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3 budget hacks to help battle rising costs

A woman holds a baby while going over budget documents and Australian currency.
Setting up a simple budget can help you get on top of your finances . (Source: Getty)

It may not be fun, but with rising rents, interest rates and inflation, it’s time to take another look at your budget.

Having a solid budget can help - it’s more than just popping together a spreadsheet with how much you earn and how much you spend.

There are different ways to organise your money to save some serious cash.

Here are a few budgeting ideas to consider to help you get started.

Start by getting the full picture

A great way to fully understand your own spending habits is by using the Government’s MoneySmart budget tool.

This free tool allows you to input all your information about your income and expenses and is a great way to start.

It only takes a few minutes to use and easily lets you toggle between inputting weekly, fortnightly, quarterly or annual costs.

So, if you get paid monthly but pay your electricity bill quarterly, the tool works out the maths for you.

The 50/30/20 budget

Once you have a solid idea of how much you spend, you can start to prioritise.

The 50/30/20 rule basically means you should be putting 50 per cent of your money towards your needs, 30 per cent towards wants and 20 per cent towards savings.

If you need more than half of your income to cover your needs, then have a look through your wants to see what you might be able to cut out.

For example, many streaming platforms don’t have lock-in contracts. If you’re paying for Disney Plus every month but only really watch it for The Mandalorian then cancel your subscription and start it back up again when the new season comes out.

Pay-yourself-first budget

The pay-yourself-first budget basically prioritises savings and debt repayments.

The idea is that you set aside a specific amount every time you’re paid to put towards your savings and/or debts - the rest you spend as you please.

This is a much more simple budget but can be useful to those just starting out to get a feel for it.

This budget can be useful for those with a savings goal, or someone looking to pay just one large debt.

Envelope-system budget

The envelope budget is perfect for people who like things to be more tangible.

For some, it’s a lot easier to plan and prioritise when they can actually see what they’re dealing with.

The idea of the envelope budget is to plan your expenses for your pay period and use an envelope to store the cash for each spending category.

So, you’d have an envelope for bills, groceries, going out etc.

This way you can physically see what you’re spending and how you’re spending it. If you run out of cash in a certain envelope, that’s it - no more spending on that category until the next time you get paid.

If you don’t want to have envelopes of cash lying about the house, and your bank allows you to open multiple accounts without extra fees, you could also do it digitally.

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