If you ever wondered how to make sure you have money in your bank account at the end of the month, then please read on. Many people out there live paycheck-to-paycheck struggling to make ends meet despite theoretically having a salary that should allow them to live a comfortable life. So how is that possible?
It all starts with the payday.
You get your salary in the account, you are in a good mood. You can finally afford to eat out, buy the dress you’ve been checking out, or treat yourself to a spa visit. Your behaviour and how quickly you jump to spending money on all your wants dictates how the rest of the month will look for you. That’s why, before you even start thinking about all the things you want to treat yourself to, you should consider a budget strategy.
There is a lot of stigma around budgeting, however, well thought through budget doesn’t restrict your spending, it just gives it a direction.
How to stop running out of money before the end of the month?
Everything comes down to financial planning, budgeting and being money smart. Here are our favourite tried-and-tested strategies you can apply on your payday to become a pro at managing your money.
Get a grip on your payday habits
In order to change the outcome, you need to change what triggers it. And this means changing your habits. In order to change your habits, you need to first acknowledge them, so check what you usually do on your payday? Do you splash out on going out? Buy an extra-large coffee? Or maybe spend hours scrolling through online shops? If this sounds familiar, you might want to find a replacement for these activities and do something that’s cheaper or free instead.
Get your priorities straight
First and foremost, understand what your priorities are. These include:
- Bills, rent
- Loans, credit card payments (fees also count)
- Monthly expenses (petrol, commute, groceries)
This will give you a full overview of how much money you will have to put aside on the essentials. List them all down with the nominal value.
Even better, why not consider setting up automatic deductions from your transactions account that can be timed for when your salary arrives. This will enable you to make important payments without having to lift a finger as well as more accurately budget.
Create a budget
Now, this is an essential step if you want to get on top of your finances. Budget not only will give you better clarity of where you stand, but it will also allow you to understand what you can spend on pleasures and how much you can potentially save.
Now, for the purpose of this article, we will go with the 50-30-20 budgeting approach:
- 50% towards essentials – that includes things like bills, rent, debt payments and regular expenses (groceries, petrol, commute)
- 30% for going out, entertainment and pampering
- 20% for personal saving and investment goals.
Create an emergency fund
This you might have heard before and we will be mentioning it over and over again. If there is one thing the past year has taught us is that anything can happen anytime, and it’s advisable to be prepared for it. An emergency fund is your backup plan when everything else fails you. It is set to pay for real emergencies, and it allows you to absorb these costs without adversely affecting your other parts of the budget.
Cut down your unnecessary expenses
Do you know the Starbucks you are having every morning? Make your coffee at home? Online service subscription? If you don’t use it, cancel it? Review all your monthly commitments and regular expenses and honestly answer yourself where you could make the cuts.
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Keep in mind these basic principles and you will become more financially stable and in control of your situation.