6 steps to avoid blowing the budget
- Monthly budgeting
Your calendar and your budget go hand in hand. Whatever activities you have coming up over a calendar month are what you need to build into your budget. What bills are due, what events have you scheduled, how many times will you want to eat out? Estimate how much you’ll spend on social activities and build into your budget before the month starts. I’ve got more tips about how I live well on a minimum wage here: How To Travel When You Make No Money.
- Record what you actually spend, not what you estimated you’d spend
Check your receipts, and write down that number, not the rounded down version. If you’re constantly underestimating by $10 you could make it to the end of the month and realise you’ve overspent in the hundreds.
- Check your account regularly
I sign into my bank account most days (it’s an easy to use app on my phone) because I’m often taken by surprise of what comes out. Even with my rigid budgeting, bills can come out much later than you expected or there was a huge card payment charge, and you may misunderstand your cash flow. Your budget and your bank statement will not always align, so you should be checking regularly to make sure everything is as planned.
- Sell what you don’t need
Stay ahead of the game. Need to buy a new dress? Sell your old one that you no longer deem worthy! There are dozens of online Facebook groups to facilitate this, including national groups for those who live in rural areas and will rely on postage only.
- Don’t be afraid to say no
You don’t have to go to every event. Last night there were 5 events I was interested in, but it’s near the end of the month and soon I know I have to pay for Christmas gifts and travel insurance, so I stayed home and cooked myself an awesome dinner!
- Talk yourself out of purchases
Do I actually, truly, genuinely need this? Can I wait until next month to buy it? Do I already own something I can use instead, or can I just borrow this item? Is there something else I can sell to afford this instead? I list the 10 questions I’ve taught myself to ask before buying something in this post: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy It.
Staying in udget can be really simple once you’ve made the commitment to yourself. If you care about your money goals, you’ll get it done. I believe in you!