We are not finance gurus. We aren’t into complicated formulas. The budgeting system outlined here is what we have used to successfully start saving money and manage to break free of the renting cycle, even on a single income.
Budgeting for First time frugal budgeters… that’s us.
If you want to start saving your money, you need to keep track of where it is going. At the start of each month, Jo and I work out all of our outgoing expenses, and how much we can save for the month. We also work out how much we can spend each day through out the month, and keep track of every dollar we spend. It may seem frugal, but it works.
The templates below are what we use to work out our budget for the week. feel free to adjust them to suit your circumstances.
Down to business
Whether you get paid weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, you need to work out what you will be spending your money on until the next pay check comes in. We use the template below to add up our total income for the month, as well as our total outgoing expenses. Then we work out how much we can put away for savings.
This may include your pay check, government allowances, Club Keno win, bank robbery etc and so forth. Add it all up.
This includes things like rent, bills, loans, fuel, groceries, as well as money that you wish to save. It’s better to overestimate these expenses. It doesn’t hurt to have a little left over.
Put a particular amount into a separate account that you don’t use for day to day spending. Look for linked accounts such as ING’s Savings Maximiser, or BankWest. Their interest rates are usually much better than the banks and there are no fees. Usually the interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. You are better off putting money into savings as soon as you get paid, otherwise, you will probably just blow it on ice cream and red wine like we used to do.
You will always need money here and there for day to day expenses. this will come out of what ever is left over once you have paid all your outgoing expenses and put some savings aside. here's how to work out your daily allowance.
Subtract your outgoing costs (A) and savings (B) amount from your income (C). The surplus amount left over (D) can be used for day to day things such as buying a take away coffee, or hiring a DVD.
INCOME – OUTGOING – SAVINGS = SURPLUS AMOUNT
C – A – B = D
But don’t blow it all at once. It has to last you until next pay day. So, divide D by the number of days until your next paid. For example, if you get paid fortnightly, divide D by 14. This will tell you how much you can spend each day (E).
D ÷ no. of days until next pay = E
Keep track of your expenses each day to make sure you don’t over spend.
How much can I spend each day?
Use a template like this to keep track of what you have spent each day. Stick it on the fridge or somewhere that you won’t forget it.
Example: you may have a daily allowance of $20. This means you have a total of $140 for the week. Some days you might not spend anything, and others you may have to spend more than $20. Each day you should recalculate your daily allowance. Each day, simply subtract what you have spent from the amount available for the week and divide it by the number of days left in the week. This will tell you how much you can spend tomorrow.
Things like groceries and fuel are regular expenses for us. We also like to put aside a little for a night out on the town once a month or so. We set aside a specific amount for these expenses each week, which are calculated as part of our outgoing expenses.
We use this template to keep track of how much we spend throughout the month. This way, we don’t have to take these expenses out of our daily allowance.
Example: at the start of the month you may have budgeted for $800 for groceries, $200 for fuel, and $100 for a night out. You go shopping and spend $200 on groceries in the first week. This is subtracted from the $800, leaving $600 for the rest of the month. Similarly, each time you fill up the car, subtract the cost from the total amount put aside for the month (or fortnight/week).
- Open a separate savings account. Don’t touch your savings unless you really need to.
- Get rid of your credit card
- Shop on the cheap, like at Aldis, and make a shopping list.
- That’s it really! Use these templates to make up a budget sheet and stick it on your fridge. I hope it works for you.