When you become a client of Marsh Financial Advice, one of the first things we get all our clients to do is a budget. This is a crucial part of our financial advice process as it allows us to determine how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out. We then use this information to help assess which financial advice strategies might work best for you.
There is no judgement from us when it comes to your money. What you spend your money on is as individual as you are. What I am passionate about is supporting you to ensure that you are spending your money on the things that matter most to you, and that your money is helping you achieve your what you want from your life.
You might find the idea of putting together a budget daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple tips to make it a really easy process:
- Download the Money Smart Budget Planner. This is our favourite, free budget planner. It is simple and easy to use and you can download it here.
- Figure out what you earn. For most of us this is reasonably simple as we only have one or two sources of income, including our wages. The key is to make sure you include all regular payments you receive including dividends or any Centrelink payments.
- Figure out what you spend. There are several ways to do this.
a. My preferred option is to download three months of transactions from internet banking into Excel and put each month on a separate sheet. I then used Excel's 'sort' function to put similar transactions from each month together, put a category beside each one, such as food, and then add each category up. Make sure you look at the budget spreadsheet for which categories to use.
b. Other ideas to figure out what you are spending include,
i. writing down everything you spend for a month;
ii. using the TrackMySpend App (download it here);
iii. collecting all your receipts and bills for a couple of months.
- Fill out the budget spreadsheet for every category of spending relevant to you. For variable expenses, those that change from month to month, such as your supermarket shopping, you can take an average over the last three months to get an idea of your spending. For expenses that occur once a year, you can simply put the annual figure into the planner and it will calculate the weekly/monthly/quarterly amount depending on how you want to view it. Really simple.
- A budget is an important part of understanding your finances. Creating a budget is easier than you think. It is a powerful tool to help you understand exactly where your money is going and prioritise your spending going forward. This will ensure your money is helping you achieve what you want from your life.
I hope you found this post helpful.
This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. It does not represent and is not intended to be personal advice. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. We strongly suggest that you seek professional financial advice before acting.