Creating A Budget
By creating a budget, you can:
Record your income and expenses, helps you to get a clear picture of your current position
Control spending, helping to identify areas to cut back and increase opportunities to save
Establish new habits, helping you to avoid unnecessary spending and stay motivated to save
Feel in control, giving you the peace of mind that comes with taking control of your finances
Make a note of everything you spend each day, over the course of a month. If that sounds like too much work, review your account transactions in your bank and credit card statements. Include regular payments, such as your rent or mortgage, taxes and utility bills, as well as irregular payments, like holidays and gifts, or the bills you only pay quarterly or once a year.
Record all your sources of income, after tax. If your income varies from month to month, take an average over a 3-month period.
Add up all your expenses and subtract this total from your monthly income.
If your expenses come to less than your take home pay, you have a surplus, which you can prioritise for paying off debts, or putting into savings or investing.
If your expenses come to more than your take home pay, you have less money at the end of the month than at the start. Before you can save on a regular basis, you should focus on ways to reduce your spending.
If your budget indicates that your expenses are higher than your income, you might want to look at ways to reduce your spending. What might work for you? Could you:
switch insurance or utility providers?
choose activities or days out in nature over those that cost money?
try going a whole day without spending any money? Or try one day a week?
Everyone’s circumstances are different, so there's no specific amount of money you should save each month. Your budget will help you determine what you can afford to put aside.
Some people find it helpful to follow the 50-30-20 model, where you aim to spend no more than 50% of your income on the things you need, 30% on the things you want, and 20% on building up savings or repaying debts.
Learn about the different types of interest and how it can help increase your savings over time.
Learn how the right approach to managing your savings can work with your lifestyle and needs.
Find out more about the difference between saving and investing to help you decide what’s best for you.