I find the word “budget” causes peoples muscles to tense with discomfort followed by descent into defensive mode, then ‘Oh sure, I have a budget in my head’. The word “budget” seems to translate into meaning “restriction”.
I believe that having an accurate, realistic understanding of the cost of your lifestyle is fundamental to creating a financial strategy that you can comfortably implement, that will;
- ease your cash flow constraints
- reduce the financial stress in your life and
- make it simpler to avoid entering or continuing to be in debt by avoiding surprises.
Having a plan lets you make informed choices on how you use your money.
So how do you start to understand where you spend your money? Develop a plan that
- firstly, you identify your core living expenses. For example, know how much you are spending on food, rent, mortgage payments, electricity, rates, telephone, medical insurances, insurances and put an estimate for taking of holidays and make sure you base these amounts by actually looking at the bill notices and receipts or your credit card and bank statements – maybe over a quarterly period then annualise them and total all the costs
- secondly, list down your income that you earn from your employment or business, interest or other investment income and total all income
- by subtracting the total costs from the total income will let you know your net cash position so you are now more informed and can identify how much you can regularly save or where you need to cut back on expenses. Also known as budgeting. This way you can be prepared for any abnormal expense items that pop up.
No two years are the same,so it is important to do this exercise yearly and review and compare to last year and then forecast your budget. This is a definite way to understand where all your money goes. To help you with budgeting log onto https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-tools/budget-planner
Tracey sharah is a CPA and tax agent with over 22 years experience working with businesses. Tracey has been running her own CPA Accounting practice in North Sydney METRO ACCOUNTING for 11 years. Over the years Tracey and her team at METRO have assisted her small business clients with strategies, tools and advice to assist them to be successful. These include business structuring, tax strategies, accounting system advice, integrating bookeeping services and SMSF set up and administration services. Tracey prides herself in being proactive and always available to her clients .www.metroaccounting.com.au