How do I create a manageable budget?

If you want to manage your money properly, you really need to create a budget.

You can use pen and paper, a notebook, a phone app, or a spreadsheet for your budget – it makes sense for it to be something you use regularly. You can also use a free online budget planner from a site like MoneyHelper.

If you like to use a Google spreadsheet, I have created a free budget template below that you can save a copy of and adapt to your own purposes.

The Money Raven Budget

Tips to create an effective budget

  • Record all spends accurately – lying to yourself won’t help!
  • Gather receipts around you to ensure you have an idea of what things cost. When you know you are going to want to create a budget, make sure to either save receipts or record your spending with apps such as Monzo.
  • Take annual expenses, such as birthdays and car tax, into account.
  • It’s best to record your actual spends first before amending your budget to aim for your preferred spending. This way you know what you have to aim for.
  • Take essential spends into account first, before looking at optional or voluntary expenses. Be sure to allow for unexpected expenses, like a new boiler, should these pop up throughout the year.
  • Having said that, make sure you DO allow for optional expenses within your budget. If you can’t spend anything on fun, you won’t stick to it!
  • Follow a budget ‘rule’ like the 50/20/30 budget rule. This rule allocates 50% of your after-tax income to needs, 20% to savings, and 30% to wants.
  • Think of at least one long-term goal that budgeting will help you achieve – this is what will help you to stick to the budget. Perhaps you want to save for a house deposit, or simply a nice holiday in the sun?

Happy budgeting!

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