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The importance (and benefits) of Budgeting
11 March 2021
I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers. I doubt that comes as a surprise to most people. Some would probably say ‘I should think so as an accountant!’, but my love for numbers, and I suppose money (and being good with it), stemmed from quite a young age.
From the second I got my first part time job, delivering newspapers at the ripe old age of 13, I had my own little source of income. What did 13 year old me want to buy? I wanted a huge (in those days) 37-inch plasma TV for my bedroom, so my parents saw an opportunity and taught me a lesson about money.
They purchased the TV for me, and I then had to pay them the money back over an agreed set amount of months. This was my first taste of ‘credit’ (mercifully with no interest!). As the months went on and I had to drag myself out in the wonderfully unpredictable British weather, I started to really begrudge that as soon as the money would hit my account each month, it’d be gone in the same breath. I hated it so much so that I took on a second paper round just so I could pay my debt off quicker!
Once that loan had been paid back, I vowed never to overstretch my affordability in the same way again. I hadn’t realised that my income wouldn’t stretch far enough to leave me with any money after the agreed amount had come out. A lesson learnt about agreeing better terms as well I suppose! I decided I needed a budget in order to be prepared for the next big purchase.
I took my total income for the month, deducted the confirmed bills that needed to be paid, only being my phone bill at that time (I know, sigh of sadness), then I took a small portion out to go straight into savings. With what was left, I divided into 2 amounts, the first was an emergency fund and the second was my ‘fun money’.
Here’s a small example…
Total Income – £150
Phone bill – £25
Savings – £50
Emergency – £25
Fun money – £50
Now, the ‘fun money’ was allocated to be spent on literally anything I wanted, if I chose to spend it all on sweets then that was just fine, because I knew the important things were taken care of. To this day I still use this principal. Before I knew it, I’d saved my deposit, could go on holidays and could still enjoy nights out without putting myself into debt or further from my savings goals.
I’ve kept the numbers simple and small for this article, but this principal can be used in any personal or business situation to help combat large unexpected bills, or just to reign in haphazard spending that may be leaving you ‘caught short’ at the end of each month. Nothing’s more important than planning your money effectively and ensuring there’s a plan for all contingencies. Whether it be for emergencies, day to day costs, or fun money – perhaps a small amount to treat the team to coffee, or lunch, there’s a need to have an official budget in place.
Money can be a really difficult thing to talk about, many don’t want to think about it and it’s a huge worry for some, so if this article helps even just one person to stop, take stock to evaluate their finances and gives them a better night sleep because of it then, I will take that as a small win, and will inform my parents their childhood lesson worked!
So, get in contact if you’d like to know more, or feel it’s time to put a budget in place, it’s never too late! Everyone needs some ‘Fun Money’ in their month!
Business owners need to consider what their potential risks are and how to manage them. Find out how here.