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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Wallis-Smith

Budgeting… It’s not a dirty word!

Budgeting – it’s a word that’s often associated with sacrifice and restraint. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.

Budgeting isn’t a dirty word. Done right, it could be your new best friend.

Budgeting. Cashflow. Cashflow Planning. Money Coach.

If you’ve ever tried to use a budget template, my guess is it didn’t work very well for you… but there’s a good reason for that. Most budgeting templates aren’t much help.

Budgeting templates

Today, I googled “personal budget template” and it listed 240 million results! Some are free, some you pay for, some have nice colours and some not so much.

What they usually have in common is you enter your income at the top, then you list your expenses, and then with some simple maths, you have what money is leftover – or not.

So, what if I was to tell you that using a budget template isn’t the way to better money management?

Yep, that’s right – I don’t want you to download a template, fill in a guesstimate of your expenses, then fill in your actual spending and compare the difference.

Let me be clear – I do want you to understand your cashflow. But that budget template you’re using probably isn’t the answer.

I know from personal experience.

Many, many years ago, I used a budget template. I’ll be honest I do love a good spreadsheet, so I was quite happy to start with a template that looked a bit like this one:

Budgeting. Cashflow. Cashflow Planning. Money Coach.

I carefully entered the details, hey presto, the “difference” was all nicely filled out.

But I can honestly say my money management never improved.

Have you had a similar experience?

Clients I work with have sometimes tried to do a budget, but they fall behind updating it, or worse, they still don’t have enough to pay the bills coming in.

The result? They feel they’re bad with money and that they’re never going to get ahead.

So let’s blast Myth#1 – using a budget template does not make you good (or bad) with money. It’s just a spreadsheet – it doesn’t have that kind of power, only you do!

Cashflow planning

Let’s start by getting rid of THAT word – budgeting.

Instead of talking about a budget, let’s re-phrase it. How does cashflow planning grab you?

We plan our days all the time – fitting in and trying to balance work, activities, social stuff. Throw in family and it gets pretty hectic, but we juggle it and make it work – we prioritise, reschedule and call on help when we need it.

So, what if we were to think about money in the same way?

Cashflow timing is as important as the timing of real life. We need to understand and balance the connection between one decision made today affecting our cashflow in the future.

Managing your diary… is like managing your money

Let’s keep the diary analogy going…

We understand our day – how many hours are in it, when we have to be at work, when we leave, and our travel time. We also know that planning is often required – it’s pretty unlikely we’ll get into a busy restaurant if we call at 5pm on a Saturday. But if we try and book for next month, we should be okay.

We plan our days and our weeks, so we (mostly) know what’s ahead and we’re ready for it.

Try to think about your money – your cashflow plan – in the same way:

  • Usually, your salary is regular and fixed.

  • Your home loan or rent payments are also regular and fixed.

  • Grocery shopping and utility bills are regular but more variable.

  • Then you might have irregular and variable expenses, like a holiday or a new laptop.

Tips for money management

Here are three tips to help take the stress out of your money management – giving you confidence by planning ahead:

  • On your cashflow plan, list all your income and expenses in date order.

  • Where possible, use direct debits for loan payments (or rent) and other regular bills.

  • Your cashflow plan, including all expenses, should extend out at least 3 months at a time – and don’t forget to allocate money for those irregular and variable expenses from every pay period.

Want to budget better?

At Nutshell Money we want to help you be able to focus on living life, not tracking every dollar. If that’s the kind of budgeting you’re interested in, book a call to discuss your needs.


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