The more important part to any good financial plan is getting your budget in check!
I have put together a step by step outline and a tool to make this process as easy as possible.
Step 2 – Last year
Now, using the “Last Year” Sheet enter in what you spent LAST YEAR.
This stage is all about gathering your historical expenses - the better the information, the better your outcome here. Remember Garbage In - Garbage Out. Spend a bit more time getting the right data and you’ll have more success.
We recommended either going through your bank statements to get ACTUAL spending, don’t just guess. Even easier – use a budgeting app (some banks have them built into your online login).
We will soon be officially launching our new Lime MyProsperity App,which can collate your expenses and give you an overview of where your money is going.
a. Fixed Expenses – Last year
This is the easy part and usually where most people stop and think “I have a budget’.
Fixed expenses include Rent/Mortgage, Bills, Insurances, Rego, Gym memberships etc – Anything that is consistent, and generally on Direct Debit.
b. Variable/Discretionary expenses – Last year
This step is a bit trickier as you will work out what you have spent on the irregular costs of living.
This is where having good data to work from really helps, but if you don't, be honest with yourself as to what you have spent on discretionary items.
What do you want to use your money for?
This is so important because this is the big picture. You should be able to find a balance between living now and setting up for the future.
Save for a holiday?
Now add in your NET income – that is what hits your bank account.
You should now have a good picture of your last 12 months of living expenses.
Are you in surplus or deficit?
Does this look right to you?
Review, then move onto step 3
Step 3 – Next Year
Go to the NEXT YEAR Tab and now go through your budget which should have populated the information from your LAST YEAR.
Work through each of the above sections, cutting back and reallocating as needed to tidy up your budget for your next 12 months - ensuring everything has been allocated or spent.
This is important – even it if is just allocated to SAVINGS, you should ensure you have accounted for all your money.
This is extremely personal, and really comes down to what is important to you .
You should now have a good idea of where your money was going, and where it should be going.
The key things to look out for here
Did you have to compromise? When you do, you will appreciate the things you spend money on so much more, having had to give up another expense to achieve that goal.
Have you given yourself some guilt free money or an allowance? IF you don’t reward yourself for working hard, your budget is far more likely to fall to pieces.
Were you honest? Is that an accurate representation? Cheating on your budget is just cheating yourself.
Did you push hard enough? If you have a large surplus – what will you do with it? Could you budget better and achieve more.
Cash Flow Challenge:
If you are in a working couple, can you live on just one income? The other income can then be actively allocated towards buying things you love, putting more into savings, or investing!
This approach is good for risk management ensuring you are not wholly reliant on both of you working and gives you the ability to significantly improve your situation! This won’t work in all circumstances, but can be a good benchmark .
Now you have a budget – what is next?
Next month I will run through how to automate your budget and saving you time and improving your success!
If you would like more help with your budget right now - get in touch and we can help you out.