Have you been struggling to budget or save? Do you wind up every year with nothing but clearly have been working hard?
This has been my struggle since I started working. Our economy is not the best of economies right now which makes it difficult to budget or save but I always wondered how others did it.
It was until I came across Lyapa Mbewe, a Zambian Financial Planner. She is everything you would want to be, goals you would call it today. She has good sound advice on financial planning and saving. Below is an excerpt she did on budgeting that could help you today. It’s not too late.
Change of Habits| Bare-Bones Budget
People are creatures of habits and spending money is no exception. We shop at the same stores, eat in the same restaurants and drive the same car, because it’s comfortable. It’s also costing you more than you can handle financially.
If you won’t change your spending habits, you won’t ever get out of debt. Start with your morning habits have your breakfast at home. Go to lunch with a pre-packed lunch box, not your wallet. In the evening, watch your soccer or movies on TV, while eating a home cooked meal. You will see an immediate impact on your daily spending habits don’t have to do without. You just have to make better choices with what you do.
If you really want to pay down debt faster, you’ll need to cut your expenses as much as you can. One tool you can create and use is a “Limited Budget” With this strategy, you’ll cut your expenses as low as they can go and live on as little as possible for as long as you can.
For this time only, as you sort your debt, attempting to live in what is Called a “Bare Bones Budget😢” will help tremendously.
Step 1: Nail down your spending from previous months.
To figure out where your money is going, look at your bank statements and look back to where your money went last month. Put all of your regular expenses in common sense categories and add them up. Some potential categories can include things like food, utility bills, transportation, clothes, restaurants, and rent or mortgage. Create other categories as needed and figure out how much you’re spending in each total for the previous two months. Make sure to include debt repayment in its own category so that you know exactly how much you owe each month.
Step 2: Slash non-essential expenses.
Once you’ve categorized your spending from the previous two months, it’s time to see what you could live without. And that’s where the term “bare bones” comes into the equation.
Essential expenses are things like rent payment, utilities, and transportation costs, while non-essential expenses include new outfits for work, dinners so on. Basically, anything you could live without is a non-essential expense, so keep that in mind as you figure out how to get everything down.
Step 3: Dig a little deeper.
Remember, a bare-bones budget is supposed to be how it sounds stripped down to the essentials: shelter, food, and basic living expenses. If it hurts a little to cut so deep, it’s only because it’s supposed to.
Step 4: List your new bare-bones expenses
Once we’ve the needs vs. wants , it’s time to create a new monthly budget based only on your basic, core expenses. Everyone’s bare-bones budget will look different, but most will follow the same general outline. We all need a place to live, the utilities turned on, basic transportation, and food in the fridge, but everything else is optional. Your budget should reflect that.
A bare-bones budget will look different for everyone, but it should be devoid of any “extras” like going out to eat, Tv Subscription, unnecessary spending. While you’re living on a strict budget, you should be able to pay considerably more toward your debt.
😊Remember, bare-bones budgets are only meant to be temporary. Once you’re out of debt or a lot closer to your goal you can start adding discretionary spending back into your monthly plan.
By Lyapa Mbewe.