Personal Budgeting Guide
Useful Tips and Hints
- Set rules and stick to them.
- Buy the items that you use everyday in bulk.
- Look out for specials and compare prices.
- Don't spend money you don't have. Pay cash if you can, rather than buying on credit.
- Reduce costs by cutting out luxuries.
- Prepare a grocery shopping list before you go to the store.
- Consolidate your debt and reduce installments.
- Involve your family in preparing a budget.
Seeking Further Help
There are debt counseling services that can assist with debt management and financial advice. It is advisable to seek the help of a debt counselor when you are facing financial difficulties.
Preparing a personal budget is simply allocating your income to cover all of your monthly expenses. Developing a budget is smart and will hopefully allow you to pay your monthly expenses and have money left over for savings.
If you have never formally budgeted your income, we hope you take this opportunity to develop a budget that will reduce your stress and allow you to purchase the things you need. Before identifying what you spend your money on, take a few minutes to fill in the following table outlining your net monthly income.
Steps to Making a Monthly Budget
For many, monthly budgeting appears to be a complicated task too overwhelming even to attempt. Below you'll find a step-by-step description of how to make a budget you can live with:
- Be honest. Don't try to make your budget a 'look good'. The budget is for you, so be honest with yourself.
- List your expected income for the coming month.
- Estimate your expenses for the coming month.
- Keep track of your actual spending, even if it's just R3.00 for a pack of gum.
- Analyse your spending habits.
- Set goals on how to bring excessive spending under control.
- Compare your actual spending with your budgeted spending.
- Consider adjusting either your budget or your lifestyle to save money.
Benefits of Budgeting
If you budget your money and plan your spending, you will be much more likely to:
- Avoid excessive debt.
- Build emergency and long-term savings accounts.
- Take care of financial priorities such as housing, food, and transportation, rather than unnecessary spending on entertainment and dining out.
- Feel in control of your finances.
- Establish regular saving habits.
- Understand your personal spending habits and avoid wasting your hard earned cash.
- Prevent many of the arguments spouses have with regards to spending.
- Settle debts and accounts.
- Avoid penalties and fines on overdue bills.