Budget Your Weekly Expenses

Edited by Timbuktu, Charmed, Innocent Yogo, Eng and 8 others

One common complaint among workers regarding their salary is that even before the end of the second week, they've already run out of money. This experience forces them to borrow money from someone else. As a result of this, much of the salary they'll receive on their next payday is already allocated to pay the debt. And this goes on week after week, month after month – a vicious cycle that's very difficult to get out of.

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Are you working full time or part time? Do you get paid weekly bi-weekly or monthly? It doesn't matter which category you fall into, what matters is, your pay should cover all your expenses, right? If it doesn't, perhaps you need to tighten your rein on those "wants" and focus on "needs"? Perhaps you have made enough money to live on, but you just need a little reminder on how to properly manage your expenses.

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What to Check

  1. 1
    Calculate Your Household Bills.
    Make a list of all your household bills: electricity, water, house rent, phone, internet, insurance, credit card debt and any other bills or subscriptions that you need to pay every month. Add them all up.
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  2. 2
    Calculate Other Living Expenses.
    Calculate the average weekly expenses you will incur. This will include gas for the car, food, transportation fare, coffee, entertainment and your children's allowances. You might notice, when you do this, areas in your life where you are over-spending. As an example – if you get a pricey $2.65 take-out coffee every day before work, in one month, excluding weekends, you'll spend $53.00.
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  3. 3
    Add 1 & 2.
    Add your "Other Living Expenses" total to your "Household Bills" total. This total combines your monthly overall expenses, and you can use this as a guideline when creating your budget.
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  4. 4
    Calculate Monthly Earnings.
    Add up your total net earnings for the month. This will include any payments you receive outside your full-time job - like a part-time job or a royalty fee for something you made and any other additional earnings. Deduct your over-all expenses from the total of your overall earnings. What's left will be your savings.
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How to Manage Your Over-All Expenses.

  1. 1
    Electricity and Water Bills.
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    These two bills fluctuate. They don't have a fixed rate. The amount is reflected on your monthly bill will also reflect how much water and electricity you use. As such, you will have a general idea of how much per month you actually use up. When you budget for these two bills, make sure you project the largest amount you have incurred. This way when the bill comes, it will either be just enough or more than what you actually used. If you live in a cold climate, remember you'll be paying more for heat in the colder months.
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  2. 2
    Internet, Phone, House Rental, Other subscriptions.
    House rent.jpg
    These expenses have a fixed rate, therefore, it's easier for you to approximate how much money you will need to pay them. In addition, it is also advisable not to skip payments on these fixed rate bills because they tend to accumulate.
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  3. 3
    Weekly Children's Allowance, Gas and Transportation Costs.
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    If you don't have a fixed amount that you give your children, it's high time that you make one now. This way, your children will learn how to handle their money and save up for things they might want. Basically, this article is teaching you to budget, now you should teach your children to budget as well. Explain to children that an X amount of money is what defines their allowance. Anything that they need for school should be deducted from it, except for tuition fees. This way, they will know that they need to save up if they want something. If someone commutes and does not ride in the family car, then perhaps adjustments can be made so that the money allocated for fare can be set aside for other necessities like food and clothes. Don't forget to multiply this by four to get the monthly expenses, rather than the weekly expenses.
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  4. 4
    Purchasing Clothing.
    Clothes.jpg
    Unless there's a special occasion that requires the purchase of clothes, it's best that clothes be purchased on a monthly and case-to-case basis
    .
    Clothes should be taken care of. It doesn't hurt if the younger sister wears the hand-me-downs of the older sister. Clothes may be purchased if the old ones don't fit anymore, or if there is more than enough money.
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  5. 5
    Food.
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    Planning for food should be done weekly. This will save you not just money, but time and energy, too. Sit down and plan the meals for the week. Planning the groceries will include all the required ingredients in cooking. By doing so, trips to the supermarket using the family car will be fewer, thus saving up on gas. Don't forget to look for coupons online, and online flyers before you make your shopping list. Build your meal plans around food that is on sale.
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Free Template Budget Worksheet

You can search the web for resources on managing your expenses, or use this template: "VisiHow Budget Template". This is a tool that will help you monitor and plan your budget. A tutorial on how to use the template will be also discussed.

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How to use the VisiHow Budget Template

Before proceeding, take note that you can only fill in the green cells. Accepted values are numbers, so do not enter amounts in text and words.

  1. 1
    Enter your income and any other income in the designated cells.
    If you have more than two sources of income, you can add them and put the total in other income. Total income is formulated to add income and other income.
    PIC 1 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
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  2. 2
    Enter your expenses in the designated cells.
    Basic expenses are already in the template while you can edit "Other Expenses 1" to "Other Expenses 3" to suit any of your regular expenses not included in the template. Total Regular Expenses will add up all of the expenses entered on your template.
    PIC 2 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
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  3. 3
    Enter your target savings.
    Savings should not be what's left of your income after expenses. Savings should be a fixed figure you want to achieve. You can increase it depending on the success of your budget, however, it is not advisable that you manipulate it. If you do, you will be projecting a false budget and lose track of what your savings are.
    PIC 3 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
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  4. 4
    Sage Advice.
    You have completed filling in the needed data. The template will then compute the data and will give you results and suggestions:  
    1. When you break even. If the template generated a break-even result or reflects that your income is equal to your expenses plus savings, it will tell you that you do not have extra cash for spending.
      PIC 4 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
    • Surplus. If it shows that you have a surplus amount at the end of the month, or your income is greater than the sum of expenses and savings, it will show how much extra money you have and will also tell you that you can spend more on two expenses that you assigned with small amounts. It will also recommend you to add the surplus amount to your savings, showing you the total after adding it up. You can also use that extra cash to buy things that you want.
      PIC 5 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
    • Deficit. If the template reflects that your expenses are more than what you earned, it will suggest that you deduct X amount of money from a less important expense to achieve a break-even result. It will be recommended that you don't manipulate the target savings, but in most cases, when it is required, you'll need to consider postponing a purchase that is not on the list of necessities. It is better to save up the amount required before you plan to purchase something that is not included in your budget.
      PIC 6 HOWIKI GUIDE BUDGET TEMPLATEWITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE IT.PNG
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Weekly vs Monthly Expenses

How do you manage weekly or monthly expenses? Is it better to budget on a monthly or weekly basis? This will all depend on the schedule of the bills against your salary schedule, and how often you get paid. Weekly expenses are a lot easier to manage because you are able to set aside a budget for seven days. You also have the opportunity to adjust your savings, especially if you still have groceries left and you've already paid your bills the previous week. You can even plan for a special weekend every two weeks, knowing you've already tended to your financial obligations.

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If you get paid on a monthly basis, it is ideal to always anticipate financial obligations a few weeks ahead. Once you receive your monthly salary, set aside money for your bills first, then do your groceries. What's good about planning your budget on a monthly basis is that you can actually see how much money will be left for food and other stuff. You get to see how much you save for the month and plan for the next month ahead of time. That being said, it takes more discipline to manage getting paid monthly. If you run out of money too quickly, you'll have a longer wait before your next payday.

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In this age of technology, it is common for people to have several part-time jobs, rather than one full-time job, or have a part-time job in addition to their full-time job. Even though you may earn more than you require, it's always advisable to keep your head above the water. Never overspend! Instead, save up for the future and emergency needs.

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Additional Tips:

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  • When purchasing your groceries, take note of the price of items you frequently buy. By doing so, you can compare prices and opt for a lesser price with the same quality, or go to a store with better prices. Look for flyers and coupons online, and create your meal plans based on what's on sale – especially meat. Buy in bulk, when you can.
  • Keep track of how much money you have left after shopping. Do you have extra?
  • It's advisable that you make sure you save up before making a purchase on something you want. If you can't afford it at this time, wait until you have the required amount before making the purchase.
  • Use your credit card wisely. Do not overspend as this will cost you in the long run.
  • Always ask the question "Is this a necessity?" When you and the members of your household learn the difference between a necessity and a luxury, money is spent wisely.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Business & Management

Recent edits by: Nuance, vc, Graeme

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