If you do not know how to budget correctly, you’re going to find yourself asking why you’ve got no money left. Do you really want to be the one to sit at home while all of your mates are out in town? If you don’t manage your money effectively, this is what could happen! When you are older, poor money management can mean no food on the table or no money to repair your car. It’s a situation no one wants to be in!
Making a simple budget
It’s not that difficult, promise…
The first thing you need to do is know how to use a spreadsheet. Don’t panic, you don’t need to be an Excel master – knowing how to make a simple spreadsheet is sufficient. Apart from inputting figures, using the ‘sum’ button will be handy, allowing you to calculate everything in one column.
After this, make a list of what you spend each month. This includes everything from bills to buying the latest Xbox game or some new makeup. You should split this into three columns, the amount spent, what you spent it on, and where you spent it. This is a good way to see if you are wasting money.
Sort your expenses into categories. This includes everything from food and utilities to entertainment and car expenses. You will then use this when devising your budget for the month ahead.
Now, make a new spreadsheet. This is going to be your actual budget for the month ahead. The former was to give you some clarity regarding your spending habits. You need to have four columns – the first is for your categories, then what you spent last month, your spending target for this month, and finally what you actually spend this month. At the bottom, you need sections for how much you made last month, how much you’re planning to make this month, and how much you actually made. If you are on a set wage, this will be easy.
Do some calculations. You will need to subtract all of your expenses from your income. This will allow you to see if you are overspending. This is likely to be the case for your first budget. So, go back and see where you can afford to make savings. For example, maybe you spend too much money on clothing! You can then set realistic targets and fill in the blanks on your spreadsheet.
Don’t spend your entire income every month – this is a critical piece of advice. Just because you have ‘x’ amount, does not mean you should spend it all. Of course, it is important to have savings, but you also need to plan for any unexpected expenses. What if your car breaks, for example?
If you budget, and this doesn’t work, you need to figure out where your money is going. Are you spending more than you earn? Do you spend money on gambling? It can be hard to feel like no one knows how to help someone with a gambling addiction, but there is plenty of help available. Maybe you have debts and they are too high to fix with a simple budget? There is always help available!
Hopefully, this guide has been of use when it comes to making a budget and ensuring you have money left.