Now you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to stick to it as much as possible. Budgets are often started, put on the shelf and forgotten.
Give yourself the best chance of success, print out your budget and stick it to the fridge or somewhere else you’ll see it regularly. Keep yourself accountable, better yet share your plan with someone else and ask them to help you stick to the plan.
There are also fantastic online budget tools that allow you to easily record, track and update your budget as you move along and when your circumstances change.
Make it realistic
An unrealistic financial plan might look good on paper, but it’s is unlikely to last in the real world. A simple approach you could try is the 50-30-20 rule. With this approach 50% of your budget goes to you ‘Must Haves’, 30% to ‘Wants’ and 20% to ‘Savings and Debt’.
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way if you need to. By reviewing your budget regularly and keeping your spending buckets up to date, you will have real control of your finances and can keep up with a sustainable plan.
Build in some flexibility
Expenses can vary from one month to the next, so it’s a good idea to build in some flexibility to allow for this. In months or weeks when you have a surplus in your budget, make sure to save it for other times when your expenses are higher than normal.
Some months are bound to have more expenses than others, or you might spend more than you should. It’s bound to happen sometimes! Just make sure you aren’t regularly relying on the flexibility of your budget to create unhealthy spending habits.
Don’t just set and forget
One area that is often overlooked is reviewing the “cost” of your set expenses. Don’t just accept the cost of things that you need to spend money on. Review necessary expenses like your mobile phone plan, electricity provider, etc. Often shopping around can save you money each month.
If you have debts like a credit card, personal loan or even a home loan, it’s always a good idea to review these. Consolidating debts or simply refinancing your home loan to achieve lower repayments can be a big cost saver.
Have some fun
Just because you have a financial plan in place doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun as well! Try to include a few dollars in your budget, a small amount you can use for anything you like. Treating yourself occasionally can make it easier to stick to your budget in the long run.
Additionally, reaching financial goals will make you feel empowered to keep pushing forward so make sure to celebrate any milestones along the way. There are many free or low-cost ways to celebrate and keep you motivated. You can take advantage of perks like existing loyalty rewards, points or coupons to help make what you’ve been eyeing off fit into your budget. Or find free entertainment alternatives instead of more costly ones.
Setting yourself up for success
Overcoming financial difficulties may seem like a long road ahead but there are so many free and accessible services and resources to help along the way. The tips and tools outlined in this series can help you get back on track and develop habits that will help you achieve both your short and long-term financial goals.
If you find you are still having trouble getting control of your finances, there are plenty of resources to help you. The National Debt Helpline offers a free, independent and confidential service through their group of professional financial counsellors.
A lending specialist can do more for you than just help you get a home loan.
A lending specialist can offer a free, independent review of your debt position including your home loan. This may help you assess what options you have to potentially reduce your repayments or pay off your loan sooner.
If your goal is to buy a house, a lending specialist can review your current position, assess your eligibility, and help set you up with a plan if you’re not quite ready.
It can all start with a simple phone or web chat.
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This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.