Creating a personal budget sounds much harder than it is. Many people avoid creating a budget to avoid finding out how much and what you actually spend your money on. Trust us, it will pay off in the long run. With a budget, you get a good overview of your personal finances, and can reduce unnecessary expenses. Creating a budget can help keep your personal finances running every month and you can actually save a lot more money than you think.
You can create a budget with a few simple steps. There are many good templates for creating a simple budget online, find one that works for you.
The first step to creating your budget is to divide your earnings and your expenses. Your expenses can then be divided into fixed costs and variable costs.
Here are some examples of what may be your earnings. Keep in mind that if there are two people in your household and if you share finances, both of your incomes should be added to your budget. Remember to indicate income after tax.
- Salary, if you receive pay per hour, enter your lowest expected income.
- Unemployment benefit funds
- Pension and sickness compensation
- Sickness benefits
- Parental allowance
- Student financial aid
- Benefits from work, such as bonuses
- Child allowance, and supplementary child allowance if you have more than one child
- Housing subsidy
Remember that it’s important to be honest with yourself and realistic about how much you actually spend each month. Don’t be too optimistic, make a realistic budget so that you get an honest overview of your finances. Fixed expenses are costs that are recurring every month, such as rent, transportation, etc. Variable expenses are costs for products and services that vary from month to month.
- Your rent, plus any costs for your mortgage if you have any
- Home insurance, and other insurances
- Costs for water, garbage disposal or sewage if you live in a house
- Electricity costs
- Expenses for your car if you have one (insurance, repairs, inspection, parking fees, fuel etc.)
- Monthly cost for transportation
- Union fee or fee for unemployment benefits
- Repayment of loans, such as student loans or credit card loans
- Subscriptions, such as movie streaming, broadband, TV or mobile phone
- Gym card, or other membership fees
- Monthly savings
- Retirement savings
- Costs for coffe and lunch for working days
- Hygiene and beauty products
- Clothes and shoes
- Consumables, such as detergents and cleaningproducts
- Media, TV and electronics
- Leisure and entertainment, such as cinema visits, sports activities and travels
- Expenses for medical visits, dentists and medicines
Once you have identified all your earnings and expenses, you have a good foundation for your personal budget. You don’t have to enter exact amounts, an approximate estimate is enough. But try to be realistic to get as relevant a budget as possible. It may also be a good idea to make both an annual budget and a monthly budget. This way you capture costs that you pay every quarter or once per year. If you have an annual budget, the monthly budget will be more accurate as you can divide some of the annual costs on a monthly basis.
If it turns out that you’re overcharged at the end of the month, you’ll be able to easily see why. It will be easier to cut down on some costs. Remember to pay all your fixed costs immediately after you receive your salary, so that you can easily see how much money you are left with afterwards.
Create a buffer
A good advice is to always create a buffer. This is a type of savings that acts as a crisis fund. It is supposed to be used for unexpected costs, such as if the washing machine breaks down and you need to buy a new one. A washing machine is not cheap, but needs to be resolved fairly quickly. It may be good to already have a saved buffer for emergencies, so that you you still have money to live on when an emergency happens.
If you get they happy surprise of having more money left than you expected at the end of the month, add it to your savings account, or to your buffer.
Maybe the most important thing of all; be sure to enjoy yourself and indulge once in a while. If you don’t, you might be tempted to give up on your budget. Just remember to include these costs in the budget.
Have fun! And let us know how it goes. Share your experience in the P.F.C. Community.