December 13, 2012

How to Get the Most out of a Budgeting Plan

Budgeting is an extremely effective way to take control of where you money goes and reach the savings goals you’re aiming for. It provides structure and simplicity to the saving process.
If you’re wondering how to get started and how to get the most out of your budgeting plan, then read on: it’s simple once you know how.

Monitor Your Current Habits

Before you start structuring your budget, take some time to monitor and assess the way you spend your income. A great way to do this is to keep a diary of all your expenses where you can record details of every purchase or payment.
Ideally, you should do this for a month so that you can accurately capture all your regular monthly expenses as well as day-to-day spending. With this information you can then identify any bad spending habits, areas with room for improvement, and necessities that you’ll have to allow for in your budget. This will give you a great idea of how much you need to budget for certain payments and purchases each month, and how much money you could potentially be saving or putting to better use.

Set Goals

It’s important to set yourself goals when planning your budget. Consider how much you’d like to be saving each month and how much you’d like to be paying off on any debts you might have (it’s great to aim higher than the compulsory payment so you can get rid of your debts faster).

Prepare for the Unexpected

It’s important to remember that no matter how well you budget there’s always the possibility of unforseen expenses blowing out your budget. From car repairs to plumbing emergencies, there are many things that could go wrong and you’ll need a buffer to help you cover the costs. Keep this in mind while budgeting and don’t set yourself up for disaster by cutting it too close.

Leave Some for Yourself

Budgeting is about making your money stretch as far as it can go, but it shouldn’t mean that you have to live uncomfortably. Make sure that you allow room in the budget for things that you enjoy; things like entertainment, dining out or a weekend away here and there. This will ensure that your budget not only provides structure and savings, but happiness too. If sticking to a budget is making you miserable, it’s likely that you’ll stray from it.

Consolidate Your Debts

It’s not a happy sight to see big portions of your budget dedicated to several loan and credit card payments due throughout the month. It’s possible to combine all your payments under a single loan by consolidating your debts. This will mean one manageable monthly payment, and ideally at a lower interest rate overall. With your debts under control it’s much easier to simplify your budget and stick to it. It’s important that you search for a reputable debt consolidation company to help you through the process.

Get Help from a Professional

There are many professional financial services out there who can help with budget planning. A reputable provider will be able to help you assess your personal finances, design a budget that suits you and your lifestyle, and explore any other options that might help you better manage your finances. Fox Symes is Australia’s largest debt help provider and can walk you through the process, from budget planning to helping you maintain a handle on your finances. It’s never too late to get started, and with professional help and support you can go beyond simple income management and really get your money working for you. So, if you haven’t already, get budgeting!

About the author: Tara is a writer from Brisbane, Australia, who covers the topics of business, finance and travel. She recommends that everyone stick to a strict budget so they know exactly where their money is going and then work out where they can save money for more important things.

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