, ,

Making a budget can save you a lot of money in the long run. It really gives you an idea of how much you actually spend. At first you might think “oh, well there’s rent and a bit of food, I’ll manage even if I lose my job.” But no, there is so much more that we don’t think about right away.

You don’t even need a fancy budget program or anything to get your budget started. I am a pc user and I use Excel to set up my budget. Excel is a simple calculator that lets you see what is going on. That’s the easiest way to put it.

My budget contains first my income, then the expenses that are the same every month, like rent, electricity (this one is roughly the same every month), insurance, bank fees and internet. Then adjustable posts, like food, hygiene, transportation, pets and other posts that are not the same every month. At the end I have the total of income minus expenses. Each month has a column and everything adjusts automatically when I change the amount in any post. At the end of each row I can see how much each post costs me per year. It is easy to view your budget this way.

All my adjustable posts are 0 at the beginning of the month, as I adjust them when I buy something. That way I get to look at my budget several times in a month. I have an idea of how much I am willing to spend every month and my goal is of course to spend as little as possible.

Clothes doesn’t have a post in my budget, it is covered in “other”. I don’t shop for clothes very often and when I do, I go to thrift stores to keep the expenses at a minimum. And because I like how nothing is ever the same in a thrift store.

If you need help to set up a simple budget in Excel, feel free to contact me and I will gladly make a template for you adjusted to your needs.

One thing that I took out of my budget was my contact lenses, like I mentioned previously. When I saw my budget I realized that my subscription was costing me about 300 dollars per year! I am not that vain! Since my sight is only a -1.25 and I don’t need any sort of special glasses I can wear cheap reading glasses. I found that it was difficult to find reading glasses that were minus anything, but my optician happened to have a frame that cost me around 15 dollars and since I was already a customer, they didn’t charge me for the glass. So check with opticians and see what they have to offer you. I use Specsavers, which seem to be in most of Scandinavia, England and Spain. I found that in Denmark Specsavers is called Louis Nielsen, so perhaps the company has a different name in other places of the world too.

Another thing I use my budget for is to write down things that I want to save up for – and how much those things cost. I also add how much I put into savings. That gives me an idea of how much I can expect to save up for a specific period of time.

Have you set up a budget? Do you do anything differently?