The world of finance can be tricky to navigate. However, just like when you’re learning a new language, it’s important to start with the basics. The A, B, C’s of great financial health start with learning the art of budgeting.
When you were small, you might have received a small amount that you called ‘pocket money’. Before spending your money, you’d plan how much you would spend on buying chocolates from the local kaka shop, how much it would cost to go to the cinema, and how much you could save so that you could buy chocolates whenever your sweet tooth started tingling.
Without you realising it, you were budgeting and making wise decisions with your money.
Why should I budget?
If you feel as though your salary is too small for you to do all of the things you love, it may be because you’re not using the amount in the best way. Budgeting allows you to keep track of your spending habits so you can use your salary more efficiently. It gives you a clearer picture of how to plan your spending in the future and make the most of your finances.
Anyone can budget, but a few people know how to budget well. Let’s dive into the key tips you need to know to elevate your budgeting skills.
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1. Write down the ‘Why’.
You may have different goals and a lack of motivation can kill your drive to reach your goal. Before you start budgeting, write down why you want to budget in the first place. Whether it’s to save cash, buy something you need or simply to make smarter spending choices, identifying why you want to save is the first step towards reaching your goal.
2. Create your budget before the month starts
Planning your budget before the month begins gives you a head start on the days ahead. You can plan how you want to spend your income before it even arrives. Start by listing down your necessities such as your food, transport, rent and utilities before moving on to your recreational activities like eating out or going on trips. It can take time to budget correctly, so don’t be worried if you run out of cash. You can always get an easy online loan from an online loan app in case your budget is too tight.
3. Give yourself buffer room
Every month is different and the biggest budgeting mistake newbies make is not leaving room for surprises. Budgeting down to the last rupee can leave you struggling when emergencies pop. Instead, set aside a minimal amount to use in case of a rainy day. Keep in mind that this money should not be part of your savings but should be placed under expenditures. If you find yourself in a situation where you need cash urgently, you can lean on online loan services that disburse funds without much paperwork. Online loan apps offer small loans in case you need extra cash at the end of the month as well as bigger loans. Don’t forget to add the repayment of the loan to your budget for the next month so you can repay it on time.
4. Track your spending
For successful budgeting, tracking your spending is the most important way to reach your goal. It can be easy to overspend because of small expenditures that aren’t even on your radar. Shelling out an extra 20 rupees on an auto ride instead of taking the metro, or ordering in food because of ‘discounts’ can all add up to bigger amounts without you realising it. Even if you’re buying a small chocolate bar, note it down as an expense. You can use an excel sheet, a small notebook or one of the free cash tracking apps that are available online.
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5. Shop Smart
Shopping smartly can transform your spending habits and allow you to save without you doing too much. To truly get the bang for your buck, check out online stores where you can avail of seasonal discounts as well as cashbacks. Diwali and Christmas offer some of the biggest discounts of the year and this is the perfect time to do your shopping. Pair online discounts with discounts from other apps to get the lowest possible price. KreditBee’s easy online loans allow you to shop across big brands with an additional discount for you to benefit. This way, you can purchase household items or electronic gadgets at half the price using an online loan app. During the festive season, there is also a discount on loan processing fees offered by online loan services.
To Wrap Up
Don’t be afraid to adjust your budget. Nobody is perfect and it can be difficult to begin a new habit perfectly on your first shot. Check in on your budget mid-month to see how much you’ve saved or if you’ve exceeded your planned amount. If you have managed to save more than expected, don’t spend the additional amount, but add it to your savings or your rainy day fund. Revisiting your budget will also help you refresh your goals and boost your motivation.
The best way to grow your financial health is consistency and dedication. Over time, you’ll be surprised to see how much you have learnt and how well you are managing your money.