How we're beating that boring budget..

While we’ve been building Sharesies we’ve been interviewing heaps of people and asking them questions about how they manage their money. Two key themes have come up:

  1. It’s awkward to talk about money, so we don’t (and that’s even without talking about specific amounts).
  2. People feel like they’re not being as smart as they can with their money (linked to the first point).

I totally relate and feel the same awkwardness and unease as the two points above. Even though I consider myself to be a pretty financially savvy person—I’ve studied finance and managed large savings and investment portfolios.

There are so many ways to be better with money—we all know it, but we rarely take the time to put it into action. Or we may have a burst of energy, typically around New Year resolution time but after a week or so, we lose interest.

                                   How one of my friends tries to beat her budget ;)

                                  How one of my friends tries to beat her budget ;)

Count that daily dough

So here is what my husband & I do. We give ourselves a daily spending amount. This allows me to still enjoy myself while also being proud when I ‘save’ each day. This is even more important now I’m full-time growing a start-up, and have said goodbye to my full-time salary for a while.

In order to save I focus on reducing my discretionary spending. We have our bills well managed so we know there isn’t too much wriggle room for us to save on them. The best place to save is in our daily spending habits. I’m trying to be more conscious of how and when I spend money while still maintaining a similar lifestyle (being social, eating well & drinking too much tea). Basically I want it all—but I know that saving is going to be much easier and work way harder for me if I’m onto it now—that way I can have it all in the future too.

Ways we’ve dropped spending

  1. We use My Foodbag. It helps us predict our food expenses and we get lunch & fruit out of it too. So we only need to go to supermarket to buy breakfast, extras and household items. Talking about supermarkets….
  2. I don’t go to the Supermarket—even I have noticed our shopping bill is much higher when I do the shop compared to when my husband goes. He sticks to the list, I peruse the aisles.
  3. When catching up with friends, meeting them at their or our house or going for a walk instead of a cafe saves coin! Also you get some really good quality time and exercise too.
  4. When I buy my “smashed avocado” on the weekend I have realised I don’t need the side of mushrooms and bacon as well.
  5. I’ve cut back on my impulsive clothes shopping, I don’t wander the shops by myself so much anymore as I know I am far more likely to walk out with something I don’t need!

Steps we take to manage our spending

Warning: it’s rather handrolic but works for us to keep a close eye on our spending. I’m sure there is, or will be, an app for this.

1) Set a daily allowance.

Work out how much you need to spend a week on:

  • Food
  • Power
  • Rent/ mortgage
  • Insurance
  • Internet
  • Personal items
  • Medical
  • House expenses (toilet paper etc)
  • Other bills
                                      Just an example

                                     Just an example

Take your income and minus total expenses.

From the amount left over, determine how much you want to save and how much you can have for spending (i.e. impulsive brunches with friends, coffees, movies, dining, travel, entertainment etc).

2) Now divide your spending amount into number of days—that is the amount you’re able to spend each day.

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3) Tally up your spend at the end of the day.

That means at the end of every day checking your banking app and adding in the transactions.

  • If you overspent, minus that from the next days spending amount.
  • If you spent less, you add that to the next day.
brooke4.png

We use a spreadsheet—here is a rough and ready template—it’s view only so just click ‘file’ then ‘make a copy…’ to create your own (just make sure you’re signed in).

Just remember

Know your weakness

If your weakness is your daily spending habits like me, then this trick may help you.

If your expenses are more than your income then this approach won’t work.

I’d suggest looking at your expenses and seeing what changes you can make to get back into the positive. Sorted.org.nz have some cool tips and tricks too.

If you just can’t be bothered thinking about it—I know the feeling but honestly once you create a habit—it is super simple & easy (sort of).

Do you think you have a legit way of managing your money that works for you? If so, please share by commenting below.

 

P.S. This is not financial advice—just insight into what I do. If you need advice chat to an AFA or visit sorted.org.nz for more budgeting tips and tricks.