I’m always telling my students that their budgets are the key to lasting financial freedom. It allows you to save money, become debt free and grow your wealth. I love my budget. I can easily spend hours looking over it, updating it and, honestly, just flipping through the pages. However, not everyone feels the same kind of affection for their budgets. But your budget is super important. Whether you like budgeting or not, if you want lasting financial freedom, you need to dedicate time to your budget. Having a quick and easy daily budgeting routine will help you manage your money in just a few minutes a day. Yes, that’s all it takes.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to be really effective. In just 15 minutes a day, you can manage your money and set yourself up for lasting financial independence. If budgeting is a little difficult for you, then this quick and easy routine will be perfect for you! Add some of these 7 must-have budgeting items to your routine to make the process a whole lot smoother.
How often should you update your budget
You’re always going to have to work on your budget for each new month and each new paycheque. That’s kind of unavoidable. However, updating your budget in between each month will make a huge difference. How often you update your budget depends on your schedule and your routine. You might not have 15 minutes to dedicate to your budget every day. But the more often you update your budget, the easier the whole process will be.
I recommend updating your budget at least every few days, if not daily. By keeping on top of your budget, you’ll minimise the work you have to do and make it as easy as possible. I try to update my budget every day, but I know that’s not always possible. Updating my budget every few days is still much easier than waiting until the end of the month.
5-Step quick & easy daily budgeting routine
1. Track your expenses
First, you need to track your expenses. This should only have to take you a few minutes if you’re updating your budget daily. Look through your receipts and transaction history to track all your expenses from all your accounts. The more you spend, the more items you’ll have to track.
There are many ways to track your expenses. Experiment with the different methods and pick the one that works best for your budget and your routine.
2. Check your accounts & transaction history
Second, check your accounts and transaction history. This is a super quick task in your daily budgeting routine. You might be reviewing your transaction history in order to track your expenses. If that’s the case, then you’ve probably already completed this step without realising it. However, if you don’t log into your online banking at least every few days, you should start building this habit.
This step in your daily budgeting routine is not just about tracking your expenses. It’s also about checking your transaction history to ensure all the transactions you’ve been charged for are legitimate. Sometimes vendors accidentally double charge you, or sometimes you’ll have fraudulent charges on your accounts. The last thing you want is your money being spent by a stranger without your knowledge or approval.
If you do find transactions you don’t recognise, contact your financial institution as soon as possible to have it investigated. The sooner you escalate these issues, the sooner you’ll get your money back.
3. Determine how much money you have left
The next step is not as quick but it’s probably the most important part of your daily budgeting routine. After tracking all your expenses, you need to determine how much money you have left to spend until the end of your budgeting period.
I do a budget check-in at least every week. It shows me how much money I have left in each of my budget categories. This task has two important functions:
- it highlights which budget categories you’re at risk of exceeding your budget;
- it allows you to adjust your budget.
By doing this step regularly, it’ll be easy to see where you’re overspending. You can then make adjustments to your budget to get it back on track. For example, if you’ve budgeted $300 for food this month but you’ve already spent $280 in the first week, you know you only have $20 to spend for the rest of the month.
Review your budget to see where you can get the extra money from. Maybe you’ll choose to carpool instead of driving to work and cut your fuel costs for the month. Or perhaps you’ll take an extra shift at work to ease the pressure on your budget. See how it works?
Regularly checking in with your budget will help you pivot and adjust your budget as needed throughout the month instead of just allowing your budget to fail. It’s a more proactive approach to budgeting and puts you in control of your money.
4. Update your budget calendar
The next step is to review and update your budget calendar. If you’re doing this regularly, it’s a pretty quick step in your daily budgeting routine. The idea is to check your budget calendar for any upcoming events or payment that you haven’t already considered in your budget.
It’s also a chance to update your calendar for any new information both in the current month and for future months. Keeping your budget calendar as updated as possible will make it so much easier to create your new budget for every paycheque.
Your budget calendar is a really powerful but simple tool to keep your finances super organised. It’s easy to set up and quick to update as part of your daily budgeting routine.
5. Pay or schedule your bills & payments
Finally, the last step in your quick and easy daily budgeting routine is to make any required payments or schedule them for the future. I recommend having your bills and other regular payments on direct debit or auto payment if possible. That way, you can pretty much eliminate this entire step.
I have all my bills (except my credit card bill) on direct debit. My credit card bill isn’t a direct debit because my card provider will only debit the minimum payment from my account. I pay off my credit card in full every single month, so I make a manual payment instead.
However, all my other bills are paid automatically. This relieves a lot of anxiety but also makes my daily budgeting routine much quicker and easier. All I do is log into my online banking and check that my payments are still scheduled.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to be really effective. Small but consistent efforts will make a big difference to your finances. All it takes is 15 minutes a day to create a quick but powerful daily budgeting routine. Don’t get disheartened if it takes a little longer at first. Working on your budget daily will make it easier and faster to maintain. Start with tracking your expenses and checking your accounts. Then determine how much money you have left and update your budget calendar. Finally, make or schedule your payments and then you’re done for the day!