I feel your scepticism as you read the title ‘Best Way to Budget Your Money’
But you clicked in… Have you clicked in to this article because:
- You know you’re not meeting your financial goals?
- You’re thinking a budget might help but you’re not convinced? Or
- You have no idea where to start to change your financial situation?
None of us like the idea of a budget. Why?
Because it implies we need to stop spending, which is often associated with no longer having fun. But what if I asked you to challenge that mindset? To change your thinking to one of long term financial freedom? What if budgeting or let’s call it, living within your means, meant you could meet your needs now but also have money growing for your immediate expenditure (yes including fun money) and mid term and long term financial goals?
This article will outline, in my opinion and experience, the best way to budget your money and the story about how I used it first hand myself. So do you want to know the best way to budget your money?
I hear you say ‘Yes please!‘
Before I share with you the pain free budgeting strategy that turned my financial situation around, allow me to share with you why I was motivated and a part of my story from a short time ago.
Less than 18 months ago, after many years of financial success, I was in a financial position that was not healthy, if anything was near bankruptcy. It had taken me by surprise because I had buried ‘my head in the sand’ and now I could ignore it no longer. I think I was embarrassed to admit to myself how my unpredictable income had taken its toll on my stress levels; that the risks of small business and single parenting was simply too much while I was going through some health challenges. So before it got any worse I looked myself in the mirror and I made a commitment to myself. That commitment was to reduce my stress and to take financial responsibility for the long term and to turn my financial situation around.
It seems crazy that I experienced this because I have:
- Been trained as a young adult on savings and basic investment strategies;
- Mentored hundreds of people in property investing and
- Successfully invested myself in the past
It was a bit like the plumber that has leaky taps in their own home. I was giving and teaching to so many others I had turned a blind eye to my own cash flow and financial position.
For further information on my journey please go here to my About Me page.
In less than18 months I have turned it all around. I have taken back control. I have a plan and I am taking action. In fact, I’m enjoying a fulfilling, meaningful lifestyle, living within my means; ‘dominoing my debts’ and planning for my long term financial independence. Plus I have my health back because my stress levels are down and I’m feeling back to normal.
How did I do it? What resonated with me?
It was in November 2016, that I took my Accountants suggestion to get a part-time job, because my business income had reduced in size to a part-time income. Therefore ‘getting a job’ would give me some breathing space and reduce my stress levels. So I did. Now this part of my story was my personal decision. I chose getting a job but finding an alternative source of income is what you could do here. I’m definitely not saying getting a job is the only answer. Although I currently have 2 part-time jobs I also am building new business interests again now that I’m back on my feet healthwise and financially.This was the right decision for me at this time, you will know what is right for you.
Now that I had a predictable income, my health could recover. But I still needed to pay down debts and save money. However I also wanted to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle in the meantime. A tall order? Maybe but I have achieved it and you can too.
How I have it all
In January 2017, I bought myself a New Year’s gift. Scott Pape’s book ‘The Barefoot Investor’. I was on holiday and I read it in 2 days (then I went back over it chapter by chapter). After reading his budgetting strategy (in chapter 2) that he wrote for his wife ‘on the back of a napkin’ I was hooked. I will focus on this strategy for the purposes of this article however his book takes this simple strategy (that works) and takes you step by step on setting up your immediate, short term and long term financial goals to achieve financial independence as soon as possible. Although Scott is an Australian financial planner, this budgeting strategy will work no matter where on the globe you are.
What I love most about Scott’s strategy is it gives you immediate gratification as well as saving for your future. He calls it ‘setting up your buckets’. It really is that simple. Setting up 4 buckets. Plus it is easy to convert to your pay frequency: weekly, fortnightly, monthly or irregularly.
Setting Up Your Buckets
His 4 buckets are: Income, Blow, Mojo and Grow. Scott says to divide a percentage of your income into each bucket. E.g. for the Blow bucket (60% for bills and living expenses, a portion for fighting off financial fires plus 10% ‘splurge’ what I call my fun money); safety money is MOJO savings for when something goes wrong, such as your income reducing unexpectedly (as I had experienced) and long term wealth he calls the Grow bucket.
For me, I enjoy socialising and therefore spending money going out with friends and family. This helped because when I am paid from no matter what source, I simply allocate it according to this simple plan. It has taken the stress out of budgeting. In fact, I don’t feel as though I am budgeting because I still have money for fun or to splurge and also money for immediate and long term goals. I say win/win.
Please note, this is not a miracle worker. If you keep spending more than you earn you will not achieve financial freedom. For this strategy to work, you need to make sure that your lifestyle actually fits within his guidelines. For example, when I started, my bills and living expenses far exceeded the 60% for bills etc he suggests. Therefore I did 2 things, I increased my income and reviewed all my expenses. Again, strategies from the book including helpful tips and scripts to action. Everyone will get something slightly different from this book. For me, I am crazy about his bucket strategy. It truly has put me right back on track in the short and medium term and I am now working on my long term financial goals. Including using an automatic savings app.
So what now?
If you’re looking for the best way to budgt your money? A simple and straight forward strategy that you can implement immediately? Then this is the one for you to consider. Frankly, if what you are doing now is not working, what have you got to lose? I recommend:
- Make a commitment to yourself to take financial responsibility for your current situation
- Buy a copy of the book ‘The Barefoot Investor’ by Scott Pape
- Read it
- Take Action and
- Share the love. If it works for you then tell someone you know and your positive experience.
Fleur is an Australian Best-Selling Author, Business and Property Mentor. She is passionate about empowering business professionals to turn their Passion into Profits; Grow their Wealth through diversified investment strategies and Live a Life on Purpose. Receive Freebies (free websites, free mentoring) from her blog Passion to Profits at FleurAllen.com.