Running low on cash?
Here’s how budgeting can help
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When we think about budgeting, the idea of settling for second best to keep costs low may come to mind. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, budgeting simply means allocating a specific amount of money for something. It’s keeping track of spending by setting a limit.

Whether you’re just starting your first job, about to get married, or are currently building a family, budgeting is for you. Knowing how to manage your expenses and allocate budgets for different purposes is important as you build healthy financial habits.


Why do we need to budget?
While living paycheck to paycheck sounds like a reasonable plan, you’re putting yourself at risk financially because of the lack of a safety net. It doesn’t help that the job market in Brunei can be quite volatile, which is why we all need financial reserves to back us up so that life can go on even when we go through more turbulent times.


Getting the basics right
A quick search on the internet will show you the 50/30/20 rule. This translates to setting aside 50% of your income for needs, 30% for your wants, and the remaining 20% for savings. While this serves as a good guide in the bigger picture, budgeting will require you to look into things from a more granular perspective.

Of course, you’ll need to first set aside fixed living expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, bills, insurance, school fees, and other basic necessities. After you’ve put that money aside, think about your other priorities. If a monthly spa retreat makes you happy, then having an allocated amount designated for that purpose will help make the pampering experience all the more enjoyable. Having a healthy social life is also important, so set aside a sum for café hopping on the weekends, or for your next road trip with friends to ensure that you don’t overspend in the midst of all the fun.


Our families can be a blind spot that we may not realise are eating into our expenses. While it can be fun to organise a family gathering every weekend, the costs can escalate pretty quickly, even on food alone if we’re hosting. One way to curb that expense is by getting family members to bring a dish. Better still, switch it up sometimes with a fun, healthy activity like a visit to the park. Not only will the children enjoy themselves at the playground, adults too, can get a good breath of fresh air. The best part? It’s free.

Plan ahead
Just as it’s never a great idea to go to the supermarket without a shopping list or on an empty stomach (because you’ll end up with a lot more in your cart at checkout!), it’s also wise to plan your journey before you head out the door. For example, if going to the mall, have an idea of what you’re buying and where you’ll be dining. If the plan is to just go for a stroll to enjoy some free air conditioning, make sure you stick to your plan to window shop, or leave your card at home to avoid temptation. Likewise, if you know which restaurant you’ll be dining at, you can be more prepared to pay the bill. To help you save more, consider patronising restaurants that offer discounts. Find out what memberships you have and see if they have deals for you, such as Baiduri Deals that offers Baiduri cardholders discounts with specific merchants.


Get someone you trust to help with budgeting

Is there a handbag or a pair of sneakers you’ve been eyeing? Talk to someone you trust about it. A friend with your best interests at heart can help you reason if this is a purchase you should go ahead with. Weigh the pros and cons so that you don’t have any doubts when you approach the checkout.

There is no harm in buying something because you want it, as long as it is not purchased on impulse and you’ve balanced out your spending.

Budgeting helps you get a grip on your spending so that you control your finances, and not the other way round. While at first, budgeting may sound like you’re setting limits for yourself, the reality is that if you budget well, you’ll have a much better cash flow to do the things you enjoy. Essentially, if payday sounds like just another day to you, you’ve got your budgeting done right.
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