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If I budgeted I could've bought...

We know that budgeting sounds complicated and a little intimidating but a budget is simply a plan that helps you see how much money you get every month, where it is spent and how much you plan to save.


These five easy steps will get you started in drawing up a budget:

Know what you can afford

Distinguish between your needs and your wants.

List your sources of income.

List your expenses, including what you need to save.

Subtract your expenses from your income to see what you have left.

Keep track of your monthly expenses by updating your budget regularly.

Distinguish between your

needs & wants

  • Each person's needs and wants are different. For many people a laptop might be something that they want but an IT professional needs it.
  • Needs are things that you cannot do without. These generally include food, water, housing and basic clothing.
  • Wants are those things that we would like to have, or that are nice to have, but we do not need them to survive. They are often called luxuries and include the latest mobile phone, cars, expensive clothing and accessories, and lavish parties.
  • To set up an accurate budget be honest about what you really need and what you want.

What is your monthly


Income is any money you receive on a regular basis. You might earn income from various sources including: salary or wages, a social government grant, allowances (from family and friends) or cash gifts.

It can also be money received from offering a service like baking, sewing, looking after children, braiding people's hair or offering a taxi service.


Types of expenses

Fixed expenses

The amount you pay does not change frequently and payments are made regularly (e.g. monthly) including rent or bond repayments, school fees, insurance premiums and car repayments.

Variable expenses

For these accounts you must give your bank notice when you want to withdraw your money.


These accounts are for short-term investments of less than 12 months.

Tips to reach your


  1. When you need to cut down on certain expenses, it is usually easier to cut down on variable expenses, especially variable wants.
  2. Budgeting isn't a once-off activity. You should revisit your budget regularly as your income or expenses change.
  3. Prioritise saving in your budget by listing it as a fixed expense. Savings often get lost in the overall budgeting process simply because of overspending.
  4. Focus on keeping within your budget. By managing your expenses you reduce the likelihood of your expenses exceeding your income. By keeping track of where your money is going it is easier to get back on track, if you do go over budget.