If you are a Pinoy first-time employee who finds personal finance an indispensable area of your holistic development, then these budget hacks are exclusively for you. Yes, there may have been a great deal of cliched practicable budget hacks on the web, but these have been proven seriously effective on my end. Well, these could also be effective, even more, on your end.
Simply saying, budget hacks are strategies or techniques employed for managing personal finances, hence budget, efficiently. Do you have your budget hacks worth sharing? Use the comment section below.
When I received my first paycheck, I had to navigate through two diverging trackways – saving and splurging. Admittedly, I underestimated the overwhelming personal financial concerns that would come alongside getting a job and earning money. Apart from saving and splurging dilemmas, I found it an obligation to shell out for family expenses, cover all personal needs, and keep a sound financial image.
Soon, I realized I had to make that image concrete – review all personal finances, make employment of budget hacks more pronounced, build emergency fund, draft savings and investment goals, and rebalance portfolio allocations regularly. Until now, I strongly believe I still have more to learn and master about personal finance, but the budget hacks below remain least complicated.
1. Create Your Realistic Budget. Trust me, a paper-and-pen budgeting tool can be your perfect tangible barometer to forecast whether you have enough money for expenses, make priorities whenever short on budget, and project how much you can save.
As we always know, budgeting simply balances our expenses with income; hence a tangible account makes us realize whether we spend more than what we really earn. If you’ve just started with your personal budget, these can be the same components:
- Income Information. Be honest! Anyway, it’s a personal thing. You need not get ashamed of the actual, either monthly or bi-monthly, digits that make a drift into your account. Incorporate all your income information – your take-home pay, freelance jobs, and other forms of income – all that complete the pie.
- Essential Expenses. Let’s say, you cannot live without these necessities – food, rentals, utilities, and other services – all together eat up most of the pie. So, you better review and learn how to cut these expenses through other budget hacks.
- Savings and Emergency Fund. Guess why you need these? You might not always please your boss, and so anytime, you might get fired. You or somebody from your family might get hospitalized. You might need your personal computer repaired. Well, there are more reasons why you need these funds. Read more about your emergency fund here…
- Discretionary Expenses and Savings. I don’t really subscribe to the idea of ‘working like a slave.’ As you start earning, find time to enjoy occasionally and touch your creative side. You can allot a small fraction of your income to other purposes such as books, travel, and home entertainment.
- Debt Payments. You don’t want additional stress from growing debts, do you? Debts are an obstacle as they negatively impact financial decisions. As advised, set up a debt pay-down plan that does not ruin the budget and sacrifice most of the savings.
- Future Investment Fund. Once you can already manage your expenses and savings effectively, you can now start building another special fund – your future investment fund. As it grows into a reasonable amount, you can diversify it in investment instruments that suit your risk appetite, investment horizons, and anticipated returns.
2. Employ Cost-Effective Strategies and Cut Down Your Expenses. You’re done with your forecast on wise distribution of income across expenses. Your next target should be keeping the budget at work. As you track progress, develop cost-effective ways such as those related to meal preparations, weekend groceries, water and energy conservation, cheaper yet still optimized cable and telephone plans, and even transportation. As it happens, you don’t need any research or reading, rather awareness and discipline.
3. Pay Yourself First and Stick to Your Budget. Getting faithful to budget sounds like impossible. Yes, you try so hard, but you end up overspending and saving less than your forecast. If you’re guilty, however determined, you can start embracing the idea of ‘paying yourself first.’ In a nutshell, if you pay your bills first then save, you will often find yourself left with nothing. However, if you save first for your future, and then pay bills, you will force yourself to make ends meet. As you get financially satisfied with the pay you get for yourself, you will likely do all to cut down your expenses and stick to your budget.
4. Evaluate Your Budget and Make Necessary Adjustments. Your budget, of course, should be built flexible. As soon as you get a salary increase or another passive income, you should start stretching your budget, but not necessarily inflating your expenses. Your positive cash flow must be reflected on your savings and future investment funds, not on additional discretionary items. In another article, I explained why you should be aware of a possible lifestyle creep that may ruin your finances. Read also Adopting Healthier Money Habits.
As a first-time employee, you better focus more on professional growth. Hence, your current financial situation should not fret you much. With these budget hacks, you can keep your finances in tune with your long term personal and professional goals.