Budget – a word that makes young people shake in their boots. Why? Well, budgeting is often associated with losing something. Whether it’s having to cut back on Friday night drinks, or the number of takeaways you order, or limiting the extent of your online shopping, budgeting is almost always viewed in a negative light.
So, what if we forget about the idea of a budget, and rather adopt the use of a spending plan? No, a spending plan is not just another fancy term for a budget; a spending plan allows you to plan for all those niceties that you aren’t ready to let go of just yet, but prioritise them in a way that allows you to get the most value out of each spend. A spending plan allows you to enjoy all of the good things in life that you are used to, but in a way that is sustainable and will ensure that you have some money left over for other important spends too, like your investments and savings.
If you’re one of the people who are tired of hearing the word ‘budget’ everywhere you go, needs-matched life insurer BrightRock’s Change Exchange has come up with some useful tips that will help you adopt a more accommodating spending plan, so the only thing you’ll have to say goodbye to is restrictive budgeting.
Smart saving with a spending plan
Ditch the idea of a budget and adopt a Spending Plan.
The idea of a budget often invokes thoughts of being restricted or limited, and doesn’t feel like it’s going to be fun. What if we reframed our mindset to forget about budgeting and rather think about planning how we spend our money. Want to buy clothes monthly? Create a plan for that. Want to eat out? Add it to your plan.
“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” Will Rogers
Let go of right and wrong, good and bad.
We are each individuals on our own paths and what is right for me may not be right for you. There is no such thing as good or bad either, as this is something we measure subjectively based on our own set of values and beliefs. It is different for different people.
Know who you are, what you value and want from life, and where you want to go.
If you have this foundation to work from, then it’s much easier to plan how you want to spend your money, as you are able to prioritise what is important to you versus what is not.
Keep focused on yourself only.
Don’t worry about what your friends or family are doing with their money. They are different people with different values, needs and desires, and therefore what is right for them may not be right for you. If you’re clear about who you are and what you value and want, then it’s easier to stay focused on yourself and what you need to do to create the vision you have for your life.
Get honest with yourself about what you need and what you want.
It’s great and important to have dreams and goals and there is nothing wrong with wanting things. Having said that, knowing this difference will help you to prioritise during times in life that require you to work with a limited amount of money and choose between what you need and what you want.
Zoom out of the day-to-day and month-to-month, and look at your bigger picture.
How does spending money on something today impact me tomorrow, next week, next month and even next year? It’s easy to justify spending money on things that we believe we need in the short-term, but that can compromise our long-term financial health if we’re really honest with ourselves. For example, that daily fresh green juice or shake might support your physical health today, however if it’s compromising your financial health next month then does it really benefit you?
Make time to dream and imagine your future self.
Start by thinking in short bursts: who am I one year from now? Then stretch your imagination a little further ahead – three years, five years, 10 years. What can I do now to ensure that I can be who I want to be then? How might my future self feel, looking back at myself now and seeing how I’m spending my money today?
Think mindfully about the pros and cons of instant gratification.
For example, takeaway, ready-made meals or snacks vs taking the time to buy the ingredients and make it yourself. You could not only save yourself a lot of money, but also make a difference to our environment if you buy the food to make your own meals.
Impulsive decisions often happen when we haven’t set an intention and created a plan to help us reach that goal. If you have a plan, then you are better able to assess your impulsive feelings and make a different choice if you decide that following through on your impulse won’t assist you in reaching your goals. Unexpected expenses can also take us off track, but if you plan to keep a specific amount of money available for the unexpected then you’re less likely to be caught by surprise and can weather the storm much more easily than if you were unprepared.
Be kind and compassionate towards yourself.
You’re human and the reality is that even the best laid plans don’t always go according to plan. That’s okay. Assess what happened that tripped you up, make adjustments and try again. Remind yourself that you’re doing your best and take time to acknowledge and celebrate all the small wins along the way.