Finances 101: Budget Basics


Let’s face it; having to worry about money sucks.

We’re not going spout statistics or scold you for how you have spent your money. We’re not your mom, nor your 11th grade Statistical Analysis teacher.
We we can do is offer a load of different “this worked for me” suggestions and hope that something works for you.

Money always seems to be a taboo topic to discuss, because no one wants to be told how they should look at it, or use it, or even budget it.
Let’s put aside the fact that you might feel like this is a bit intrusive, and skip ahead a bit. It’s okay to be cautious about money talks – and this can’t be strongly enough emphasised: this is NOT the be-all-end-all of money advice. We are not PhD mathematical professors or even CPAs. We are however humans who have lived in a plethora of different life situations, and we can understand what living pay cheque to paycheck is like and it’s brutal and harsh and when you have $16 in the bank and you’re trying to stretch one box of mac & cheese and three packs of ramen noodles between a family of four, you’re ready for someone to say “okay, how about trying this?” and the light comes on. That’s what we’re hoping to help you with.

These budget basics to be listed in here are just the tip of what we’re going to bring as ideas and helpful tips. We’re going to show you ‘life hacks’ and DIYs (do it yourself projects) that you ACTUALLY can do – and won’t cost you a fortune to get items that some people seem to have lying around in their homes but most people can’t even find in a store.

We’re going to show you recipes that you can make under $10 and taste like they are $65/plate in a hoitey-toitey restaurant. We’re going to give you cash saving options you might not have considered before.

The fact is, we don’t know what your budgetary needs are; you do. We don’t know what school, work, insurance, housing, food, entertainment criteria are needed to fulfill every day, let alone each month or quarter or year. Perhaps you don’t even know.

Here are (the starting) ten ways you can see what you need to focus on for your budget to work.

Now, keep in mind, you have to be open minded in order for this to all play out, and to do that, you have to admit that what has been happening so far, probably hasn’t always worked.

Perhaps it did before your student loans payment office issued another “you haven’t been paying your monthly minimum due” and now they are increasing your interest fee for the umpteenth year now they are insinuating that they can foreclose on your home to pay back the interest alone on and you already have a major surgery coming up so that’s time off work without pay and you’re the major/sole breadwinner outside of the home, and who is going to watch the kids and why do they need all of their summer program fees paid this week and are you kidding me, the youngest one needs a retainer now? You better not tell me that we just got rear-ended at the grocery store and it was a hit and run and they busted the rim of the tire as well, so great, in order to get anywhere, there’s another lump of money, and because the oldest is now going through a rebellious phase, got a piercing and it’s now severely infected and left it too long and it’s now going to need to be surgically removed and antibiotics to get rid of the infection, but why can’t we go on vacation this year!??!?! WORST. LIFE. EVER. Hey kids, I hear ye. I didn’t plan on being an adult with responsibilities and obligations like this. When I was your age, I thought I’d live in Barbie’s dream home with her and every day would be beach and ice cream day, and we’d never get fat and never have bills, and our corvette would always be top-down because there’d be no rain and we’d never get sunburned, and … and … and …

So, how do we help you get past all ^^^^^ that ^^^^^ and try to get you a bit more “good day” or even “Best Moment” or even “WHOOHOO! Comfortable!”

I think that’s what most of us are truly searching for: bills paid, money set aside for emergencies/contingencies we didn’t expect/plan, and a little left over so we don’t drop dead at our desk at 93 because we’re not able to retire at 65 or 71.

Here are the FIRST of many hopeful helpful tips to righting that financial boat of yours:

  1. First off: Pen and paper time.
    yup, pull out a pen/pencil and paper. let’s get physical, baby!
  2. Second: BE HONEST.
    write down all the things you purchase in a day, week, and month. Unless you can afford services from some place like http://irenasbookkeeping.com.au/bookkeeping-services-north-sydney/, writing down everything honestly will be your only window into your true situation.
  3. Third: Be BRUTALLY HONEST.
    if you drink 8 cups of Tim Hortons coffee in a day, you best write that shit down. If you’re not accounting for everything, you are lying to yourself.
    this won’t work unless you are being transparent.
    no one else is going to see this paper – this isn’t a test, you aren’t going to fail. You need to SEE though.
  4. Fourth: Make groups/categories
    make separate columns/pages if you have multiple family members you are budgeting for.
    big ones: food/shelter/bills/transportation/entertainment/medical/education/emergency/retirement
    (we’ll get personal in these later and more descriptive as time goes on)
  5. Fifth: Contingency plans?
    what? oh, right, sometimes we can make jokes like having extra money set aside… we’ll work on this.
  6. Sixth: Sell worthy items
    can you do a yard sale? If you can picture more than ten things within a minute or less of what you could sell, that’s a yes.
    if you’re in a place you can’t do a yard sale – ebay/etsy/vinted/kijiji/other online sources or even a friend’s place yard sale/community sale possibly
  7. Seventh: Minimalise doesn’t mean giving up what you love
    decluttering can actually help your mindset for how things.
    cleaning out your wallet/purse/handbag even can give you clarity you didn’t realise you had about what is available mentally, physically, emotionally, and more.
  8. Eighth: Enjoy free things, and look for them
    coupons, bogos, etc. can help, but look for free things!
  9. Ninth: Don’t forget to enjoy the ‘now’
    take the time and not worry about what you can’t fix immediately.
    you did not get in debt overnight.
  10. Tenth: Don’t panic, the shock will abate.
    seeing the numbers on the page can be frightening and even depressing, but there is hope.

See? Not being pushy – we’re only looking at starting the conversation today. This is going to be a long chat, and honestly, our finances didn’t get into the state they are in today in one night.

We’re going to look at several ways to save, flex, stretch, and ultimately enjoy the money you earn, so you can work to LIVE not live to WORK.

Just to give you a bit of a broad spectrum look, we have people who are in and have been through virtually every financial situation possible, including one who is currently a homeless refugee who is one of the greatest chefs the world needs to know about, a few recent graduates of various universities, a clumsypixie, and several others.

We have stories to share, and advice to offer, and we’re willing to do it so your days are brighter and your tomorrows are better.

Sera Hicks on Blogger
Sera Hicks
Creative Journey Leader, Intern Supervisor, Admin, Writer at Geeks and Geeklets
Geeky Hobbit-loving Whovian. Lover of chocolate, cats, and crafty things. Writer, Creative Journey Leader. It has to be better tomorrow.