When it comes to personal finance, there is no better time to budget than the last quarter of the year. Not only is the festive season looming on the horizon, but the last few months often require more financial focus due to the variety of unexpected expenses that occur.
Social engagements, school commitments, end-of-year office parties, and annual holidays are just a few of the elements which require attention in the last few months of the year, and have the potential to leave you financially stranded if not management properly.
While there is no denying the fact that we all, from time to time, spend money on lottery tickets and feel disappointed when the national lottery results are released and look wildly unfamiliar to the set that sits on our tickets, it is important to take note of the fact that budgeting is a necessary evil. While it may seem tedious, budgeting can mean the difference between an enjoyable summer season and solemn financial anxiety.
Often, people turn away from budgeting due to the love-hate relationship – it is something that sits at the top of our priority list because we understand just how important it is, but three months later, it is a distant memory that only rears its head around New Year when we try (and fail) to be more financially responsible. However, if we take into consideration the responsibilities and obligations of the last quarter of the year, we realise the importance of a stringent and well-planned budget.
If you feel that you may need to fine-tune your budgeting skills, take a look at the following tips that are sure to guide you towards a more financially stable summer quarter.
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1. Admitting the Truth: Budgeting is Tough
There is no denying the fact that budgeting, in any form, is tough! The idea of having to limit your social engagements, refuse the kids another weekend of movies, or cut down on unnecessary groceries can be difficult – we understand the necessity but the execution can leave us feeling defeated.
The first step to successful budgeting is to admit and acknowledge the truth.
2. Get Your Priorities in Check
If we take a look at financial portioning, there are three main items that are prioritised and these are housing, transportation and food. However, it is important to take into consideration the different priorities that you may have.
Before you can begin with your budget, it is important to make a list of all of your priorities – be sure to add any financial responsibilities such as debit orders and debt repayments as you cannot afford to fall behind on these obligations.
3. Set a Budget
Once you have listed all of your priorities, it is important to take a look at how much money you have remaining.
It is important to allocate a portion of this remaining sum to an interest bearing account to ensure that you are simultaneously building up your savings – what remains is what you have left to work with.
Think of your daily activities, your weekly routine and your monthly schedule; it is important to establish on which activities you spend frivolously and on which activities you can save money.
Be sure to set limitations and, while doing so, think of the money that you’ll be saving.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, be sure to turn your budgeting into a habit – you’ll be grateful that you did!