If you’re not sure where your money goes every week, it might be good to know that plenty of people feel the same way.
A budget helps you live within your means. It keeps track of the money you regularly earn and spend (rent, food, bills) and your disposable income – the money you spend on things you like.
- Start with small, achievable goals that will keep you motivated
- Pay your rent and other bills first before spending money on anything else
- Make a list of what needs to be paid for on payday and stick to it
- Before you buy, shop around and compare prices
- Allow for unexpected expenses
- Learn to say ‘no’ if you can’t afford it
Set realistic goals
A budget shows you exactly where your money’s coming from and where you’re spending it. Your budget may also show you where you might be able to cut your spending and save more.
Working out the right budget takes fine-tuning. Sometimes you’ll underestimate what things cost or have to allow for an emergency. It’s all about finding the right balance.
You also don’t have to go without. In fact, if you want your budget to be successful, make sure you give yourself the occasional treat, such as buying lunch on Fridays
Once you’ve created your budget, monitor it for a few months to see if you’re on track. You may need to make some changes if you discover your real world expenses are more or less than expected.
The MoneySmart website offers tips on budgeting, managing bills, getting out of debt, saving money, and living on a low income.
You can also call their free counselling service on 1800 149 689.