In this post we’ll look at the steps you can take to creating a personal budget for 2024. Creating and sticking to this will teach you discipline with your money and help you to reach your savings goals sooner. It will also enable you to view your income differently which could see you with a surplus of funds rather than living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Putting your budget together

This can be done simply in an excel spreadsheet. List your income at the top, then list all of your expenses in categories where possible. Total up your expenses and minus this cost from your total income. If you have money left over, great work. If you find yourself in a minus, keep reading for tips on how to get back in the green.

Anticipate Changes – before making a budget, think ahead for any large changes that you can reasonably anticipate, like taking out a new mortgage or other personal finance expenses  and incorporate it into your plans as early as possible – even if you do not know what the value will be. 

Don't forget to include extra income as well – for example, any anticipated raises or money from a tax return.

Make educated guesses – When you don't know the future value of something, make conservative estimates. Make expenses that bit higher, and income a bit lower. This provides a cushion in case things do not go as planned. 

Review Your Spending 

As previously mentioned, making a budget starts with creating a list of all your expenses and their costs. This includes loan repayments, credit card payments, money spent on groceries and bills plus any entertainment expenses. You can use our budget planner calculator to get started.

Look for ways to cut back. This is the hard part! The easiest way to cut back on your expenses is to list them in priority order. Which ones are needs versus a want? If they’re all needs, consider cheaper alternatives. For example, look for a cheaper plan with another internet provider or share the cost of streaming services with a family member or friend.

Be Accountable 

Good financial management is all about ownership. A budget is only useful if you stick to it. Share your success and setbacks with your significant other, family member or close friend who will encourage you to stay on track with your spending.

Make it easy for yourself by printing out your budget table and keeping it close by to refer back to. Sometimes a hard copy is easier than starting up your computer and loading your budget software. If you use a budget planner app even better. Our phones are always within easy reach!

Have a purpose and goal in mind 

This will help you determine how much you may need to save for and how quickly. Decide if you’re saving for something specific such as a holiday or a new car, or if you’re just trying to cut back on excess spending.

Helpful budgeting tools 

Our budget planner calculator is a free online tool that is convenient to access and easy to use. Once you’ve got your list of expenses, put them into the calculator which will tell you if you will end up with a surplus or shortfall after considering the income details you provide. This can also be accessed from your smartphone or tablet.

Have a plan for any excess funds you find yourself with. It is quick and easy to open a savings account or term deposit online where you can deposit your money into straight away to avoid temptation.

If you are still finding yourself in the red, make sure you have all of your expenses properly listed. Get someone to check over your budget for accuracy. If you are still experiencing issues, seek help from a financial counselor about managing debts.

Are you are looking to create a budget for 2024, but are not sure how to start? Get in touch with the friendly team at Horizon Bank today and let us help you on your journey.

Horizon Bank has a branch network spanning the Illawarra and South Coast with offices at: Thirroul, Wollongong, Albion Park, Berry, Nowra, Ulladulla, Moruya, Bega, Bermagui and Merimbula.

The content in this article has been prepared by Horizon Bank for general information only and it is not intended to be professional advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should seek your own legal, accounting, financial or other professional advice where appropriate, and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire any products or services offered by Horizon Bank and/or its affiliated partners. We do not recommend any third party products or services referred to in this article unless otherwise stated and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information and we do not endorse any content on those sites. Horizon Credit Union Ltd ABN 66 087 650 173 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 240573 trading as Horizon Bank.