New Year, New Start! Budget Planning Advice for 2016
Planning a yearly budget is a great way for households to start looking at their income and assets from a new perspective – one that allows you to plan for everything that might come up during the year, be it a holiday or an unexpected dental bill. Budget planning means you’re never put on the spot without savings during the year; families can stop living from one pay check to the next and weigh up their total income against expenditure to refine spending. The point of budgeting is not to cut out the fun stuff, after all, but to make more room for it. Follow these tips to get the best out of your budget in 2016:
Calculate ALL of your incomes and expenses
- Your take-home pay
- Additional sources of income including government benefits, investment revenue, interest
- Mortgage and/or rent and home related expenses such as rates, body corporate fees, etc.
- Bills: electricity, gas, water, internet, phone, pay TV, music subscriptions
- Insurance: home, contents, vehicle, health, personal, life
- Credit cards, debt, super contributions, investments, home loan, other loans donations
- Groceries, home maintenance supplies
- Health care: doctors, dental, eye care, physio, etc.
- Hobbies, sports, technology, clothes, accessories, hair and beauty
- Pet and vet expenses
- Education, school uniforms, excursions, school sports
- Eating out, drinks and alcohol, concert tickets, movie tickets, festival tickets, etc.
- Holidays, entertaining, birthdays and gifts
- Public transport fares, petrol, road tolls, vehicle registration, licences, fines, airfares
- Childcare, baby products, toys, games, babysitting, clothes, accessories (e.g. prams, car seats, etc.)
If you’re preparing a budget, the financial reward at the end of the year is the endgame. Whether you’re planning to take a holiday, put a deposit on a house or simply become debt-free, set out your goals in a concrete plan so you’ve got a reward in sight when the budget seems tight or challenging – remember the financial success you can achieve by sticking to the budget. Setting achievable short term goals is a good way to help you get into a pattern of saving and feeling rewarded along the way to your long term goal.
Don’t give up at the first budget blowout
Many people find sticking to a budget challenging. If you’re someone who spends a lot of money on shopping, gifts, eating out or things that just seem to “pop up” out of nowhere, it’s easy to blow the budget on those sorts of expenses. Keep your long term goal in mind and remember that a budget blowout one month doesn’t mean the whole project is out the door. Your budget should be flexible enough to spend a little extra here and save a little extra there – as long as the end goal is still achievable, don’t give up.
Start saving in January for the next holiday season.
Christmas is a common budget-blower. If you set aside $50 each month, by the time the next holiday season begins you’ll have $600 saved for the gifts, entertaining and eating out.
Get the most from your yearly budget with the above tips and advice. Taking into consideration your household income, expenses and goals will ensure you are realistic in your financial planning for the coming year.