Spring has sprung and all around us everything from the trees and birds, to the early morning exercisers are active and on the go. Traditionally, this is also the time that many of us embark on spring cleaning rituals – be it organising cupboards, washing curtains after the August winds, or getting our gardens prepared for summer.
Why not then spring clean your budget too? A fresh start may just breathe some life into you financial well-being. Review and rework your budget with our three easy steps:
1. Pay yourself first
Before you pay your bills or buy groceries, your budget should make provision for you to “pay yourself” in the form of saving.
This step is crucial to ensure your financial security in the event of an emergency and later in life when you are no longer working and bringing in a monthly salary.
According to the 50/30/20 guideline, at least 20% of your monthly income after deductions should go to repaying debts and saving money.
2. Identify where you can save
Using a spreadsheet or piece of paper, work out the total amount you are spending on what each month.
Then, note how much you spend on things that you need like rent, groceries, water and lights, insurance and medical aid – the things you really need should make up less than 50% of your total net salary.
Ultimately, any cost that you are able to forgo with only minor inconvenience is a want. Ideally, costs relating to wants should be limited to 30% or less.
After you are able to eliminate some wants, check any debit orders or regular payments to check whether you are still using the service they are paying for.
3. Get some tech help
There are a number of budgeting apps, or personal financial management tools as they are often called. Some link to your accounts and import your transactions to the app and others require manual input. Either way, these apps help you monitor your actual spending against your budget.
Some of our favourites are:
- Nedbank’s My Financial Life App – https://myfinanciallife.nedsecure.co.za/
- Momentum’s MyFinTrack – https://www.momentum.co.za/for/you/my-momentum/register
- Good budget, a home budget app based on the envelope budget system – https://goodbudget.com/
- Fudget, a simple and fast personal finance app – https://fudget.dconnell.co.uk/
- Dollarbird, which uses a smart calendar to help you manage your personal finances – https://www.dollarbird.co/
- Spendee, an intuitive app that helps you manage your spending – https://www.spendeeapp.com/
Remember, always verify the legitimacy of these types of apps before sharing any personal information.