Budgeting Grid : The best budgeting technique

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Table of Content

  • Introduction.
  • Why do we need to budget?
    • 1.Being in control feels good.
    • 2.You don’t what to miss on investment opportunities.
  • Let’s budget the heck out of your finances.
      1. Pen and paper or Spreadsheet.
      1. Budget grid 1.0.
  • Conclusion.
  • Credits.

Introduction

Budgeting can feel like a chore to most of us, especially to the ones for whom they never tasted its benefits. When you read about budgeting you start thinking about saying no to that nice dinner with your girlfriend, or alone if you are single like me. Believe me, you would say no, but not to the dinner and treating yourself and your girlfriend (I envy you are not single 😃), but you would say no to the other unnecessary expenses that would take that nice dinner away.

We all need help, prioritizing our spending is not easy to get right from the start, especially if we kept this as a mere thought without a concrete plan to implement it. That’s why planning our spending is key to our success in living a more financial-free life.

In this article, I will share with you a technique that I started using to help me get closer to financial freedom.

Why do we need to budget?

If you are reading this post, then you must have felt tired of living paycheck to paycheck, I know what that feeling is like. You have no savings, you always are praying that no emergency will pop up neither in your family nor into one of your friend’s, and you are always depending on a loan from a friend or a relative to help in time of need, be it your mother is sick and she needs medical care as soon as possible and you don’t have much time to ask your friend for help, or a friend of yours is in a tight spot financially and he needs your help.

If you are not convinced yet about the importance of planning your spending, here are some reasons that will help you convince yourself. I hope :

Being in control feels good

Life is hard, and also unpredictable, difficulties appear when we are less prepared. So it is better to have a financial safety net if I may say, dealing with a health problem is hard, and yet dealing with a health problem and not having much savings to deal with it is harder.

Budgeting your spending will give you the feeling that you are prepared for whatever life will throw at you. and that feeling my friend is like walking on a zip-line between two buildings (i.e life) and knowing that you have a safety net under, that you are sure it will make your landing safe, (not that I zip-lined before, but I watched a movie about it 🙂)

You don’t what to miss on investment opportunities

Living paycheck to paycheck sucks, you will miss on a lot of opportunities. believe me when I say that because I used to live that way. I did miss a lot of chances to make my money work for me, not the other way around, working for my money I meant. and the reason for missing those opportunities is that I didn’t have any money saved to invest in Cryptocurrency, hence having financial freedom. I remember when the market started to get public attention in late 2020, it was a really good chance for me to make good money out of it, but instead all I did was watch people make nice profits because I had 0 MADs in my savings account.

if you want to read about my experience with Cryptocurrency here is the link for it.

Now that know some of the reasons why budgeting is good even if you hate it at the start, let’s get our hands dirty, in the next section we will talk about what this post’s title is about, (how to get rich in 30 seconds, just kidding ).

Let’s budget the heck out of your finances

Before we start there are a couple of things we should agree on, first budgeting requires discipline, because as you will see from budgeting your first month, You will have to make some serious changes to some of your expenses, especially the ones that are draining your income each month. and that in other to reach the financial freedom you want.

Second, making a budgeting technique works depends mostly on being honest with yourself either when you are listing your monthly expenses and what they cost, or when want to cut down on the expenses that can be adjustable to a lower amount.

Third and last, you might be asking yourself, what is the goal behind budgeting and putting the time and effort into it? that is a really good question, this article has only one goal, and that is giving you the budgeting technique so that you are left with a modest sum in your savings account.

Now let’s get our hands (and keyboard) dirty, below are the steps for a good budgeting habit, follow at your own pace, don’t rush things.

1. Pen and paper or Spreadsheet

you know it is totally up to you if you prefer using a pen and paper for this kind of stuff, but from my experience, it is better to use a spreadsheet, and if better yet you use an online spreadsheet, something like Google Sheets is good.

An Online spreadsheet gives you the freedom to access it from anywhere that has an internet connection, be that you work/home computers or your smartphone, so that anytime you remember something you can add it to the budget spreadsheet,

2. Budget grid 1.0

Now take the spreadsheet or pen and paper, the budget grid will have 4 columns. One for the name of the expense (i.e, electricity bill ), the second column is what I spend now, then a third column for what I could spend, and the last column is how much I’d save. I will explain each one of the columns later, but first here is an empty template you can copy

Budgeting grid template

Figure 1: Budgeting grid template

Total take-home income

Is your post-tax income, meaning, the money you left with after the government has taken its right.

Spending

Is the column where you’ll put every expense that you should pay monthly. no matter how small that expense is if you pay it every month it goes into the list.

What I spend now

Is the estimated amount that you currently pay for the listed expenses, if you can’t know the exact amount, it is recommended to overestimate than underestimate.

What I could spend

This column is very important. After you start taking your budgeting seriously, you’ll notice that some expenses paid amount can be reduced to a lower amount. this is why I divided the grid into three categories :

  1. Fixed: is the category where you have no room for cutting down on expenses
  2. Easily adjustable: is for stuff like eating out which you can keep under control with cooking at home. And this area will make reaching your saving target feasible.
  3. Adjustable: is for bills and expenses that you can have a bit of control over, things like using energy-saving light bulbs, and managing your cash allowance better.

And I added a subtotal to each category so that you can see each category’s total.

Total spending

You can use the =SUM() excel math function to know each month’s total expenses.

Beginning savings

Here is where the good stuff starts to appear, to get the number of dollars you would be saving each month with this budgeting grid, it is as simple as subtracting your Total take-home income from your total spending amount.

Total = Total take Home income - Total Spending

New savings

Now that you have filled the What I spend Now Column, it is time to update our grid by filling in the What I could spend and How much I’d save columns

updated budgeting Grid

Figure 2: updated Budgeting grid template with New savings column

As you can see from the figure above, I added a New Savings Total, which is the sum of What I spend Now amount minus What I could spend amount subtraction.

Don’t worry if you are a bit lost, I’ll share with you my real numbers of the December 2021 budget grid.

REAL WORLD BUDGET GRID IN (MAD) CURRENCY

Figure 3: My current December budgeting grid

The difference between Beginning savings and New Savings is what should catch your eyes. as you can see I managed to save an additional 750 MAD each month.

a side note, that Total spending + saving is just to check that my spending added to my savings equals my total-take home income.

Conclusion

Adjusting your financial life for the better is not easy to accomplish overnight, it is all about taking small steps, start with observing your expenses when you write them down, then start adjusting your spending and expenses one at a time. hence your new habit is transformed into a lifestyle.


Credits

The One Week Budget by Tiffany Aliche. grab a copy from Amazon