The way I have my budget set up, it allows me to take a trip to Sydney at a moment’s notice, to go on shopping sprees and to have my hair done nicely every eight weeks. It also accommodates medical emergencies and gift giving.
I do this by having a billion accounts with my bank. Okay that’s an exaggeration but I do have a lot. More than the usual customer I would guess because every time I go in to a branch or use phone banking the teller will, without a doubt, comment on the number of accounts I have. I smile along and say ‘it’s just how I manage my finances’.
I have 13 saving accounts and then my every day account on top of that (where my fortnightly food and social money lives). To set this up I had a look at the demands on my money and then went further into each area and decided how much I would need to put aside each pay to reach a certain goal. Take for example my haircut – it’s $96 every eight weeks, so every pay I put aside $24 and then when it’s time to have my hair done I’m not scrambling around trying to balance the amount with the rest of the week’s demands.
- Bus and Taxi
- Career Development and Entertainment (concerts etc)
- Clothes and Style
- Essentials (Such as phone)
- Exercise (Membership and Clothes)
- Gift Giving
- Hair (Cuts and accessories)
- House Appliances
- Rent and Bills
- Well Being (Anything to do with mental health and physical health – such as appointments with doctors, dentists and massages)
I lose a little on interest by not having all my money in the one account but not enough to give up this method. It works for me so I’d rather the peace of mind over a few more dollars. It’s a bargain I reckon!
A tool that I find really useful in managing my budget is this free spreadsheet available from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission MoneySmart website. This spreadsheet is just the tip of the iceberg of the wealth of information available on this site.
Sometimes staying within my budget can be a challenge – a fun challenge though – like when an expensive dinner pops up unexpectedly, or I’m itching to buy a pair of shoes but there’s not enough funds in my Clothes and Style account. In regards to the shoes, the challenge is to practice patience till the following pay day and with the expensive dinner I borrow, but try not to make a practice of it, from another account and make a note to repay that money back. When pay day rolls around again I absolutely relish the satisfying feeling of making everything right again.
I’ve found that by embracing a budget as an interest, that not only has tracking my money become a fun and rewarding part of my life but it also makes me feel wealthier. And that is, to quote Mastercard, priceless.