By Joan Igamba
You know you should budget your salary but are you? Creating a budget and sticking to it is the first step to being on top of your finances.
It allows you to spend your money wisely. It is also a very good way to help you stick to your financial plans.
I understand how budgeting can seem intimidating but you can follow these steps to set up a realistic budget that gets you where you want to go.
1. Set a Budget Period
When it comes to budgeting your salary, most Kenyans assume a budget should be set monthly. However, it all depends on your spending habits and how often you get paid.
You might receive your paycheck weekly or every two weeks. Build your budget around whatever period that works for you.
It might also be easier for you to track your expenses week to week, as weekly spending is easier to break down compared to a whole month
2. Track Current Spending Habits
Before you can create a realistic budget, you need to know what your current spending habits are.
You won’t know if its is realistic until you’ve got an idea of where your money is currently going.
Track your spending for about a month. See what things you’re spending money on that you need to stop spending on.
4. Identify your Personalized Financial Goals
Budgeting will help you achieve more with your money. When you set your budget, align it with your goals in order to figure out how much you need to set aside to achieve each goal.
If you don’t use your budget to make sure you’re working towards goals, all you’re doing is shifting spending and you’ll still have nothing to show for your money in the end.
5. Choose a Tool to Make Your Budget
This entirely depends on your preference. If you like to write things down, then use a pen and paper.
If using an app is more your style then go for it. There’s free apps such as Mint that can help you budget your salary.
If you don’t want to download any apps, an Excel Spreadsheet will do just fine.
Now that you’ve chosen which tool will work for you, input the numbers in the form of categories.
Things like food, bus fare, fuel, entertainment, just to name a few, could help you get started.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
Determine how you will stick to your budget by remaining disciplined enough. If you’re finding it hard then they are some techniques that could help. They include:
- Automating bills: When money goes where it’s supposed to go without you seeing it then you are less likely to spend it.
- Track your spending by doing a weekly review: This will help you remain honest with yourself as you check whether you really are sticking to your budget.
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The biggest advantage of budgeting whatever salary you might have is that it helps you realise if you’re spending more than you make.
If you’re trying to pay off bills or save for a dream holiday, budgeting your salary is the first step toward making your financial goals a reality.