Getting your finances in tip-top shape is a big part of the MNB way of life. Reducing the stress relating to money will give you so many more opportunities to do what is best for your health and happiness! But where do you start when it comes to managing your finances? Creating a budget of course! If the very thought of a budget makes you want to run for the hills, here are some tips on how to create one that works for you and even more importantly, how to stick to it!
Make friends with spreadsheets
My favourite budgeting tool is Microsoft Excel because it’s easy to use, and once you’ve created your budget for a month, you can simply copy the items and formulas to create a budget for the entire year. The same template can then be used for the following year. Sound too hard? Check out your bank’s website and ASIC’s MoneySmart for free online budgeting tools.
Include the non-negotiables
The easiest way to create your budget for the first time is to look at what your monthly income and expenditure has been in the past, based on your bank account and credit card statements. It’s best to look at a period of twelve months so that you can identify income and expenses that occur on a one-off or sporadic basis during the year, such as your car registration and insurance premiums.
For each month, include separate line items in your budget for the regular, non-negotiable items, including wages/income and payments for rent, mortgage and car repayments, private health insurance, telephone, internet, electricity, gym membership, car registration and insurance, etc.
Do you get paid weekly or fortnightly? In this case, it can be helpful to create a weekly or fortnightly budget to help identify in which weeks your expenses may be greater than your income. That way you will know which weeks you need to set aside funds for expenses to be paid the following week.
Once you have included the non-negotiable items in your budget, you will then be able to calculate what funds are available each month to spend on meals, entertainment and discretionary items (hello new activewear!).
Decide on your savings goals
Are you planning for a big holiday or a house deposit? Make saving a certain amount of money another non-negotiable item in your budget. Once you have calculated what funds are left at the end of each month, it will be much easier to work out a realistic savings plan that you can stick to.
So what are you waiting for? Budgeting does not have to be difficult if you make it work for you. Creating a budget will not only take away financial stress, but it will also have you well on your way to saving for that overseas trip, house deposit, and of course some new Lorna Jane outfits to help motivate you to achieve your fitness goals!
Amanda is on a mission to inspire professional women to be their happiest and healthiest self. An accountant in the busy corporate world, Amanda knows first-hand the challenges women face to prioritise their wellbeing and she is passionate about changing this mindset. Amanda proudly admits that she is a Lorna Jane addict and is dedicated to the Move Nourish Believe philosophy. She loves homemade Kombucha, Bikram yoga and lifting weights at the gym.