Living on a budget

We’ve all been there. That time of the month when you begin to realize that your bank statement is due, and you purposefully avoid bringing the mail in so that you don’t have to face up to how little is left in your account this month. I generally dread the daily sms that my bank sends me whenever my balance is below Rs.5000. Every day after my balance reaches Rs. 4999 and below at precisely 9:05am my cell phone buzzes to the balance sms. It keeps doing that until payday. The countdown to payday is crucial. Buying those six DVDs from fortress just seemed like such a good idea at the time! Why does everything have to cost so much nowadays? 

Well, we all like to buy stuff, there’s no denying that. But there are ways to get at least some of the things you want without using over and above your available resources each month. So formulating a spending plan doesn’t sound like your idea of fun – but don’t you want that feeling of freedom that comes with accurately estimating how much money you have to spend, by planning your purchases, and not being afraid of your finances?
A thrifty budget can help more than you think it’s going to hurt!

Okay, So Tell Me Again How This Isn’t Going To Hurt…

The notion of sitting down and planning all the things you can’t buy doesn’t sound like much fun, but by coming up with a thrifty budget and by allotting various allowances to each of the things you are likely to spend money on can truly help you to gain a sense of power over your finances. While an attitude of handing out money when you need to might seem a lot less painless than sticking to a spending plan, wouldn’t you love to be able to have some money to spend on the things you love without having to fear the arrival of mailman or the beep of the sms at the end of each month? With a little forward planning, you can achieve this.

So be brave and sit down with your checkbook. Look at how much money you spend each month on regular outgoings, like rent, groceries, Petrol / CNG, utilities and so on. Plan to set aside an allowance for each of these things, and put the money in a separate account if you have to, so that you can’t spend it. It might seem painful now to have to allocate so much money to these basic things, but ultimately you will save in bank charges, and you will feel so much better knowing where your money is going. Anticipating the cost of things is much more cost effective than allowing your finances go into the red.

The way to be thrifty is to plan it. And while it might not seem like fun initially, by sitting down and planning a budget, you are facing up to the money you spend, which makes it easier to see where you can make savings. And once you are in control of your finances, you will begin to see your savings add up. And pretty soon you will have some money to spend that won’t leave you deathly afraid to greet the mailman! J

I was speaking to friend on this topic and me mentioned that he started on a similar program. He started to keep a little black note book in his pocket and whenever he would make a payment, he would note the amount and the purpose. After a month he was surprised to note that the maximum amount was spent on unplanned snacks at work. He immediately stopped buying snacks at work. This contributed to a substantial saving. He then approached all higher figures in the black book in a similar manner and managed to budget the expenses and add substantial savings in a few months.
Good luck with your savings. I just started and need all the luck I can get J

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