12th April 2023

My budget, my well-being

Do you find yourself brooding about your financial situation and not achieving your goals for saving and investing for your future? Making a financial plan can have a positive impact on your well-being. But how do you set a budget and stick to the plan? Discover our tips for becoming more Zen about your finances.
 Budget, well-being, Relaxed couple contemplating their budget

What is a budget?

A budget is a financial plan that helps you to manage your personal income and expenses with the aim of ensuring that you’re living within your means and not overspending.

What does a budget consist of?

It’s a list of all your sources of income (wages, allowances, income from rental properties, etc.) and all your expenses (e.g. household, rent, loan payments, car payments, taxes, phone bills, childcare).

You can start off by writing it all down in a notebook or a spreadsheet on your computer, but there are also apps available for your smartphone.

Why is it necessary to have a budget?

Here are some arguments in favour of a budget:

  1. it helps you control your spending habits and enables you to identify areas where you could , for example, reduce impulse buying.

  2. it helps you achieve your financial goals: whether you want to save for a car or a house, repay your debts, or build a “rainy day” savings fund. Having visibility on your financial transactions will help you achieve these goals every month.

  3. it helps you avoid getting into debt: without a budget, it is easy to spend too much and accumulate debt. A budget will help you to avoid spending more than you can afford.

  4. it helps you plan for the future: a budget will help you plan for future expenses, e.g. holidays or renovation works. By setting some money aside each month, you can avoid going into debt to pay your projects.

  5. it reduces financial stress: yes, having a budget can contribute to your well-being by reducing financial stress and anxiety, and improving your sleep 😀.

Let’s get started with your budget! OK, but how?

First of all, make a list of all your income and your expenses:

Variable expenses are often difficult to estimate. Keep your till receipts for a while and make a note of what you spend!

Do a monthly table:

  • List out and categorize all your expenses.
  • Collect all the necessary documents (e.g. insurance policies, bills, your tax statement).
  • If you use a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), you can calculate the difference between your income and your expenditure.
  • Don’t forget to include a row for unforeseen expenses, e.g. medical expenses, repair costs, or new purchases.

  • If you have expensive hobbies, set out these expenses in a specific category.

Whether you use a notebook or an app, or you record your payments in S-Net (MIA), it is important that you do it consistently and regularly.

Update your files at each month-end, note all your expenditure and adjust your spending whenever you identify shortcomings in your budget.

Beware of budget pitfalls!

In your analysis, don’t forget:

  • credit card expenses
  • subscriptions to newspapers, smartphone apps, wifi, Netflix, AppleTV, etc.
  • any purchases paid for in instalments, and their additional costs
  • miscellaneous expenses

The better I know myself, the better I can manage my money

When thinking about your budget, it’s important to ask yourself plenty of personal questions, really think about your needs:

  • short, medium and long-term projects?

  • bucket list: do you want to do a round-the-world trip, take a sabbatical, move into your own house?

  • vision: if you look ahead, think about where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time?

  • entertainment: do you like going shopping, going out with friends? Do you do any other hobbies, sports or expensive activities?

  • needs: are you someone who needs to follow every new trend or are you an aware consumer who thinks about sustainability and wants to reduce their environmental impact?

  • financial objectives: how much can you afford to save? ...per month, per year?

  • professional career: are you looking for good “work/life balance”, do you want to reduce your working hours?

Take the time to think about what’s important to you, and draw up a realistic list.

Changing your habits will take time: how do you stay on track?

Are you motivated to start planning your budget?

Changing our habits is not an easy thing to do. We are so used to following the same routine that we that we quickly fall back into the trap and forget our good resolutions.

But persevere - it takes 21 days to change a habit and 90 days to make a permanent change in your lifestyle.

The keys to establishing a successful budget are repetition and consistency.

As you start, set up a notification in your smartphone so that you get into a good routine.

Stay committed!

Adopting a new habit requires effort and engagement.

But don’t worry,

establishing positive habits can significantly improve your well-being and your satisfaction levels.


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