Are you in control of your finances? Or, like many of us, are your finances more like an out of control toddler… constantly surprising you, getting destructive (and dipping into your overdraw), taking more than their fair share, and refusing to bow down to your requests no matter what you try?

If this sounds familiar you’ve probably tried to budget before, and found it all too hard. So how can you finally take the step to pull your head out of the sand, and consciously decide where your money goes?

Get honest

Your last budget probably listed all the regular big bills that you know off the top of your head. Things like the rent or mortgage, phone bills, cable TV, or school fees. But where budgets often fail us is with the irregular spending.

Car registration that we pay once a year, electricity or rates that might come quarterly, eating out, grabbing a coffee, picking up a new pair of shoes when your fall apart, or a doctors appointment.

There are free budgeting apps, and also your bank itself may offer budgeting tools that allow you to categorise your purchases that you have made. If you put in the time at the start to get an honest evaluation of your spending habits you are far more likely to set yourself realistic spend limits… and then be able to stick to them.

Re-evaluate your spending habits

If you’ve looked at your real life spending history, and found that your income just isn’t high enough to cover expenses as well as reach your savings goals, it’s time to rethink your spending habits.

You have two options- reduce spending, or increase income. If your income is absolutely set in stone, then check your spending habits. Where could you save money, and more importantly what will you do with the money you save.

Having a really compelling reason to save will make it much more likely that you will be happy to stick to a budget that requires you to make some sacrifices. Scuba diving on the pristine reefs of Indonesia vs. takeaway dinners three times a week… it’s all about what matters more to you.

Let the past go

Just because you haven’t been great with money in the past doesn’t mean that this is set in stone. Managing your money is a learned skill, and the more you practice the better you get at it. So what is it that you are dying to get your hot little hands on?

A plane ticket? New tech? Renovating your home? The wedding of your dreams? If your reason for managing your money is just beyond exciting, saving for it will become a joy!

Need extra help with your budget? Check out the ASIS Moneysmart Budget guide here.

 

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