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MONEY HABITS

How to set up a personal budget plan

3 December 2018

Do you take budgeting your money seriously? Congratulations, you’re already ahead of many Australians. And rightly so. With household bills rising higher, managing a budget is definitely high on the average household’s radar.

When an unexpected curve ball inevitably gets thrown your way, setting a personal budget plan can help. Here, we’ll take you through setting up a personal budget plan so you can start to get on top of your money and work towards some financial goals.

Adjust your sights: set a savings goal

Anyone qualified to help you with your money will more than likely ask about your goals. Setting your goals and the steps you will take to achieve them can increase your chances of success.

So what do you want to achieve? What does success look like for you? Whether you’re saving for a car, a trip-of-a-lifetime holiday or putting aside money to pay off debt, setting a goal can be empowering, motivating and keep you focused towards a dream that you really want.

The good news is that it’s not as hard as it sounds to stick to effective goal setting. If you want to achieve one of your goals, the key is to know it inside out. You can use whatever goal setting method you want, like setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) to nail your financial targets. The point is to ensure that your goals are attainable and that you (actually) stick to them.

Do some planning: prepare a budget

After you’ve identified your goals, you can create a personal budget. This is where the hard yards are done (but where you’ll be working towards being able to automate a lot of things!).

You’ll need to consider both your income and expenses. Your income is the money that you’re paid: what you receive from any work, government benefits, child support payments and investments. If it’s variable, make an estimate on your past year’s earnings.

Your expenses can be thought of as everyday expenses, like coffee, groceries and transport costs. It also includes your larger expenses, like car registration, rent or mortgage, as well as utilities and bills.

It’s helpful to start by looking at the money going in and out over a month. Once you’ve worked out how much you’ve spent on these items, you can narrow it down to how much you spend in a week or fortnight.

The Suncorp Budget Planner can help you work these out. It will take your income and expenses and show you how it all comes together!

Put away those dollars: start saving money

Not sure how to begin saving money? Well, try starting small. Try putting a little money aside each month into a money jar or cutting back on every day costs. These are practical steps you can do to kick start the habit.

You might like to open a savings account if you don’t already have one. With Suncorp’s Everyday Options Account, you’ll be able to open up to 9 different sub-accounts and call them anything you want according to your needs. As you test the waters and find small success, try setting aside a bit more on a regular basis. Having a separate savings account can ensure you don’t confuse the money you set aside for savings with other money for everyday spending.

When payday arrives, it might be a good idea to set up regular, automated transfers into your savings account. This can be useful because you don’t have to manually transfer money between accounts – once it’s set up, you just need to monitor it. You’ll need to have a good handle on your numbers by figuring out how much you’ll need to budget for each month.

To help you get started, Suncorp’s Everyday Options account gives you the flexibility to create sub-accounts within your account (and you can call them whatever you like). This can be useful for separating your money into smaller piles so you can put it towards different expenses, like your groceries or bills.

Discover Everyday Options

Manage your money as it continues to grow

While you could sit back and relax after creating a budget and automating your savings plan, there’s still a few things to consider. You’ll need to check your progress and re-adjust your budget if you’re finding it too difficult or too easy to reach your financial goals. If you find you’re overspending, for example, take a look at what you’re spending your money on. It could be a good time to set some limits around eating out or entertainment, as they can add up quickly during the week.

Your personal budget is just the beginning. The more you budget, the easier it’ll be to stay on top of your money – putting you in the driver’s seat of your finances.

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Deposit Products are issued by Suncorp-Metway Ltd (“Suncorp Bank”) ABN 66 010 831 722 AFSL No 229882. Please read the Product Information Document for Personal Deposit Accounts before opening an account. Fees, charges, terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

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