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5 Ultimate Budgeting Tips to Still Enjoy the Best of Life!

budgeting tips for you! 

I didn't come from a well-off family. Even though I was just starting my career (at that time) and didn't have impressive salary, I was happy that I managed to eat the food that I want, buy the things I need, travel domestic and international, and even buy my own house and lot by mid-20s.

You might wonder what "hocus pocus" I was doing, but really, the key is budgeting. You're lucky that you're reading this because I'll be sharing the ultimate budgeting tips that I personally practice from then until now, simply because they worked! So whether you're aiming to buy a gadget, dreaming of a vacation, or just getting through this crazy inflation, I hope you'll pick something up from this post to help you succeed.

Have a Goal

There should be a reason why you need to budget in the first place. Don't just say, "I want to save money". That will not bring you anywhere. Your goal should be specific so it will be easier to follow through. For instance, when I was planning to go on a tour, I set the budget to Php15,000 which I need to reach in 2 months. In that way, I was able to plan better my savings, setting aside certain amount per week, and limit my expenses so I don't go overboard. 

Spend Only What You Have

Easier said than done -- especially when you have credit cards! Living within your means allows you to manage your money, instead of your money managing you. When you always spend more than what you earn, you'll soon find yourself drowning in debt. No kidding. I am happy to say that I haven't used my credit card for years! (I still keep it for emergency purposes though.) The things that I need to buy, I make sure that I have the money to use before buying them. Knowing that you don't have debt gives a free feeling and allows you to enjoy the item better without worrying of how to pay it off.

Track Your Income and Expenses

I find it a good habit to track both income and expenses -- and I mean every bit of it! This will show where you spend your money, which will later on greatly help you in analyzing your budgeting strategy. There are various expense tracker apps that can suit your needs, or you can also go with the good old spreadsheet. Identify which of the expenses are recurring and essential like utility bills, grocery, tuition fee, etc. as they are "non-negotiable". I like a tracker that has categories and shows through charts and tables which of these categories I'm putting most of my money on. It was through an expense tracker that I realized I was spending a lot on games and entertainment. Those arcade games that I thought were just a few pesos, when summed up occupied a portion on my expense chart that is more than what I expected. So yes, it's okay to have fun, but on a budget!

Decide on a Budget Method

Your budget method is greatly influenced by your goal and your priorities. Once you have tracked your expenses, you will be able to define the percentages that should go on different expense types, including savings! Is family vacation every quarter important to you? Then you should allot regularly a certain percentage or amount to meet that upcoming expense. A budget planning calculator greatly helps in identifying the ideal amount per expense type so you don't go beyond what you plan. 

Reassess your Budget Regularly

From time to time, your situation and needs will change which will require you to adjust your budget. This is why it is important to revisit your budget method and see if it is still working based on your goals. In my case, I have an upcoming major home renovation and so the budget method I'm using now may not be suited anymore. 

You don't have to wait until you're retired before you start enjoying the fruits of your labor. A little discipline, having the right mindset, and following these tips will help you enjoy life even if you have limited amount of money on your hands.