A First Timers Guide to Budgeting and Saving

Personal Excellence | Published: Thu 15 February 2018

Mum and Dad no longer financially supporting you the way they used to? You may have just moved out of home or graduated from school, your parents leaving you to stand on your own two feet when it comes to the costs of living.

Budgeting and saving money can often be very daunting, especially for a first timer, breaking free from Mum and Dad. It doesn't have to be as scary as you think though! We've put together a few simple tips and tricks you can adopt to help you efficiently manage and save your money.

A budget is a document which you can produce that helps to keep track of your regular income and your regular expenses. This is the money you earn and the money you spend almost every week, fortnight or month (depending upon the time frame you use for your budget).
There are a number of tools online which can help you to create a budget however it is also very simple to create on a word or excel document or even by hand. Just make sure it is kept in a safe place for your reference, and so it can be updates as needed. 
When creating your budget ensure you have a list of your income and a list of your expenses, making sure to have a 'Total' at the bottom of each list. From here you can work out how much 'spare' money or disposable income you have by subtracting your total expenses from your total income.
If this value is negative it means that your expenses are exceeding your income. You will either need to assess what you're spending your money on and whether it's necessary or find an additional form of income.
If it is positive you are managing your money effectively. Any disposable income you have can then either be saved or spent on additional luxuries, depending on your preferences and any future plans.
Once you have created your budget this will no doubt offer a sense of relief as you can clearly see and understand your financial position.
*** Please make sure that if you choose to use an online tool to create your budget you do not provide any of your bank details!
 Saving goes hand in hand with budgeting. Whilst having disposable income in your budget is excellent it is generally a good idea not to spend it all at once. Saving money will ensure that you have money available for any unforeseen circumstances which may arise in the future.
If you're unsure of ways that you can save money or maybe you want to maximize your savings, below is a list of very simple methods you can adopt in regards to saving money.
  1. One of the simplest methods is to plan on saving! When creating your budget you can include a section in your expenses list titled 'Savings'. This is an amount which you will regularly put aside, perhaps in a savings account, that you will not spend unless it is vital.
  2. Another good method for saving is to choose something to save for. If you have something you want to purchase, perhaps a car or a holiday, make sure you keep this in mind whenever it comes to budgeting and spending money. Choosing something to save for provides you with a goal and something fun or important to aim for.
  3. Set up your own savings account, if you don't already have one, or create a jar for loose change. Regularly adding to these, even in very small denominations, will eventually add up. Make sure you regularly keep track of how much is in your savings account or loose change jar as watching the sum slowly increase will no doubt spur you on and encourage you to keep saving.
  4. Make money off your hobbies. You might have a skill which you really enjoy using whether it be cooking, coaching or painting. There are many avenues you can use to sell these kinds of skills it is just a matter of jumping online or asking around and seeing how you can do so.
  5. People often spend money on things they don't need without realizing and before they know it the amount of money they have to save is limited. Try sitting down and looking at your budget's list of expenses and identifying whether you think they are all integral in your life. It is very obvious that some of them will be however it is also obvious that some of them are not. For example if you're the type of person who buys their lunch everyday why not try bringing it from home. this could be as simple as making extra at dinner time the night before and bringing leftovers, or doing a big batch cook on a Sunday for the week ahead. Another example is buying your daily coffee from a café. We all know that instant coffee is no substitute for a barista made masterpiece and that is not what we're asking here. A simple change could be; if you buy two coffees a day maybe cut back to one, or even the savings from a downsize will add up over time!
  6. If you're after a new piece of clothing or tech researching online is a simple strategy you can use to ensure you are getting the right price. Many different brands and companies offer the same of very similar products so make sure you do your research to ensure you are not spending more than you should be.
  7. Due to the nature of grocery shopping, going through and searching every item from your shopping list online in order to find the best value is often not a time effective or sane option. It could also mean having to go to a number of different super markets which is again a very timely exercise particularly if they don't all exist at the same shopping centre. Instead save money by making simple switches like swapping your South Cape Danish Style Fetta for Woolworths Danish Fetta, you won't notice much difference in flavor however you could save dollars not just cents. Also make sure you have a shopping list and are not hungry whenever you go to the supermarket, this keeps you on track and you are therefore less likely to buy things which are not on your list.
  8. The final method you can use to help you with saving is using an app. There are many free apps available which can help you monitor your financial progress. It is a matter of having a look through the options and finding out what works best for you! * Again, if choosing this method do not provide any of your bank details!

There you have it! Budgeting and saving doesn't have to be a hugely complex and daunting task. A few simple efforts now can help you tremendously in the long run whilst also ensuring you stay in a healthy financial position as you venture into the world of income and expenses on your own.

WAIS athletes, if you have any further questions or need further tips for budgeting and saving your money make sure you get in contact with the WAIS Personal Excellence staff who are always willing to help! 

  • Annika Lee-Jones