Words by Caitriona Potter

Spring is here and now is the time to look at the year ahead with anticipation. Whether you are planning a solo trip abroad, a holiday with loved ones, are concerned about your relationship with money or would just like to invest in yourself this year, there are plenty of ways to begin budgeting and saving money, without feeling restricted or deprived. Despite what you may have believed growing up, there are more options than ever now to set aside extra income whilst still living a life you enjoy. Here are 3 budgeting tips to get you started.

  1. Lay out the figures.

While this may be the most daunting step, it is also the steppingstone to becoming more in control of your finances. There are plenty of free resources and templates online that allow you to lay out your income into specific categories, such as rent, bills, groceries etc., and see clearly where your money is going each month. If looking at these numbers feels overwhelming, take it slow and estimate where necessary. You don’t need to have perfect figures, and you can refine these as you get more familiar with it. Even this act alone can bring awareness to your spending and can reduce mindless taps of your card.

  1. Evaluate: What can you cut and keep?

Now that you have an outline of your monthly expenses, consider which of those are mindless purchases or habits that you can easily kick, such as a daily coffee, a store- bought lunch, or anything that is convenient but not necessary. If you buy your lunch every day out of convenience and not necessarily preference, you can start to bring lunches from home with you. This will not only reduce daily spending, but you may also find you have extra room to treat yourself to purchases that actually bring you joy, whilst adding to your savings. Alternatively, your daily latte may be the best part of your day and it is worth it to you- it is simply a mindset shift from mindless to mindful spending. Allow yourself to spend money on things that make you happy too, not just to survive.

  1. Consider your mindset towards money

It is very common to feel fearful around money and to feel as though there is ‘never enough’. Hopefully, by taking a look at our overall income and expenses, cutting back on mindless spending, and continuing to purchase things that bring joy, we can begin to feel more in control. There can however still be some lingering fear or scarcity, which can either manifest as ‘hoarding’ or deprivation. Alternatively, it can amount to impulsive spending for fear of earning more than we are comfortable with. Attitudes towards money are complex and are derived from childhood and the environments we grew up in. It is worth investigating where you can let go of these beliefs and fears if you feel they are hindering you as an adult. There are lots of resources for this online, which provide ways to begin to feel safe with both spending and saving.