In this post we take a look at the benefits of keeping a money diary and the top 8 ways a budget planner can help you to take control of your finances. Let’s get into it!
1. Track Your Spending with a Money Diary
First things first: where on EARTH is your money going each month? Dollars are slippery things and can disappear without a trace. This is where your money diary comes in. It’s a bit of effort, granted, but keeping note of everything you earn and everything you spend is the best possible way to get a handle on your finances.
Money diaries are so popular these days that people are sharing theirs online in a bid to bring some transparency to a long hugh-hushed subject. While you certainly don’t have to share the details of your own money diary, checking out other people’s can be a great way to get some perspective about what’s going on in your own bank account!
2. Create a Budget Planner
We’re impulsive creatures, us human beings. Our best-laid plans are often dashed when our noses lead us into the nearest bakery or when we lose half our take-home pay to a magpie-ish love for shiny things.
One of the most powerful anti-spending tools at your disposal is a digital or physical budget planner. By writing down your weekly budget, you’re setting yourself up to seriously stick to it. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. Mental commitments are much easier to break than goals and plans that are written down.
3. Plan Your Money Movements
Money comes, money goes - this is the circle of life. But how much money comes, and how much money goes? Well that’s something we’d all do better to have a greater handle on. Planning your money movements is your next best step after deciding to create a budget planner. It essentially just means getting really pedantic about tracking what you are spending your dollars on and when, setting aside money for each month’s outgoings and putting systems in place to stop you spending more (such as automatic transfers to your savings accounts).
4. Manage Your Debts
Getting out of debt can feel really, really tough. But the fact is that well-planned, regular payments WILL see you through it eventually. Every step you take up that mountain, no matter how small, will see you closer to the top.
Keeping a money diary and creating a budget planner is an excellent way of managing your debts and loans so you have a clear path to financial freedom. Fill out your planner with payment dates, interest rates, and loan terms, and once it’s all down on paper, see if you can stretch to slightly bigger repayments each month. The sooner it’s paid off, the better!
5. Set Yourself Up for Savings Success
Are you putting a little aside each month and feeling happy about ‘saving’ some money? Having any savings at all is commendable, but ask yourself this: Am I really saving enough? If you wind up cleaning out your savings account in half a year’s time to go on holiday, then what will you do about that next big medical bill? Or further ahead - how will you pay your bills in retirement?
Your budget planner is the best place to set up some serious savings objectives and to plan out how you’re going to reach them.
6. Create Better Financial Habits
A better relationship with your money starts in the pages of your money diary or budget planner. Setting aside a dedicated space to monitor and plan your financial situation is an excellent first step towards a comfortable life and retirement. One of the most common financial bad habits people have is a tendency to ignore their finances, or let their situation coast along. Get a planner, get planning, and regain some control over one of the most important aspects of your life.
7. Set Aside Your ‘Nice-to-Haves’
This month I want a new car, a pony, and to eat out for dinner every single night. But just because I want all those things, doesn’t mean I should go out and get them. Keeping a dedicated page or two in your planner for the big-ticket items you’d love to buy is a great way of putting them on ice for now. By writing them down you’re acknowledging that they’re important to you, but also that they’re something to plan for, not simply to impulse buy. And if you’re lucky, you’ll check back on that page in a few weeks time and realize that you don’t want one or some of those things anymore after all!
8. Make Goals
You’ve got to dream big in life, especially when it comes to money, cos you’re gonna need a lot of that stuff! Use a page in your budget planner or money diary to lay out your broad financial goals. Writing them down will help you keep your eye on the prize and to weave your financial goals in with your broader professional and personal plans too.
Create a Budget Planner or Money Diary Today!
There should be nothing stopping you from starting your very own money diary today - it really is the easiest life change you can make. All you need is a good dose of self-motivation to start tracking everything you bring in each day, week, and month, and everything that goes out. By keeping a money diary you’ll quickly start to see where you’re bleeding cash - whether it be the cost of your daily cup of coffee, or expensive trips to the hair salon.Once you’ve got a good idea of your current spending habits, you can create a budget planner to set yourself up some better financial habits! Our digital budget planner is an amazing tool for doing just that - you can read more about it and download it here.