Budgets are boring, right? You assign income to expenses, divert money into a savings account and if all works out well, you don't rely on your credit card too much. But is that all there is to budgeting for a year? Not by a long shot! Here are some things to budget for in 2015 that you could get excited about.
What — a holiday in the budget? Yes, of course! Just because it seems like an extravagant luxury item, doesn't mean it shouldn't be a part of your everyday planning. If you account for big expenses like this, they are less likely to be a financial burden further down the track. Rather than financing a holiday with debt, you could squirrel away some funds into a savings account and really enjoy it when it comes around.
If a big splash isn't on the cards this year, how about a 'staycation'? That's right, a vacation staying at home. If you budget to take some annual leave or even unpaid leave to spend a few days with your spouse or family in the middle of the year, you can seriously recharge your batteries, leaving you with more energy at the end of 2015.
The thought of being free doesn't feature much on most people's budgets. Usually it's just scraping to get by. So how can you budget to be without worries and frustrations? Budget to kill debt. While saving money is always great, paying down loans first means you'll lose less in interest and ultimately spend less time paying them off.
If you're able to structure your budget around becoming debt-free within a certain timeframe, you're basically working your way to freedom. Sounds a lot sweeter than a savings plan doesn't it? It's all about choosing an end for your means. A savings plan is a brilliant tool if it helps you to do brilliant things.
What could be more exciting than the unexpected? Your sister has a baby, your work sends you on an overseas secondment, your fiance pops the question or you find a puppy to take home. All of these exciting things cost money in some way or another.
While you may not be able to pinpoint where some of these savings might go, having a rainy day fund is about more than emergency mechanic's bills — although it certainly helps in those scenarios. Paying attention to this aspect of budgeting means that you are able to keep debt down in emergencies or unexpected events. This means it will be easier to budget for the second point in this article, which in turn makes it even easier to save for the first.
While the world of personal finance can seem very small and very insular, it is actually not as lonely as its name suggests. There are many people who need to go on your budgeting journey with you. For one, there will be some supporters, like mom and dad, who help you keep your head in the game so you can reach your goals.
Then there are your team mates. These could be your own family, spouse, business partners, financial advisers or even flat mates — the people whose actions will make a difference to your everyday choices. When you share your goals and aspirations with these people you not only have encouragement, but also a partner or team that will help you cross the finish line — because they have a vested interest in your success.
Sharing your struggles as well as your triumphs, whether it's paying down your car loan or spending too much on your credit card, will help you to seriously wrangle your budget under control.