Some people are great with money, others need a little help. I know I did. People often ask us how we can afford to travel, and how we save money. It’s much easier than you might think, and I’m going to show you how. These simple steps work for any kind of budgeting goal, but we highly recommend travel, for obvious reasons! This weekly budget planner is what we used to reach the goals needed to live this lifestyle.
What Are you Spending?
Go to your online banking and pull up your statement for the last three months. Write down or print out each thing you spent money on in the month. Include everything, from your credit card and debit card. Also, see how much money you have taken out of your account for spending cash.
Write down all of the payments coming out of your account for necessities.
These include: Mortgage, property tax, Rent, Utilities (Power, heat, water), Internet, Cell Phone Bill, Insurance, necessary groceries, gym memberships (or other workout activities), necessary clothing, Transportation (gas for car, train/bus tickets), hair appointments, childcare and anything you really need to keep going.
Calculate your Income
Check out how much income you made for the month. If you received that surprise cheque in the mail that your grandmother sent you for your birthday, don’t write that. Overtime hours? Don’t include those either. Only write the total income you make every month. If you’re married or have a partner that you share the bills with, include their income as well.
Set Your Goals
Now take your total income for the month and subtract your total necessary spending. This is pretty standard budgeting, right?
What do You Have to Work With
How much money do you need/want to save? Do you have a specific date or deadline? If you have a date and an amount that you need to save, that’s great! Take that number and divide it by the number of months until the deadline. Does that amount fit into the amount you have leftover per month?
If so, great. Take the amount you need to put aside per month and the rest is your spending money until then. If not, you’re going to have to either adjust your savings goal to something manageable or consider taking on a side hustle or two.
If you don’t have a deadline or dollar amount in mind, just do exactly what I did to save money.
Now, this part is up to you. You can cut out your unnecessary spending totally (which is not fun or realistic) or you can use a version of the method above. Simply take 50% of the total, after necessities, and put it directly into savings as soon as you get paid. Get it out of sight immediately. Forget about it. Take the number that you have allowed yourself for the month and divide that into 4, so you can see how much you are allowed per week. (Since this is a WEEKLY budget planner)
Both of these options ultimately reduce the leftover money into somewhat of an allowance. They make you more conscious to what you actually spend your money on and helps cut out the mindless spending.
Now, this might be a panic moment for you if you don’t have very much spending cash left over. If 50% seems a bit high for you and you feel this isn’t enough fun, then take a lesser amount. It will just take you longer to reach your goals. However, if your ultimate goal is worth it, you’ll be able to make a few sacrifices.
Cash is King
What I did, was once a month I would take the cash out of my bank (my allowance) and have that as my spending money. I would allow myself a certain amount in my wallet per week. I also kept a jar in my closet. Any money from my ‘allowance’ that I didn’t spend, I would put it in the jar at the end of each week.
Managing your Spending
Now that you find yourself with a lot less spending cash, you’ll need to figure out what is actually important.
Back in the first section I mentioned going through your bank statement and looking at what your spending money on. First, you took note of any necessities that you simply can’t avoid spending on. Now, have a look at the leftovers and determine what you could easily live without.
For some, it could be that fancy coffee you drink every day. It could be going out for lunch, having a post-work beer, or unnecessary Amazon clothing purchases. Actually sitting down and looking at what you spend on nonsense each month can be a humbling experience. In a world where anything can be purchased with the tap of a card, it’s easy for spending to get out of control.
Check out how many times you ate out, spent money on random stuff, and write them down. Now add up all of those random spendings. I know when I did this, I was surprised how much I was unconsciously spending. Take a good look at this and think about how you can make changes to your habits. It’s much easier than you think.
Instead of taking an Uber for that 10-minute drive, think of walking 25 minutes, exercise and saving money, win-win. All that extra cardio can justify eating more street food when you finally get on the vacation you’re saving for!
On top of this weekly budget planner we made some lifestyle changes to save money, as well. To see them click here.