Pay by card, and don’t count every penny.
Keeping a budget by all the rules is difficult. In the evening after work, you don’t want to sit and spend in the accounting department, and if you miss at least one evening, everything gets lost, and the incentive to continue disappears. And something else does not always add up: expenses are lost, and it seems that nothing is working out.
Here are some tips on keeping a budget, even if you don’t have the time and effort.
Automate the process with apps
Many home bookkeepers require all expenses to be entered manually. It is very tiring and takes a lot of time and effort – it is difficult to endure even a week. Some entrust the accounting to a spouse, but you can delegate this not to people but programs.
For smartphones, some applications automatically calculate your spendings, such as Zen Money or KeepFinance. They read SMS and synchronize with the bank, record all non-cash expenses and receipts – in general, they manage your budget themselves.
Read also: How to Organize a Party on a Budget.
Apps even categorize spending, such as adding grocery purchases to the “Products” section. Sometimes they are wrong, but this can always be corrected manually – it is more convenient than just entering data.
Such programs will be useful for those who have several cards from different banks and spend a lot of cash. If there is only one card, you can just put a mobile bank. Most of them now know how to calculate the budget, record income and expenses, distribute expenses by category, and keep statistics.
Pay by credit card
To keep track of cash usage, you have to store many receipts and fill in everything manually – even automation apps won’t help. Therefore, it is much more convenient to pay as much as possible with a card, especially since cashless payments have appeared in almost every kiosk.
If you cannot completely switch to non-cash, then there are two ways easier to account for cash:
- Take off a little and immediately write this amount into an expense without a category. Even if a couple hundred remain in the wallet by the end of the month, this will not affect the overall budget too much.
- Shoot in any quantity, but do not make every waste. It is enough to look into the wallet a couple of times a week and add general expenses to the application without dividing it into purchases. This will work if you mainly play by card – otherwise, there will be too many uncategorized financial movements in the budget.
Don’t worry if you missed spending.
If you forgot to enter expenses one or two times, there is no need to panic and quit keeping the budget. Just look at the amounts in the account and add expenses without category to adjust the balance. Or estimate that you only went to buy groceries on these two missed days, and enter the expense in the “Products” section.
Also read: How to Save up for an Apartment
If your bookkeeping is done automatically, it is unnecessary to check the category’s correctness after each purchase. You can look into the application every few days and, by the name of the store, remember what exactly you spent on.
You don’t need to consider every penny. Even rough budgeting helps a lot.
Never mind the little thing.
Small-denomination metal money is a real curse for the budget. It is tough and dreary to recount a trifle and keep track of how much you spent it. Here’s how to get this item out of your budget:
- If you gave the seller 100 rubles in cash and were given 20 rubles in change, write to the accounting department that you spent a hundred and ignore trifles.
- If you paid somewhere with that kind of money, do not add it to spend at all.
- When there are too many small items, exchange them in the store for a paper equivalent.
Build complexity gradually
Budgeting is about keeping track of income and expenses, making planned expenses, setting financial goals, and many more difficult things. But if you try to do everything at once, you are likely to get confused and end up abandoning home accounting altogether.
Better to start with something easy – record all income and expenses to see the movement of money. Gradually, it will be possible to increase the complexity: carefully sort expenses by category, plan expenses, set a budget for the month and year. But it should be done when you get used to it, and yourself want to get more control over your money.
Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff
Sources: Life hacker