Budgeting & Debt Consolidation
- In establishing your financial plan it is crucial to prepare a budget.
- A budget is a tool that helps you take control of your money.
- A budget helps you understand where your money goes so you can take control.
- A budget helps you decide what you want and plan how to achieve it.
- Savings will be easier to achieve once you have prepared a budget.
How do you get started?
You can start a budget by writing down what you spend over a couple of months. Your budget is your personal tool and you can choose how much detail you want to include. When you are starting out, you may find it helpful to put your spending into categories – such as groceries – rather than keeping tabs on individual items such as soap, cereals, milk and pet food.
Think about what categories you would like to use. Some people find it helpful to work with two groups of expenses:
- Essentials – bills you must pay to keep your household and family running, such as electricity, water and gas, housing (being either rent or mortgage), groceries, health, transport, education etc.
- Non-essentials – the other expenses in your life such as entertainment, holidays and gifts.
There are no hard and fast rules for creating a budget. What is important is that it is easy for you to understand. Remember to keep the list of categories simple and useful to you. Be flexible – you can change your categories if you find they do not work for you.
Debt consolidation is a process where all of your debts are rolled together into a single loan.
Debt from personal loans and credit cards can be incorporated into your mortgage at a much better interest rate as home loans tend to have lower interest rates than other forms of credit. Consolidation will reduce your interest rate overall, and in this way save you money. Consolidation of your debt into your existing mortgage is most effective for larger amounts of money and should reduce the amount of your monthly payment. It also has the advantage of only having to make one payment per month.