Budget. It’s a scary word, isn’t it? It conjures up images of dull speeches, or worse, an empty wallet. Harsh.
But it doesn’t have to be so full of dread. Running a tight ship doesn’t need to mean living on noodles and cheese slices at the end of each month (unless you’re into that sort of thing).
With the right approach, you can manage your own finances and afford crackers to accompany your cheese board. Here’s how.
Cut Back on Un-Necessities
When it comes to keeping a tight hold of your budget, differentiating between needs and wants is an unfortunate reality. Sadface. You want to buy the new iPhone 6S, but you need to pay off this month’s car rego. It sucks, I know, and I hear the iPhone 6S isn’t going to bend this time… So do what you know is right and pay your needs before indulging any wants.
Set Some Modest Goals
Maintaining a realistic goal that you save towards month to month can make an incredible difference to your budget. So open up a savings account and deposit a bit of cash each time you go to pay the bills. It may not be fun, but it’ll be extra special when you finally do buy that new phone and don’t have the Ghosts of Debts Past hanging over your head.
Play By The Rules
Using the 50/20/30 rule is useful to keep your expenses in check. This rule splits spending into three areas: 50 per cent goes on fixed costs (bills and essential expenses), 20 per cent towards your financial goals (paying off credit card debt, adding to your super and an emergency fund), and 30 per cent is for flexible expenses (petrol, entertainment and hobbies).
Frugality… It’s What’s For Dinner
As tempting and yummy as it is, ordering take-away every second night munches a big hole in your budget. Whereas buying up big in fresh fruit, veggies and other basics like bread, milk, rice and deli meats can go long way towards patching your financial leaks. So listen to your mum and practice home economics.
Get a Helping Hand
You might be eligible to a whole lot of benefits you’re not aware of. If you receive Austudy, Newstart or Youth Allowance, you might qualify for things like study support and rental assistance. Looking into scholarships and awards can also help to alleviate costs, so go to the Human Services websites to see if they’re holding a bonus with your name on it.
It’s never easy sticking to a budget, but it’s definitely worth it. You’ll finally feel like a real adult; independent, free and able to say the word ‘budget’ without feeling sick.
And, most importantly, you’ll be setting yourself up for a financially fulfilling future.