When it comes to budgeting, I like to break it into two main elements:
- The forecasting
- The tracking
The difference between the two?
- This is the bit you do before you get paid in preparation for the month ahead.
- It is an overview of your finances – a snapshot view of how your month is going to
- Helps you prepare for the month
- Taking a look at what is coming in and what is going to make sure you are living within your means
- This is the bit you do throughout the month once you’ve been paid and you’re spending your money.
- Make sure you are sticking to the budgets you have set yourself in the forecast
- It keeps you from borrowing money, going onto a credit card or sneakily ~borrowing~ from your savings (as if you are ever going to give it back…)
It is important to remember whatever bit of your financial journey you are at; just starting out or way further down the line… it is important you track your money as you go along.
- It gives you full transparency on where you money is going
- You learn what your spending habits are, how much you spend on average in each category (e.g. groceries, travel, eating out etc.)
There will be no more “oh I don’t know where my money went this month….” Because you have tracked it. So you know exactly where your money is going.
It allows you to review your spending, see if there is any room for improvement, or cutbacks, or change in habits.
Have two separate bank accounts!
- A bills account – where your wages get paid into and your bills and direct debits come out.
- A spending account – where you put your monthly spending money to buy food, pay for travel etc.
Keeping them separate removes the worry of working out (every time you look in your bank account) what money is for which bill and how much is your money to freely spend.
If you leave the correct amount of money in your current account for those bills, then there is no worry as to whether those bills are going to be paid! And no worry about accidentally spending the money for your rent on a last-minute flight to Ibiza.