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How to make a budget (and stick to it)

26 February 2021 | 4 min read

Got plans to buy something big?

A car? A holiday? A house?

When it comes to these big buys, the last thing you want to do is the first thing you need to do.

Budget.

Budgeting is like trying to eat a healthy diet. You know it’s good for you. You know it will help you achieve your goals. But it’s hard work to stay on track. 

Just like eating well, budgeting takes discipline, commitment and planning.

Without these elements, you’ll inevitably have a blow-out, indulging yourself in the financial equivalent of a KFC bucket.

So, let’s look at what you can do to stay the budgetary course.

Know your why

We discussed this important point when we looked at some of the ways you can improve your financial wellbeing’

Knowing your 'why' is just as relevant when it comes to budgeting.

Take your time. You might discover what you thought you wanted isn’t so important after all.

Take care of the little things

Like small debts, small purchases add up fast.

Pore over your statement to find out just how much you’ve spent on a movie here, a new subscription there, a coffee here, there and everywhere.

It’s tedious, but look at it like you’re getting paid to do this work. If you change your spending habits, consider the money you’ll save as your extra payday.

Deal or no deal

Phone plans, internet plans, subscription services.

The list of payments taken from your account each month can run into double-figures, while the impact on your balance can run into triple-figures.

Are you getting the best deal? Check the comparison sites and explore your options.

Do you need that subscription? Which streaming service is collecting virtual cobwebs?

These are quick wins for your bottom line.

No-spend challenge

What could be more fun?

But seriously, setting yourself a challenge like going a week without the non-essentials won’t just improve your bank balance, it could open your eyes to your saving power.

Grocery shop online

Ever noticed how supermarkets place essential items like bread and milk towards the back of the store?

That’s no accident.

Supermarkets are designed to keep you shopping, passing through long aisles of high-margin discretionary products before you get to what you came for.

And have you ever heard better advice than ‘Never shop when you’re hungry’?

Buying your groceries online helps you stay focussed on what you need and removes the ever-present temptations of shopping in-store.

Save what you save

This goes without saying, but it’s worth saying anyway.

You’ve taken the time to find ways to cut back. You’ve switched service providers, bought cheaper brands and you’re making your second, third and fourth coffees at home.

So, what will you do with those extra few dollars a week?

Open a savings account and make sure you have internet banking access to it. 

When you choose something cheaper, or choose not to buy at all, transfer the money you would have spent into your savings account.

The more you see your savings grow the more motivation you’ll have.

And remember why you’re making these small sacrifices in the first place.

Use a budget planner

An online budget planner is a fantastic, free resource to use.

It prompts you for detailed information about your income and expenses so you can gain an accurate picture of where you’re at now, and areas you can improve in.

As your circumstances change, revisit your budget so it can change too.

It can be hard to imagine achieving a big savings goal through small changes to your spending habits.

But it’s through small changes that big goals are reached, financial or otherwise.

It’s not quick, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

 

ANY ADVICE PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE IS OF A GENERAL NATURE ONLY AND DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS, OBJECTIVES AND FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER WHETHER IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR SITUATION. PLEASE READ THE APPLICABLE PRODUCT DISCLOSURE STATEMENT(S) ON OUR WEBSITE BEFORE ACQUIRING ANY PRODUCT.

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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. Any advice provided on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal needs, objectives and financial circumstances. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation. Please read the applicable Disclosure Documents before acquiring any product described on this website. Please also review our Financial Services Guide (FSG) before accessing information on this website. Information on this page can change without notice to you.

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