“Budget” is just a single word, but to many it’s the scariest. There is a misconception especially among the millennial community, that budgeting is for people who are stingy and don’t have a notion to enjoy life. I presume this thought usually comes up from spendthrifts in our community. And I defy that! This is just a misinterpretation. And in my post today, I am going to tarnish this misconception by giving you some of my most practical tips to have a stress free budget.
Before we begin, this post is applicable for anyone and does not restrict to a specific community or a country
So, let’s commence!
Also, please have a notebook and a pen with you handy, to practice these tips. An excel sheet would also do the trick.
(I) Determine your income
This is the preliminary step to anything that you’re targeting for, be it savings or creating your household budget. I have often seen people not being aware of what they earn and in contrast, they live a lavish lifestyle. This is something that is not necessary, and they just do it to satisfy their desire. So, the first thing that you need to do is look end to end of your pay slip and determine your monthly income. Make sure that you take a note of this and this income value, let’s say “X” should be on your mind at all times.
(ii) Divide your income into cash and e-cash mode
For this step, take a sheet of paper and make two columns. On one column, make the heading as expenses to be made in cash and other the one expenses in e-cash. Take some time to introspect, and think your list of expenses that comes up in the beginning of the month. For example, let’s say newspapers, milk and maid expenses etc... Needs to be paid in cash while in other column home loan EMI , student loan EMI, Online grocery etc…needs to be done in smart money etc…
Ensure that the former is kept as “A” and the latter is kept as “B”. So,ideally,your expenses should be like
Total Expenses per month = A + B
Do this step in the first day of every month and have the liquefied amount with you and ensure that you pay off your expense list within 5 days of the beginning of the month. Allot a separate day for payments and finish everything off on the same day. Do this and let me know how relieved you feel?
Now that you are aware of your income, and having believed that you have paid off your expenses in the very beginning. This is the most crucial step of how you handle your money. And, this is where the game completely changes. I personally follow the 60-40 rule, but if you are someone who is very new to budgeting, I would suggest you split the above up into 60-30-10 rule. The 60-40 rule is where your income is split into 60% and 40%.60% of your income should go to covering up expenses and 40% of your income should go directly into savings.60-30-10 rule is the same as above except 10% can be utilized for leisure experiences. I will get into this in detail towards the next section.
With the uncertainty times, that has hit us like a huge tidal wave, it is best to have an emergency fund in the very beginning. If you want to know what an EF is, I have a whole blog post, just dedicated to that.
Also, an alternate method of savings would be investing in mutual funds, having a fixed deposit or a recurring deposit etc…(Do let me know if you want to know my methodologies that I follow for savings and I would be happy to make a dedicated blog post on the same )
Also, I would like to add that lifestyle jumps is something which I never encourage, but at the same time, if you are looking to travel abroad for vacation or so, have a separate account and save some money to reach that goal within your time frame
(iv) Have limits on leisure spends
By this section, you would have come to a conclusion, that I am a completely stingy woman. And I beg to defer, because I am not!! I am one of those people who spends tons of cash on dining out and I have made a huge hole in my pocket not by dining out with family or friends, but just by eating alone. And if some of my readers here are close to me, I think you know how much of a foodie I am.Any new restaurant pops up in the city, I would be one of the very few who would try the cuisine out, as soon as they have opened. Having said that, I follow a particular strategy that allows me to take these kinds of pleasure breaks in between.
So, what I follow is, I allot myself a specific amount just for leisure. Let’s say, I take away 3k from my salary just for dining out, 2k for shopping and 2k for any expense that happens out of the blue.
This is the limit that I have set for myself and I make it a point to be well within this limit and not to finish off the entire amount in one go. In this way, when I am making a spend, I won’t feel guilty, because I am very aware of my limits.
So there you have it guys!!
These are some of my personalized tips that I have made wonders to me and I am sure they will make a huge difference to your lifestyle, once you start implementing them. It might be tough to stick on to them at first, but trust me, it will be easier in the long run. I hope you’ll follow this method in the months to come
Do let me know, as to what are some of your budgeting hacks are, in the comments section down below.