Budgeting isn’t exactly rocket science but drawing a plan for your monthly expenses and sticking to it is still easier said than done. Especially in the long run. We’ll share some bullet-proof hacks that help you stick to your monthly budget.
Here are seven simple ways to keep track of your expenses and make budgeting smart.
Plan all your expenses
If you already have a budget then you’ve probably learned that planning is everything. Starting from your monthly food expenses to buying new socks to spice up your gym wear – the more you can plan, the higher the probability for success.
Sure, there are going to be a few hiccups on the way and you’ll experience some backlash with some unexpected expenses, but don’t let them pull you off track. The important thing is to mark them down and be aware of them.
How to start planning properly? Start with short periods. If you’re a budgeting novice, then sticking to a weekly budget is easier than sticking to a monthly budget. So, we recommend taking some time every Sunday evening to go over next week’s necessary expenses and put everything down on paper. Or use an app, whichever suits you best.
In addition to the necessary expenses that need to be done, plan a little something for the unexpected. Then you won’t feel so bad for getting that cup of coffee from your favourite cafe.
When you have a plan in place for the upcoming week, go over your expenses from the last one. Was everything written down? How did you do?
Praise yourself for small wins
It’s important to highlight the good. If you did exceptionally well, stuck to your budget and even cut down your expenses, don’t forget to praise yourself for it. Noticing and celebrating these small wins gives you a dopamine boost, lifts the mood and helps to stay on track.
Reading recommendation: The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg
If you haven’t yet, make a list
Reaching your goals takes both willpower and discipline. Cut your goal into smaller pieces – instead of “I want to save about R20 000 in six months” make a monthly or even a weekly plan for yourself. “I want to save R4000 every month” seems far more reachable psychologically.
Motivating yourself with smaller goals is much easier than torturing yourself with seemingly unreachable goals. Plus, you’ll get to celebrate your wins much more often.
When you have a goal in place, make a list with actionable steps for reaching it. What do you actually need to do? What do you need to change? What do you need to continue doing?
Control your expenses with a savings account
For some of us, budgeting and saving money is easy, for some, it’s not. To cut down on those emotional and unnecessary expenses, it’s good to open a savings account for yourself. You can’t spend what you don’t have. Or what you have but what is locked away in a savings account that you can’t use on a daily basis.
Another tip related to daily banking – delete your credit card information from all online shops you’ve added it to. It’s a small step that makes spending a little bit more inconvenient. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up saving a decent amount of money just because you’re too lazy to type in those numbers again and again. Worth a shot!
Make saving automatic
After you’ve opened a savings account for yourself, set a monthly lump sum that will be transferred there automatically. Start with smaller sums that you can increase gradually – this way you’ll create a positive habit without constraining yourself too much.
The agile way of budgeting
Ever heard of agile working? One of its principles is to make regular and transparent check-ins to the project worked on. This way problems get solved before they start running down the hill like a snowball and everyone is constantly on the same page.
The same practice can be applied to budgeting and everyday expense control for it to succeed. Do constant check-ins and be honest about your progress.
So, you slipped and bought yourself a pair of “not-planned” jeans – don’t get flustered. Acknowledge it and don’t let it ruin the whole process. One unexpected and emotional purchase doesn’t mean that the whole budget is ruined. It just means that you perhaps need to cut down on some expenses next week.
This can’t be emphasised enough – budgeting and expense control succeed if you’re consistent. As annoying as it may be, you need to stay organised and write down everything you spend money on. There’s just no way around that. You may do it in your daily planner, add all the information to a spreadsheet or, luckily, in 2021, there are also apps for that. Here are a few to try out:
Pay less for comfortable rides
Ok, that’s all great but why are we at Bolt giving you a lesson on the finance ABCs? Valid question.
First, good money management is something that everyone can benefit from and we really like everyone.
Secondly, in many of our cities, there’s an option for you to enjoy the level of Bolt quality that you deserve, for even less. It’s a new ride-type called Bolt Go
So, whether you’re already actively budgeting or just starting your money-saving journey, we recommend you try it out!
If you haven’t downloaded our app yet, do it today for free to enjoy quick, convenient, safe and even more affordable rides. That sounds like a fair deal, right?!
Use Multiple Destinations to save as a group
You can now add up to 3 stops on your trip to collect your friends and family on the way to an event or any venue. Using multiple destinations means that you can save on trips as you can now ride together from different locations without having to individually request a ride. Saves you time and money!
Next time you need to add multiple addresses, tap on the ‘+’ on the right side of the address box to create an additional stop to your ride.
Watch out for our social media giveaways
Everybody loves a freebie and we give them out weekly. Save more on your already affordable rides by following us on social media and taking part in our giveaways to win free rides and so much more!
Need a ride? Go with Bolt
Whether you’re already a budgeting guru or just at the start of your expense tracking journey, either way we recommend giving Bolt balance a try. And be sure to let us know what you think!
If all this money talk made your head spin, we recommend taking a ride into nature and breathing some fresh air. Just download the app and get going!