Money

10 End Goals That’ll Make You Want To Budget

So we’re a quarter of the way through the year and, after taking a moment to bat away the anxiety that brings on, it’s time to think about getting back to that promise you made yourself. You know, the one where you said you’d start saving some of your hard-earned cash?

OK so maybe you didn’t make that resolution at the turn of the New Year. Maybe you were too busy drinking your weight in Prosecco. But there are lots of reasons why you should get responsible with your money right now rather than later.

The magic ‘b’ word

If you don’t already have a budget then it’s time to get one. Traditionally used by finance geeks, parents tracking their teenager’s weekly eating habits and those attractive young couples that are trying to sew up a deposit, the realm of budgeting might have been foreign to you until now. The reality is that it’s free, easy to use and – with a small amount of vigilance – easy to maintain.

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Having a budget will help you track the money you’re earning against the money you’re spending. Forcing yourself to take the afternoon to settle in and work out your spending habits versus what you earn will ensure you live within your means: it could be the difference of thousands of dollars worth of debt on your credit card or a few thousand banked up in your savings account.

Living within your means should not only allow you to save for the big stuff but you’ll also have a handy reserve for those unexpected hiccups (or must-haves) in life. The Cusp’s guide to making a budget is a great place to start for basics and you can download a handy cash flow template while you’re at it.

What’s stopping you?

Still don’t think you can do it? Lakshan Weerasinghe, from financial planning firm Viridian Advisory, insists that, “everyone inherently knows how to budget.” We asked him why some people shy away from budgets and rack up so much credit card debt. He thinks it’s a mixture two things: “Lack of discipline and not thinking far enough in advance.”

Plus, there’s the bonus of what kind of example your family and friends have set you. “Behavioural issues stem from how you’ve grown up and so can financial habits,” he says.

So if you haven’t been taught to think about a budget, or you were and have just been winging it in life until now (well done), it’s time to change your ways and come to the party.

And if you’re still hesitating, it’s probably the final reason Lakshan acknowledges: motivation. “In order to motivate yourself to stick to a budget you need an end goal,” he explains.

Enter the below objectives that might incentivise you to start budgeting and get saving:

#1 Launch your creative pursuit

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Because we all have that deep, creative ambition buried somewhere, which we put off doing something about due to of a lack of money (and probably time, plus a little laziness, if we’re honest). Imagine what budgeting could bring you?

Maybe you could afford to rent that studio space to hit after working the nine to five slog or produce that zine celebrating your predilection for Mariah Carey lyrics. If you don’t have a creative bone in your body (doubtful, but possible), you could save to invest in a friend or family member’s creative project or business.

#2 Buy a car that was built in the last 10 years

Because upgrading your shit-box is something that will be safer for everyone. Just maybe try to make it as eco-conscious as possible or be nice to the environment and finally buy a bicycle.

#3 Take your parents out for the dinner they deserve

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While they probably appreciate the cheap, Asian eats, it’s nice to mix it up with a surprise now and then. They did birth and raise you, after all.

#4 Pack up and piss off

This one’s a biggy. That trip around Australia you’ve always said you’d do – go for it. This goal should be amalgamated with upgrading your car because you definitely want to have the means to go rogue when the roads get tough. Substitute Australia for, oh I don’t know, anywhere your finger lands on a map, and you’ve got yourself an adventure.

#5 Update your work wardrobe

No longer will you have to agonise over the fact that you wear the same clothes literally every day. Many of us would love to spend our money on fun clothes, but investing in how you look at work is a no-brainer if you’re ambitious and want to move up in the world or move into something new.

#6 Make your living room pretty

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Buying that piece of furniture or artwork you’ve been longing for is a sign that you are a real-life adult. Investing in quality art or furniture can also be financially savvy in the long run.

#7 Shower your loved one with all they desire

Of course you don’t need to shower your bestie/Mum/partner in gifts to show them you care, but you’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t love being spoiled. And they would be, too.

#8 The future

Because we all have a future and there are these options called children and houses and retirement that need a little bit of forward thinking and a whole heap of moolah.

#9 The unknown

Life will always throw things at you that you never saw coming and it pays to have a little, or a lot, saved for those unexpected moments. It’s your emergency fund.

#10 Avocados

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Because not everything needs to be about investing in your future and some things can be enjoyed right now like those delicious avocados that only an elite crowd of us can seem to afford. Plus everyone will think you’ve made it if you’re packing avos in your fruit bowl.

Now go forth and budget.