If you're serious about being financially secure, it might be time to start budgeting. Creating a basic budget spreadsheet where you map out how much you plan to spend is one of the best ways to save money.
Here are three downloadable budget spreadsheet templates for whatever stage of budgeting you're at.
If your credit card statement is showing more minuses than you'd like but you're not sure what you're spending your money on, this spreadsheet is for you. It gives you a basic overview of your income and expenses, and shows you in which categories you're spending too much.
Want to pay back your bond in the next 10 years? Saving up for that big holiday? If you're serious about budgeting in order to reach a specific financial goal, this budget spreadsheet will get you started.
Financing a family or household can sometimes feel overwhelming. Planning your budget for the next 12 months will help you bring your family's finances under control, making sure you can stretch your income and perhaps have money left over for that family break at the end of the year.
Tips for sticking to your budget
1. Keep receipts of all your spending
If you're using a combination of cash and cards to pay for transactions, it's worth keeping receipts to make accurately recording your spending easier. Review and add all these transactions to your budget spreadsheet every day or week, depending on what works for you.
2. Aim for a positive balance
Budgets allow you to set your financial goals, while recording what you actually spend.
Opt for a budget spreadsheet that shows you the difference between what you aimed to spend and what you actually spent for each budget category. If you're always in the red in a certain category, you may have to relook and adjust your budget.
Make sure your budget also includes a grand total. Aim for a positive balance at the end of the month.
3. Over-budget for necessary expenses
Give yourself a safe margin of error by overestimating necessary expenses such as food, electricity, transportation and insurance by 10%. What's left over at the end of the month can go into your savings account.
4. Opt for an automatic budget app
If you're not interested in keeping track of your budget manually, have a look at our list of free budget apps to help manage finances. They sync with your bank accounts and automatically update your record of income and expenditure.