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Money and debt is a HUGE problem everywhere right now. Every time I think of money and budgeting I think of Carrie from Sex & The City. Charging tomatoes and constantly overspending on shoes seemed funny watching it. But when you’re the one with a closest of shoes and a $0 budget for everything else, suddenly it’s not so fun anymore (I seriously don’t know how she afforded all those cocktails!).
This strategy is the simple way I manage my money. It has helped me to stop overspending and taught me the value in saving for things I wanted. I also loved the simplicity of it. Once you set this up, you don’t have to touch it until the next year (and only if your budget changes). And that’s the best part!
These are the 3 steps to this simple budgeting system.
1. Find a budget planner & fill it in!
The first step in organising your money is to budget!
It’s important to know what expenses to expect and how much to put aside.
I have a free online budget tool I use. It is from an Australian website but it makes no difference! My favourite part of this budget is you can add your figures as they are! So i.e. say your phone bill is $30 a month. You just chuck in $30 and make sure that the option next to it says monthly. Your groceries however are a weekly expense. So you chuck in how much groceries are and make sure the section next to that says weekly.
You also might be wondering what the numbers on the right are ($360 & $5,200). This is how much the expense is over a year.
The budget tool also gives you the option to see how much your expenses are yearly, monthly or weekly!! Which is what the right column is for.
My favourite part about this tool is it shows you your expenses weekly, monthly or yearly. This is what the right column is for.
So if your mobile costs you $30 a month, over the entire year you spend $360 on your phone.
How To Start Your Budget
I always start with adding how much I earn and then work my way through expenses.
Expenses I add include:
- Car Insurance
- Car registration
- Car servicing
- Weekly fun spending 🙂 so for going out, food etc.
The part I love most about this budgeting sheet is that it breaks up your income too. So say you want to save $50 a week – you can put that under the section that says savings.
Why is this important? Because at the end it gives you a review and tells you what percentage of your pay goes where!
It also breaks up home utilities. Another good section to see just how much of your pay is going to the house!
THEN you can save it to excel (win!!) and keep adjusting it from there! Beware – this template is addictive!!
2. Set up accounts
Once you’ve done your budget & decided what money is going where, it’s time to set up your accounts.
I’m SUPER specific with my accounts.
I break down my accounts like this:
- Everyday spending account (my weekly fun money went in there & any WEEKLY expenses like petrol or groceries budget).
- My expenses account (this was where I saved for all my yearly expenses like car insurance, servicing, phone.Basically any expense that was yearly or monthly).
- MOJO account (this was an idea I got from Scott Pape, The Barefoot Investor. This was an account with money that I kept for rainy days. Incase something happened to my car etc. It was basically emergency cash that I never used. Scott recommends keeping this in a separate bank account. Somewhere with a higher interest rate but I just kept it with my existing accounts).
- My investing account (this was for money that I invested in shares).
- My personal education account (this was like a education investing account. So any courses I wanted to invest in for blogging, I saved here).
- My house savings (this was where my money for the house was put in).
Setting it up and getting your head around the accounts can be confusing at first. But it’s worth the ease later on of knowing that everything’s automated & you don’t have to touch it!
The type of accounts you have are up to you! One account I was missing was some sort of fun or vacation account. I should have been putting money aside for a holiday to make sure I got some R&R in but my wage was already spread thin and I didn’t have much left to work with. I decided at that point putting it towards my personal education was better for me.
The four important accounts are:
- Everyday spending account (weekly fun money + weekly expenses)
- Expenses account (monthly + yearly expenses)
- MOJO account (the just incase of a rainy day savings)
- Investing (this can be a cash account or it can go towards investing, a house, whatever you want!).
3. Automate it!
This is where the discipline and efficiency comes from!
Once you have your budgeted expenses and you have set up your accounts, it’s time to automate your money!
So basically, when your pay comes in, you set up automated transfers. This way, the money you need for each account automatically goes in there and you never have to touch it!
My transfers were set for the day AFTER pay day. Because my pay usually came through at the end of the day.
This is the important step in this system.
So how would you automate it?
This depends on when you get paid (monthly, weekly or fortnightly).
Say you make $100 a week (just to make it easy!) and you get paid WEEKLY.
These are your expenses:
Fun Money: $20 (Weekly)
Petrol: $5 (Weekly)
Phone: $10 (Monthly)
Savings: $20 (Weekly)
Investing/Holiday Account: $45
Your automated payments WEEKLY (because you get paid weekly) would be:
Everyday Account: Fun Money $20 + Petrol $5 = $25
Expenses Account: Phone $2.50 (which is $10 divided by 4. This is because it’s a monthly expense but you’re putting money away for it weekly).
MOJO (Rainy Day Cash): $20
Investing/Holiday Account: $45
Which, all up equals $100
And your pay is officially sorted & done!
So when you got to pay petrol you’d use your card from your everyday account. But when you pay your phone, you get it from your expenses account.
This will change if you get paid fornightly or monthly. If you get paid monthly, then you would be putting your expenses away MONTHLY. I.E. your petrol, at the end of each month, would be $20 ($5 a week x 4 weeks). So when you get paid at the end of the month, $40 will go into your every day account for petrol, for the month. It’s up to you to manage it!
This system is a lot harder to write than actually do. It’s also a lot of set up. But once it’s done, that’s it! Every year you just have to change how much is automatically transferred.
It’s up to you
The whole idea of this system is you create your spending & expenses budget. Automating it is about helping you stick to it. If I spent all my fun money in 1 day well then I’d have to go without until my next pay! It’s that simple. But it also meant that if I didn’t spend all my fun money, I’d let it accumulate in that account and use it for whatever I wanted.
This ease and discipline of managing your money this way is in the planning & automation. And if it helps, you can even go to the extent of keeping a separate savings account in another bank to stop you from dipping into your MOJO or expenses account.
Otherwise, it’s seriously the easiest way I know to stick to my budget & stay organised with my finances.
So action steps!
- Download the free online budget tool & organise your pay
- Set up your accounts
- Set up automated transfers (weekly, fortnightly or monthly – depending on when you get paid)
I hope it helps!