min read
· Posted on
February 21, 2024

How to budget: Write a monthly budget that slaps

Ever found yourself broke three days after payday!? Do yourself a favour and follow these budgeting tips.

What's the key learning?

  • The easiest way to make sure you’re managing your money responsibly is by learning how to create a budget.
  • List all your monthly expenses in a spreadsheet. Print out a bank statement and highlight your outgoing expenses to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Keep it simple by using the 50/30/20 rule: 50% of your income goes to needs, 30% is earmarked for wants and 20% goes straight to savings.

Gone are the days of cheques and cash. We’re living in the digital banking age, Flux fam. 

With the ease of Afterpay, Paypal and tap-and-go ain't hard to lose track of all the transactions flying out of your account.

But let’s be honest, nobody wants to be left broke three days post-payday, with a heavy (financial) hangover and a brand new electric scooter that you don’t recall purchasing (... speaking from experience).

The easiest way to track your expenses and stay on top of your savings is with a monthly budget. Hey! Don’t roll your eyes at us. It’s a tried and tested method that helps you:

  1. Figure out where your cash is going (how many times per week are you really ordering UberEats?!)
  2. Have money set aside for bills and expenses (and never be late on ya bills!)
  3. Reach your financial goals (house? Car? You name it).

How to make a budget

Here's what you need to do to whip your personal budget into shape.

Make a list of all your expenses

It's time to whip out the ‘ol pen and paper, and write down all your expenses. What do you spend your money on every day, week or month?

If you don't know off the top of your head, print out a few bank statements and highlight all your outgoings (that's things like rent, groceries, subscriptions...everything that's debited from your account). 

Some of your outgoings will be fixed expenses (like rent), but others will be variable expenses that change month to month - you can average these out over time.

Got all that? Good!

Try the 50/30/20 method

A simple budgeting approach for beginners is the 50/30/20 rule. This is a straightforward way for you to divvy up your after-tax income and can help you achieve your financial goals.

That means you’ll want to spend:

  • 50% of your after-tax income on your needs
  • 30% of your after-tax income on your wants
  • 20% of your after-tax income should go towards savings

So, figure out what your after-tax income is...AKA how much money goes into your account from your employer each pay-day, and let's get down to business.

What are my ‘needs’?

50% of your after-tax income should be put towards the everyday things you need to live your life, like:

  • Rent payments or mortgage payments
  • Food
  • Utility bills (electricity, gas, phone bills)
  • Council rates (if you own your own home)
  • Insurance
  • Transport costs
  • Other loan repayments (like credit cards, personal loans etc)

What are my ‘wants’?

You gotta live your life - especially after being in lockdown! So, the 50/30/20 budget rule allows for 30% of your after-tax income to go towards things like:

  • Eating at restaurants
  • Fancy oat lattes
  • Gigs and exxy festival tix
  • After-work cocktails

Obviously, this can vary depending on the time of the year, but it's a helpful rule of thumb.

What are my savings?

Your savings are for setting aside money for the future (i.e. emergency fund, extra repayments and savings goals). Your savings will also help you cover unexpected costs like:

  • Emergencies (like losing your job)
  • Medical bills
  • Car repairs
  • Vet bills

Put everything into a spreadsheet or budget planner

Once you've got all your facts and figures, jot it down in a spreadsheet or budget planner. This way, you can see exactly how much money is going where. If you're spending a little too much in the wants column and not enough is going to your savings, try and tweak your spending habits so you can nail the method.

The key to sticking to your budget is making sure it works for you. That means you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly. If it ain’t working this month, try and switch it up next month.

Flux hot tip: Set up separate bank accounts for your needs, wants and savings - this will help you with your budget and automate the transfers so that you don’t even need to think about it.

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