I did do a blog post almost 5 years about my cash budgeting system and really not too much has changed but since it was requested I thought I’d do another post on the subject. It’s actually pretty good timing as we’ve just gone back to actually reworking and following our budget as we are currently trying to save as much as possible.
Obviously the first step is actually having a budget. There are a number of systems available and spreadsheets aplenty on the internet. I use a program called Simply Budgets (it’s Australian) that I have been using for around 10 years I think. It currently costs $129 but you can get a 30 day trail for $1. I honestly do recommend this program. It’s such a simple and easy way to set up your budget and as it changes (as it has for me over the years) it’s VERY easy to alter it and the program just recalculates your figures. In your budget you’ll have your fixed expenses, variable expenses and savings (you can also include long term expenses). Be sure to make sure that your budget is actually something you can stick to. No point in having one otherwise.
However you set up your budget, once you have sorted out your expenses, you’ll need to decide how you are going to stick to it. We’ve tried putting everything on credit card and paying it off in full at the end of the month, but for us this just didn’t work. It’s TOO EASY to put things on credit. We still pay for bills and groceries on credit (as part of our budget) but for our other expenses we’ve been using a cash budgeting system for about 5 years (on and off). We started off with plastic tubs, then went to envelopes, then fancy pencil case things before I finally found something that suits me.
I bought this cash budget wallet on etsy from A Time for Everything a few years ago and absolutely love it. It’s small and so convenient to carry in my handbag. I just made my own labels but you can buy them on the etsy site.
I also have a another wallet (from another system I used) that just has money for the kids/school/etc. This stays in my desk.
Once I have deducted all our expenses I am left with my savings. This we pay straight off our mortgage, as we are able to get the money back out if we need it. But otherwise you should be sure to have a seperate bank account for your savings. It’s great to see the money build up, and you earn more interest plus it means you have to think twice before you withdraw it. And what about the change that accumulates in your purse/wallet? I keep a little tin on my desk and when my purse gets heavy I put coins in here. When it’s full I take it the bank and add to our savings or spend the money on something fun.
Hope this post is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Do you have any tips for developing or sticking with a budget?