Looking after your finances isn’t easy. Especially when you’re hit with an emergency expense that you didn’t expect. If you don’t have the funds to back you up, you might look at payday loan lenders so you can borrow what you need and pay it back. However, if you want to be prepared in advance for these types of situations, you could create a budget. Sticking to one can be tough, but you’ll find it quite simple if you plan it right. Here are some top tips on how to create a monthly spending plan so you can feel in control of your finances.
Assess Your Income
The first thing to do when creating a spending plan is to assess how much money you have before any expenses. Find out what your total income is, which includes any salary or wages you receive and any other financial support you may get each month. Once you have the total figure, you can get to work figuring out how you spend it.
Collate Your Outgoings
Next, you want to make a list of every single penny that comes out of your account each month. It’s best to start off with your fixed expenses like your bills. This way you can make sure you’ve included everything that’s essential and must be paid. If you feel like your fixed expenses are a little high, try to see if you could reduce any of them at all. For example, could you pay off your credit card or personal loan early? Reducing your outgoings is a great way to save money and helps you when budgeting as you have more finances to work with.
Look At Your Average Spending
After you’ve looked at your fixed expenses, it’s time to look at your other expenditures. These include any streaming subscriptions that you have, weekly food shops, filling up your gas tank, and more. These expenses are ones that you deem necessary, but they can fluctuate in price. Grab your most recent bank statements and any receipts you have from the past couple of weeks and tally up how much you’ve spent on these things. If the number seems a little high, again you could look to cut it down. For instance, you could reduce the number of subscriptions you have, shop at a cheaper supermarket, or even find the cheapest gas station to try and lower your spending. Once you’re happy you’ve collated all your outgoings, deduct them from your income and that will leave you with how much money you have left over.
Create Your Budget
Now it’s time to actually create your spending plan using all the information you’ve collected. Some people prefer to plan their monthly budget by splitting the month up into 4 weeks, but you can have a total amount you can spend for the whole month. However, it can be easier to look at the month week by week, as it’s easier to stay on track. When creating your plan, you need to make sure that it’s realistic and won’t cause you too much stress. It’s fine to compromise on certain things, but don’t leave yourself short otherwise you’ll find it impossible to stick to. It’s also useful to have a clear goal that you want to reach. For example, if you’re saving up for a holiday or a mortgage, try making a dream board or sticking pictures to your fridge. That way, if you ever find it hard to stick to your budget, you simply have to remind yourself of your target and you’ll realise that your end goal is more important than your feeling to splurge.
A lot of people create spending plans because they want to save money, so if that’s the case with your budget, you need to do so carefully. The best way to save money is by putting small amounts away often. If you put hundreds into your savings account at the beginning of each month, you may find you have to dip back into it to see you up till payday. However, if you put away a little as and when you have it, you’re not going without as it’s money you don’t need. A top tip is to put any money you have left over from your budget at the end of the week. This way you’re able to save efficiently and you won’t be struggling to make it to the end of the month.
Plan Things In Advance
It’s great to create your spending plan for each month, but you shouldn’t forget about the future. If you know you have a trip away coming up in 2 months, try to incorporate it into your budget now, not later. Knowing when and where your money is needed will help you create a realistic budget that actually works with your lifestyle.
Once you’ve created your budget, don’t forget to regularly review it. The spending plan you’ve created won’t last forever and may need updating when your circumstances change. You may get a raise at work, or you may change jobs and get a lower salary. If you don’t update your budget when your lifestyle changes, you run the risk of losing control of your finances. At the end of each month, take some time to double check your budget and make sure that it still aligns with your current situation so you can make any necessary adjustments.
Budgeting can seem like a daunting task, and you may feel like it means the end of all the frivolities that make you happy. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Your budget should include little luxuries like a coffee from your favourite café, you just need to cut down on them or make cuts elsewhere so you can still enjoy it without causing detriment to your spending plan. Once you stick to your budget for a couple of weeks, it will become second nature and you’ll soon be in full control of your finances.