Keeping on top of your money can be tough, and sometimes life gets in the way. If you’re looking for new ways to manage your money that keep things interesting and help send more dollars to your savings, we’ve got four budgeting strategies to add a little spice to your finance routine.
Budget Cycling is perfect for those who love going all-in on their savings for a short amount of time without having to put in the effort every single week. Instead of having one set budget per week or per month, mix it up to have more intense savings periods every so often.
For example: if you want to save $1,000 per month, instead of saving an equal $250 per week (approximately), with budget cycling you have one super frugal week where you stash $500. Think no social plans, heavy on the meal prep, and generally bringing your frugal A-game. This then frees up more spending money for the rest of the month, where you’d only save $166 per week.
The No Spend Week requires less planning and works really well as a reactionary tactic when you’ve overspent and need to rebalance your accounts. Simply choose a week, cancel your plans, and commit to no discretionary spending for an entire week. Not only can you cancel out overspending from earlier in the month, but it also helps to break bad habits and hit reset on your spending.
The Match It Challenge really helps those who are prone to mindless spending or splurging when they’re trying to stash cash. Each time you want to make a non-essential purchase, wait until you’ve saved the total amount, plus the same amount again matched to go into savings.
If you’re buying an item of clothing for $150, you’d save up $300 in total, splitting between the purchase and your savings account. That way, you get to enjoy your purchase now, and stash cash for the future. It’s the ultimate best of both worlds, and helps you practice serious discipline.
Percentage budgeting works by allocating every dollar that hits your account proportionally across your savings, wants and needs – and it’s great for budgeting with a fluctuating income. All you need to do is set your percentages for savings, wants and needs accordingly, and then direct your income to the right accounts in line with your allocations. 50/30/20 (needs/wants/savings) is a great place to start, but work within the boundaries of your income and your lifestyle.
Percentage budgeting also really helps control lifestyle creep. This is when your income goes up and without realising it, your spending follows suit while leaving your savings behind. When you apply percentage rules to all income, your needs, wants and savings all benefit at the same rate.
If you struggle to send your dollars to your savings account, try gamifying the process and linking your savings strategy to your habits. Set yourself a habitual trigger – like going to the gym or writing a set number of words on an assignment – and assign a dollar value. Each time you do that thing, pay yourself that dollar amount into your savings. It adds up really quickly and helps you get into a rhythm with gradual savings.