Money. What a subject.
It’s actually something that can make people uncomfortable, but I’m not one of them. We all need money to survive, it’s just a fact, so why not talk about it?
I’ve always been a very organized person when it comes to making plans and spending money, I guess I get it from my parents. Now that I have a job, I’ve been able to put my planning and budgeting skill to better practice and I’m so happy to be able to save more – and spend more, of course.
Whether you are a student, have a part-time job, have a full-time job or work for yourself, everyone has to deal with money. And it can be hard sometimes to juggle it all.
Budgeting is all about the planning. When creating a budget, I like to use an Excel spreadsheet so that I can make calculations. It makes it so much more easier and convenient to have everything in one place.
I start my creating a tab about previsions. I enter the payments I have to make each month:
- gym membership
- insurance costs
- cell phone contract
- (Others can be : public transport subscription, pet food, a train ticket to go back home, another subscription…)
I enter each amount (I like to get an average high for the amount of money I pay each month for groceries) to get an idea of how much I spend each month. These are fixed costs that I will have to pay if you don’t want my landlord or banker calling frantically – and nobody wants that scary call… It allows me to have a clear idea of this amount so that each month, I know how much money I need for sure to meet my obligations.
The next thing I do is to create another tab called spendings where I enter cash payments and bank accounts payments to know I much I’ve spent. I start by putting in my current bank balance and continue to add up expenses as they are paid.
By doing I make sure that whatever costs I make, I know where I’m at.
Budgeting your extra costs
I can be quite the control freak when I plan ahead and I’ve made efforts over the years to give myself some slack, especially when it comes to expenses. I used to plan to the tens how much I would spend on what and then ended up having to purchase or repair something that was not part of my plan and it was like a house of cards crumbling down. I can be so dramatic…
So what I do now, is:
- Either when I enter my fixed costs, I to make sure to average the costs to the highest number (for example if I pay between £30 to £40 a week for groceries, I would do £40 x4 when planning to make sure that I put enough money aside, on the bright side if you pay less it’s more money for something else).
- Or, I put aside extra money that I put under “extra” or “unplanned” so that if something happens like an appliance breaks, I need to get a new gym bag because mine broke… I’ll have some money aside for it too. It’s a way to not be over the edge all month in case something you didn’t plan happens.
Life can be a bit all over the place sometimes so knowing that you have a certain amount put aside, you know, just in case, can be quite reassuring.
Plan to treat yourself, too
We’re all humans so when we see a cute jumper or a nice pair of booties, or a new eyeshadow palette that would go perfectly with our green eyes, we want to buy them asap. I’ve been there, you’ve been there, it’s life.
Every month, I set aside a certain amount of money that I enter into my Excel spreadsheet under something fun like “a little pat on the back” or “buy something nice” to get myself a little ( or a few…) nice things. It’s no life not to be able to treat yourself a little, life is made for living it.
However, I make sure to be reasonable so the amount is nothing crazy. I put aside an amount that will allow me to get something I’d like to try from Sephora or a piece of clothing I’ve had my eye on while also and a little bit to go to a cute coffee shop. It makes working or studying so much more enjoyable when you know that you’ll be able to treat yourself a little bit.
Because I’m so extra, I also have a tab that lists a few things I’d like to get. I create categories (home, beauty, lifestyle, fashion, …) that I highlight in a different color and I enter things as I think of them (Inthefrow’s latest book, a new foundation, a new coat, a mirror…) and decide when to get them (this month? next month? it can wait but I’ll write it down so that I won’t forget…). It’s also a good way to tell people what to get you for Christmas, a nice print of this page and they’re good to go!
Save, save, save
Whether it’s to be able to buy an apartment or a house later, to go on vacation, to get a new car, …, it’s so important to save money. After deducting my fixed costs, my ‘unplanned’ costs and my “pat on the back” costs, I set the amount left aside on another bank account. It’s usually a little less than half of what I earn – I live with my boyfriend so all the costs are cut in half – so that if we decide to go on my most-wanted to do trip (yes NYC, I’m talking about you and Eastern Canada), I won’t cut into my fixed costs, same for if we decide to move to Canada in a few years.
Life is all about the little things, the big plans, the next chapters of our life and for me budgeting is working towards the next goal while also appreciating the climb to get there.
Do you budget? What does it look like for you?