefully monitoring exactly how much is spent each month - from the little things such as your lunch and travel budget, to the bigger things such as the mortgage and bills - it is then possible to start making some fundamental changes that can free-up a regular contribution to your savings balance, without having a significant impact on your daily life.
Food shopping - always make a list, it is too easy to pick up things you do not really need. Consider buying different brands if they are cheaper, instead of just picking up the one you always get. You will find that fruit and vegetables are generally cheaper from a market or a greengrocer - and you have the added advantage of only buying what you want (instead of a pack of three lettuces for instance). Hope this has helped with your budget calculations.