Let me start by saying I am no budget expert! I have been budgeting for over 10 years yes, but sticking to it… I find that a struggle. That is what kind of bought on my interest in budgeting actually! I have not been sticking to my budget and I have not been successful this year in any of my saving goals. That is why I decided to start my Race to $5000 challenge and how I ended up writing this blog post. I have just finished the first week of the challenge and that involved a deep dive into my own budget and a review of where I may be going wrong! After a few days and many hours, I have found, I have a good set up, but a few areas just need a little tweak… one of those being my mindset!
If you are finding yourself a little unsure on this whole budget thing, don’t worry! I’ve made a list of the top 5 ways I am going to boost my budget!
A friend of mine explained the whole ‘multiple bank accounts’ set up to me a while ago now and I have continued using the method since! Its a pretty simple set up and if you are clever you can even automate all of your transfers and bills! The basic idea is that you set up multiple bank accounts that serve different functions.
Below is a quick run down of my set up (hover over each account to see what I use it for):
The next step is to figure out how much money you need to put in each account. For the bills account I used a spreadsheet and took note of every single bill that I pay, I then figured out the exact amount I would need to transfer into the bills account each fortnight so I am covered whenever a new bill comes in (the first few times I added a little extra into the account as a buffer). Once you have figured out how much money you need to transfer each pay, it’s time to set up the automation! Get your bills set up so they can direct debit from this account, then you no longer need to stress if you remembered to pay that bill! The more transfers and bills you can set up as automatic the better, but make sure you get this right… if you don’t set your dates right it can be a bit of a mess!
The best thing I did was start using a budgeting app! I downloaded Pocketbook earlier this year and have been pottering away, categorising up a storm ever since! It doesn’t really get how my joint account works… But I just left that account off and just manage whatever is in my personal accounts. I have tried a few different ones, Money Brilliant, Pocketbook and a few others, however Pocketbook works best for me! It seemed to be the one that was able to guess my categories the quickest.
This is where the app comes in handy! Once all of the necessary accounts were attached and I had categorised the stragglers (any purchases that were unrecognised), I started to analyse which areas I was spending the most in (health & beauty – thanks braces)… What I noticed when I started this was that in some areas, I always stayed in budget… but in others I am always waaaaay over (hello food & dining / entertainment). Being aware of my spending is going to be so helpful on this little saving challenge of mine and is a great way to see where your money goes and adjust your budget and spending habits! What I noticed from reviewing my Food & Dining spending, was that I eat a lot of take away lunches and dinners. This is now an area that I can focus on improving, which in turn may help me stay on track with my budget!
I feel like in every area of life, it always comes to this! What do you want, like what do you REALLY want? What are your priorities, do you know? It may be time to set yourself some money goals! I spent some time last week working through a list of what I actually want money for and have now set my priorities in order! Before figuring out my priorities and setting my money goals, I took some time to look at my personal values and align these with my life goals, then after looking at my life goals I figured out the money side of them. Then decided which needed to be my priority.
This is currently where I struggle the most with my budget… keeping myself accountable! I have been looking at different ways I may be able to improve on this and have found quite a few fun ideas to help me stay on track… and even have a bit of fun with it at the same time! They say to get yourself an accountability partner when you start a new workout program at the gym… So why can’t you do the same for your saving goals! Find a friend that you trust, talk about your goals with them and let them know your plan, then check in with once a week or each pay, having someone else to celebrate your wins with and to feel accountable to will do wonders, you could even plan spend free activities together to keep you on track! Another option could be to start or create a money focused challenge (this is how I have decided to stay on top of my current saving goal). Another cool idea I have seen on Instagram is having a specific saving or paying off debt account! Both of these are great ways to keep yourself on track and find your own little community to keep you motivated and accountable.
As I have said before, I am no budgeting expert, however I have (or am trying) all of these steps myself and so far I am finding them extremely helpful. I think the key take away that I have (and have only just started realising myself) is budgeting and paying off debt does not have to be a negative experience… and if it is, it may be time to take a look at your money mindset and instead of viewing the whole thing as a chore, start having a little bit of fun with it!
Why not check out the book I am using to get my money mindset straight – You are a bad ass at making money by Jen Sincero
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