The number one thing I recommend to anyone wanting to sort out their finances is to have a budget. Having a budget helps you to keep track of where your money is going. There are quite a few different types of budgeting methods and what works for others may not work for you. The right type of method for you, should fit with your own personal goals.

Budgeting does take time and effort, however it's great for helping you to gain financial independence by spending money responsibly, improving debt repayment strategies and  increasing your savings goals. 

5 Budgeting methods to consider 
Before choosing a budgeting method it's a good idea to sit down and  look through your finances to see if you can spot any trends. You can do this by looking at bank statements or by keeping approximately two months worth of receipts. To make it easier it's wise to sort them into categories such as household, food, personal, entertainment etc. Once you understand your finances better and understand your spending patterns then it's time to look into budgeting methods such as the five below.

The 50, 30, 20 method
The 50 30 20 budgeting method is where you plan your budget by allocating it into three categories: needs (50%), wants (30%) and savings (20%). This is a great method if you are starting out with budgeting as it doesn't mean having to track thoroughly. It's also great if you struggle with budgeting and want to find a method that's a bit more easier. You can also customise the percentages depending on your circumstances, for example 40/25/35 if you are wanting to put more into savings/debt. 

Cash budgeting 
Cash budgeting, also referred to as cash stuffing or the envelope system is where you plan how to spend your money each month and fill an envelope with the allocated cash for each category. You start off with sorting out your fixed expenses such as rent/mortgage,  energy/water bills, insurance etc. Then with what's left over you allocate it out beginning with a food budget for that month, any sinking funds, debt payments, shopping money etc. This means that every bit of your income is allocated into your categories so you’re essentially left with zero.  This a great way to budget for those who prefer cash or need to use cash as a way of cutting down on unnecessary spending. However it's not ideal if you don't like the idea of carrying around large amounts of cash. 

The Zero based budget 
The concept of zero based budgeting is simple. This method of budgeting encourages you to use every penny of your income. So when you have completed your budget your income and total you've spent should match. Like with cash budgeting you allocate all of your money into categories including savings, sinking funds and debt payments. This way of budgeting works for those that have a set income each month so not ideal if your income varies. It is also not ideal if you are new to budgeting as there is less room for error.

Reverse budgeting 
Reverse budgeting is where you basically pay yourself first focusing particularly on savings and debt repayment. Then you focus on your fixed expenses and finally on your basic spending needs and other things. If you are someone who struggles to save each month this is probably the best way for budgeting. 

The no budget, budget
This way of budgeting is a flexible way of budgeting where you focus on spending within your means. How it works is by:
- Keeping an eye on your bank account 
- Know when your recurring bills go out 
- Set aside for savings and debt repayments
- Spend what's leftover without going overdrawn.
It sounds like an easier method of budgeting however if you aren't good at saying no to unnecessary spending then it's a method worth avoiding.

Whatever method you try, don't give up - it can take a few months to get used to a system and if one budgeting method doesn't work for you, you can try another. Focusing on your goals is a great way to keep you motivated on achieving them. 

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