Good budgeting is not easy, and there are no shortcuts. A system for recording actual money coming in and going out is essential, as is adjusting habits to keep your debt under control. Find out about how you can improve your budgeting skills.

Planning your budget

Basic budgeting:
• Work out all your expenses
• Write down your short and long term goals
• Prioritise your expenses (wants and needs)
• Add up all income and expenditure in the Income and Expenditure Statement.

Keeping records

If you wish to develop good budgeting skills there are no shortcuts. A system for recording actual money coming in and going out is necessary to check if what you think you are doing is the same as what you are actually doing.

The amount of information you collect is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way, only your way.

Controlling your debt

If you find that you have been relying on credit to pay for some of your expenses, look closely at your priority list. What things do you think you can go without, at least until you can afford to pay for these things with cash? Arrange payments and adjust habits to keep your budget on track.

Reviewing your plan regularly

As time goes on, both good and bad changes will occur. You are likely to receive increases in income as well as unexpected costs. Changes create the need to review your plans.

Rewarding yourself

Finding the motivation and discipline to keeping on track with your plan is not easy. Give yourself a regular pat on the back, or a treat for reaching one of your goals.

Talk to a financial counsellor if you need help

Financial counsellors are available free of charge to the community to help you with any debt issues you may have, or just to help you prepare a personalised budget to suit your individual situation. Contact the Financial Counselling Helpline on 1800 007 007 for more information.