Budget planner: 10 tips to keep your budget in balance

Clever minds predict that our economy is gradually moving in the right direction again. Still, a little caution is in order, at least if you want to get through the crisis unscathed. Thanks to these ten tips, you can keep your budget in balance all year round.

1. Keep an eye on your fixed costs

Rent, water, gas, electricity… Unfortunately, we cannot ignore it. Therefore, put all these fixed costs in a list, for example in Excel, so that you can estimate the amount you will have to pay every month. This way you avoid nasty surprises and, in the worst case, the arrival of some bailiff.

2. Cash? The less the better!

Just because you want to have fun doesn’t mean you have a hole in your hand. But what has been proven is that you spend more if you have a lot of bills and change in your pocket. Impulsive purchases are easier to avoid if there isn’t a huge amount of money in your wallet. Logically, too: while you’re looking for an ATM, give yourself time to think.

3. Spread your monthly budget

Are you also having a hard time making ends meet at the end of the month? Then this trick can help: subtract all fixed costs from your budget , and divide what remains into four equal parts. This way you’ll always have something left to eat, and who knows, you might even be able to throw off that nice sweater. Okay, ‘foils’ are excluded in this way, but there is another solution for that.

4. Allow yourself a splurge every now and then

Unforeseen splurges can throw your budget out of whack. That is why it is interesting to keep a portion, no matter how small, aside for this specific purpose. If you feel like giving yourself a present or going out for a nice meal with your loved one, you don’t have to feel guilty afterwards.

5. Buy smart

Shopping every day is not a good idea. After all, there is a good chance that you will soon throw away the leftovers after a tasty meal. Try to draw up a menu and, for example, go shopping every ten days. Over time you will naturally develop the reflex to see what ‘treasures’ can still be found in the refrigerator or freezer. Rest assured: the budget you spend on food will go down this way! And then of course there is that good old trick: carefully compare prices when you are in the store.

6. Take stock of the situation

Yet it is not with your supermarket budget that you will make the biggest difference. For example, have you ever taken the time to check your insurance policies ? In most Belgian households there are many ‘double’ policies. So you can certainly use that pointless expenditure for something better. In this way, also subject all your other expenditure items to a critical eye and judge whether they have become redundant: internet on your mobile phone, while you never check your emails while on the road? Get rid of it!

7. Write down your expenses

No doubt it is a matter of psychology. But by carefully recording your expenses, even that half-euro bar of chocolate, you ensure that you spend more time thinking about each purchase. You take the time to consider whether a purchase is really necessary and that helps you balance your budget.

8. Think about priorities

Do you need new shoes and is your car begging for major maintenance? Then trade your pricey movie night for a board game this month. You can also have a fantastic dream evening with a nice, borrowed DVD and some home-made popcorn: bet that your children will enjoy this as much as the latest Pixar film in the cinema?

9. Don’t buy on credit

Buying what you like is not difficult these days. More and more retail chains offer a credit card that makes your dream come true in less than twenty minutes. But be careful that you don’t end up in a street without an end. The interest rates on these types of loans are often hallucinatingly high. Moreover, the temptation to buy something quickly often wins over your willpower.

10. Set goals first

We quickly regard a good resolution as something unpleasant, something that prevents you from doing what you want. Keep in mind that all these efforts are not just about paying off a loan. Also treat yourself to something fun with the money you have saved. Make holiday plans, or look forward to purchasing a new salon. That gives you the power to really balance your budget!