Being paid monthly can be tough. While it feels like you have lots of money that first week, it can quickly be spent, and leave you living on beans by month end. But I’ve discovered 5 simple things you can do to help you manage your monthly budget, and come out with savings at the end.
1. Pay yourself first.
What do I mean by this? How much can you really afford to save? For the rainy day, the holiday you’ve always wanted to go on, or a deposit for a house? If you don’t wrangle your monthly budget to allow for saving, you are putting yourself last. Some people have a rule of 10% of your monthly earnings. But make your own rule – you might be able to save more. Whatever it is, decide the amount and have it automatically deducted into a high interest savings account the DAY you get paid. And then forget about it. It’s that easy.
2. Look at your calendar and plan your expenses based on what you are doing.
If you know you have an event, outing or family occasion thats going to cost, budget that in. That means spending less on other things, unless you want to go into debt (which believe me, you don’t want to.) Plan your budget based on your monthly activity and make sure you set aside enough to pay for it – and don’t get sucked into unexpected purchases. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. If you keep making these good decisions you are ultimately buying your way to financial freedom.
3. Set aside monthly amounts for your quarterly bills – electricity, gas, etc.
These are the expenses that usually blow our budget when they roll in. If you are setting aside the amount divided by 3 each month, you have the money ready when its time to pay. And make sure you pay by direct debit so you can get the pay on time discount – it can be significant. Use a seperate bills bank account if you can – then you are never tempted to spend it once it’s set aside. Have the direct debit come from that account.
4. Try at least one side hustle every month.
What do I mean by that? Find another way to make money outside your main source of income. It could be selling something you don’t use on gumtree, or a bit of baby sitting on the side. There are thousands of ways to side hustle – why not think about driving an uber? It’s easier to get ahead if you can bring a little something extra in each month.
5. Eat in more.
I know this is hard. While it might feel tempting to grab takeaway when you are flat out and tired, it always costs more. If you can cook some meals on the weekend and freeze them during the week, it makes it so much easier to eat at home when you are time and energy poor. Plan ahead to save yourself money – and set in advance what you would like to spend on eating out – that way it is budgeted in.
None of these tips are difficult. The one thing they all have in common however, is the ability to look ahead, and plan. Its the planning and pre-preparation that allows you to have success, whether it be a budget, an eating plan, or to be honest, your life!
Once you start getting in the habit, it will start to become second nature. Force yourself to try these habits over a couple of months and see if they work. Your new-found discipline will help you reap the rewards of financial freedom over time, and thats worth planning for!
Vanessa Stoykov has spent the last 24 years in financial services working with some of the best investment experts in the world. She believes most people need to unlearn what they know about money to get ahead.
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