Achieving your financial goals faster with a budget

Creating a budget will help you hit those saving goals faster making that all-important home deposit much easier to reach.

First, work out your current income. For most of us, this is a matter of checking our payslip. It’s trickier if you’re a contractor or self-employed, or if your income varies wildly from month to month. Use your last tax return and work out your weekly net income (after business expenses, GST and PAYG). Include other sources of income such as interest from investments, government contributions and child support payments. Then work out your spending. It can be easy to underestimate how much you spend on a day-to-day basis. Take a good hard look at your bank statements. Go back over the past two or three months and make a note of everything you’ve paid for. It’s helpful if you group things into categories such as food, clothing, housing, transport, communication and insurance. From here you can work out your budget. There are many tools available online to help with this. Apps like Mint or Homebudget are a great way for you to gather all information in one place and track your spending. If you know you are prone to spending whatever money is in your bank account each month, it may be worth opening several different transaction accounts. In each account you can put a certain amount of money that is designated for certain things such as ‘socialising’ or ‘household expenses’. This will help you keep a handle on your spending so you can save faster and achieve your financial goals.