5 Key Ways to Budget Your Money
For any project for school, work, your org, and even for personal use, here’s a list of easier-said-than-done budgeting techniques that have to keep your projects within reasonable means:
Have a specific and fixed budget and stick with it
I know this is a given, and I know you will be too lazy at one point to get into specifics and create a budget plan, but this is important. At the very least, set a 50-30-20 budget plan, where 50% goes to necessary expenses (i.e. food), 30% to savings, and 20% for miscellaneous expenses. Having historical data or an old list of expenses to refer to helps create a more realistic budget plan. Be sure to allot budget for contingency!
Budgeting money can sound theoretical for some, unless seen first-hand - the envelope method is perfect for that (especially if you're a "cash is king" type of spender). Make or buy a couple of envelopes and label each per budget allocation or expense - have a “Rent” envelope, “Lunch money” envelope, “Emergency” envelope, and so on, and divide your total spending budget among the envelopes. This works for both fixed and variable expenses, because you literally set aside your fixed expenses, and physically allocate a budget for your variable expenses. You can practice this every start of the month. What's good about this is that it keeps you in check because you could physically see the envelope get emptier and emptier as days go by. Just be sure to give these envelopes a safe hiding place!
Track your expenses
Tracking expenses is another way to keep you in check - it helps you reevaluate your expenses for the past month (if you need to lessen your spending on clothes or food, for example), and lets you reflect if you’re applying the right budget scheme to your lifestyle.This is particularly useful for projects that have a lot of money on the line, or for everyday living. Having a detailed list of expenses is ideal - because most instances overspending may come from an accumulation of those little unnecessary expenses that “don’t cost a lot naman”. Make an excel sheet or budget apps like Pocket Expense your best friend.
Avoid using credit and debit cards
This is especially if you’re the type that gets carried away with cashless spending. Unless necessary, do your best to pay with cash at all times - just to keep you wary on your monthly expenses. Scheduling your withdrawals also helps lessen the danger of having too much money on-hand. This doesn't mean rule out credit and debit cards altogether, though! We're big fans of rewards and points as much as the next girl. Just be mindful to only swipe within your means. The last thing we want in life is debt.
Don’t spend everything all at once
No matter how tempting it is to go all-out, don’t spend all your money at once. It’s best to lay out certain expenses throughout the year - like scheduling a salon and spa day every quarter or having a designated budget for make-up or clothes purchases monthly. Strive to save your money for bigger dreams like future travels or your own place. Keep yourself liquid, but not to the point of repression. Live within your means and capacities, but also learn to enjoy the fruits of your labor every now and then. Balance is everything.