Yesterday, I was doing some personal accounting and finally closed my 2012 Budget Sheet. It was three years ago since I decided to create one. It's a very helpful tool that works for me in helping me to budget my own money (soon I will have to budget my husband's too when he gets here permanently). As I looked at the three excel sheets (2010, 2011 and 2012) I felt so relieved and glad that there were still surpluses at the end of each year, and that's on top of my savings! It's amazing how I got no deficit! All I can ever say at that moment was "Alleluia, praise the Lord!" :)
Let me show you a screenshot of how my budget sheet looks like. It's pretty simple and I did it in such a way that I can easily understand it. I hate math and accounting but thanks to Microsoft for inventing Excel! It's a life saver! lol. You can personalize it whichever way you can. Here's mine, and please do not judge! hahaha
At the top left, you will see my fixed expenses. I have to make sure that I pay them all first before anything else. I just add everything from the 1st row all the way to the 13th row and subtract the total from my net income (take home salary). The difference is the remainder or surplus. If I know or if I see that there's still a remainder for the month, that's the time that I can confidently spend my money on my wants. However, should there be a deficit for the month, I have to make sure that I am careful on my spending for the next month. I shouldn't get another deficit rather I should get a surplus to make up for the last month's balance. I hope you get what I mean. Feeling financial analyst ako dito. hehe. That's why I said that this tool is super helpful because you can keep track on your spending and your savings.
My "other expenses" row may consist of different kinds of things that are not fixed like groceries, car registration, car needs like oil change or tire change, Singles for Christ conference registration fees, birthday gifts for family and friends for special occasions, donations and so on and so forth. These things I consider a priority but the prices change from time to time so as soon as I make payment for those, I log it right away. As mentioned earlier, after I make sure that all needs have been met, then that's the time I go and give myself a treat (like shopping at H&M and F21 :) After all, I worked hard for it right? There goes Donna Summer singing in the background "She works hard for the money" hahaha
I'm sure you see pictures of my husband and I on dates, eating at restaurants but we have a secret to tell. Shhhhhhh. Have you heard of Scoutmob, Groupons or Restaurant.com? It's like Ensogo in the Philippines. These are just some of the many websites/apps that offer dining deals so we're practically saving a lot of money there. It's like 2 people eating for the price of one or something like that. On Scoutmob, newly opened restaurants advertise themselves there to get more customers and that's why they give out deals to people. It's kind of a "win-win" situation right? My husband and I love to eat and like to try new things and dining areas in town so Scoutmob was really handy and money saving tool for us for the past few months. For movies, we wait for deals from Groupon or my sister buys student discounted movie tickets from her school and sells it to us. lol. If there are no deals out there at all, we just go to Netflix.com or DVD marathon nalang! hahaha. We're no stingy couple you know, we're just frugal and there's completely a big difference to that!
When we splurge, it has to be for a special occasion or reason of course. Fortunately, we have been and dined to fancy places, traveled locally and internationally, and still haven't been broke. Thank God! Personally, I save because I like to travel and see the world. Some material things don't last but memories do! (except if you get amnesia like in the teleseryes or Alzheimer's.hahaha)
If you still live with your family like me (don't judge me ok. there's a reason for that, parang there's an app for that lang. hahaha) you should still contribute to the house. Let's not be a free loader! Your parents have bills to pay too and if you're already earning, it's nice to help out ya know. If you're not employed yet, you can still help by offering your services like mowing the lawn, help in cleaning the house or your dad's car. You can do a lot of things to extend help and gratitude to your family. It's nice to go home to a family that cares and loves one another divuhh? Walang drama and family feud promise!
I guess my motto is save money, live better, Walmart? hahaha. corny ko na. Basta my mantra for this year is to live simply! Bye bye muna kay Michael Kors. But malay mo regaluhan ako ni hubby? hahaha, hindi ako nagpaparinig ha! lol. I'm just so thankful that my husband is there to spoil me occasionally because he knows I rarely spend for myself. And vice versa. I remember when all my friends have their smart phones and I was only using a dumb phone. (dumb kasi hindi smart eh. gets mo? lol) He was the one who surprised me with an iPhone for my birthday. I admire all that expensive and branded stuff. I'm trying my best not to become too materialistic. Why are we like that girls? I try to save for it but when I already have the money to buy, I suddenly back off from getting it. Oh well, I guess it's the holy spirit telling me that there's more important things in life :) I remember when I bought my wedding dress and shoes. I got the dress from a designer store but it was sitting at the clearance section. It was the last one and it fit me like a glove. I even had to bargain and told them to cut $100 off because I saw a missing button at the bottom. Nauto ko naman. hehehe. As for my shoes, it's made by a designer too but I really patiently searched for an affordable one. Hinalukay ko din yung clearance section ng Designer Shoes Warehouse. lol. I know I won't wear it a lot naman after the wedding cos I don't wear heels much. Confessions of a kuripotholic na ito! hahaha. And uhm oh, do you also pack your lunch to work? It really does save a lot of money and calories too!
Also another piece of advice which you might have heard in the past is when you use your magic card (credit card) and when your bill comes, try to pay it in full. So do not buy something which you don't have the money to pay for. If you just pay the interest, the money you owe builds up and earns interest. You will just end up with more debt and then you will most likely tend to open up another card because you've maxed out the other. Then another one and another one. Haaay! Try sticking to one credit card as possible.
I think I mastered saving well because back when I was still gusgusin (pauper.hahaha) my mom would only give me a small amount for my allowance. I would budget it well and will save it in my alkansya (piggy bank) Then when it no longer fit in my alkansya, she had to open me a time deposit at the bank. It amazed me how much I had saved just by putting coins in it everyday. Every penny/peso counts!
Last but not the least, God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Like what our church teaches us, we should put God above all else. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10) Every thing we have is from the Lord after all. Set aside a portion of your money to your church. If you could give 10% of your income or maybe more, that's great! Give generously to our church and to the poor however you can with a joyful heart. The act of giving generously to the Lord means you do not worry about money and that you absolutely trust that God will provide. It teaches us not to be selfish, self-centered and greedy too. Even if you do not earn a lot (like me. oh yeah! I just know well how to budget. hehe) you could still be a good steward of God's riches. If He can entrust you with small things, then He would most likely entrust you with big things!
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
As always, may you find this blog helpful.