You can achieve financial independence by utilising four instruments, namely: credit, saving, insurance and a budget says Rose Miller, grants manager at JN Foundation and head of the JN BeWise Financial Programme.
A budget is an important and effective way of achieving and accessing the other three instruments, and preparing and sticking to your budget is not as difficult as some people say. Here are four tips from Mrs Miller on how to effectively prepare and maintain a budget:
- Know the difference between needs and wants– Establish the difference between your needs and wants and focus on making only necessary purchases each month. Buying what you don’t need can end in you going over your budgeted expenditure.
- Identify and eliminate unnecessary spending– In preparing your budget, make a physical note of all unnecessary expenditure and remove them from your monthly expenses, as these additional funds could be put towards your savings or emergency funds.
- Keep your budget realistic and flexible- Be realistic about your actual expenses. Do not overstate or understate your monthly expenditure, as this can throw off your budget. Create your budget with flexibility and adaptability. An emergency is fund is very crucial in this regard as it facilitates unexpected expenses.
- Put the budget in writing- Finally, write down your budget. You can use pen and paper, document it on your phone or use a budgeting app. Some budgeting apps you could use are: Fudget, You Need Budget and Mint. Writing down your budget helps you to keep physical track of your expenditure and maintain your budgeting plan.