Since lockdown started, way back in May (which actually feels like a lifetime ago). My finances took a massive hit. My business suffered and I really felt that there was no way of saving it. I was plunged into panic mode, having anxiety attacks and sleepless nights.
My head was filled with questions like, how was I going to manage financially now that my income was in decline? How am I going to turn it all around?
Lucky for me, I still had a few loyal customers, I didn’t starve to death and I was able to pay my rent each month. I got creative by revamping my Etsy shop and working remotely one hundred percent of the time. I started networking online and used the extra time to grow my presence on social media. I also started blogging twice a week, which has been a great help.
The main thing I did to get my finances on track was to sit down and design my own budget planner so I could keep track of my income and expenses all in one place. Each month on a set date is budget day and doing this has helped in so many ways.
So here’s what I do:
1/ On the first working day of the month I print off the previous months bank statement. With one coloured highlighter, I mark all my fixed expenses like utility bills, subscriptions etc, and with another colour I highlight all other expenses.
2/ I transfer all the fixed and non fixed expenses over to a budget sheet as well as my income for previous month.
3/ I go through my bank statement mainly to look at purchases that I have made that were unnecessary. At first I was shocked at how much spending I was doing on things I either didn’t need or made no sense. One month I spent £150 on art materials that I definitely didn’t need. I was emotionally spending and it needed to stop. So now I go through my bank statements and add up all this type of spending and transfer it to a spending tracker. Doing this helps me to see month after month how I am spending and motivates me to lower the amount next time. It was the reason that I created the spending tracker, which I now fill in regularly. Keeping all the budgets sheets together in one file is also a motivator to do better next month.
4/ I attach all sheets for that month to the budget planner for easy access.
5/ I give myself a very strict weekly allowance to get myself out of the habit of emotional spending. Now, if I see something that I think I need, I put it in a wish list in my planner. If I still need it a month later, then it makes it to the wish list on amazon if applicable. Put it this way, I have to desperately need it before I commit to buying. So once the bills are paid, I give myself £30 to live on for the week. The £30 is only for food anyway but it was really hard to begin with as I was used to just piling up the shopping trolley without even thinking of meals. (I have a meal planner too) It is so much easier these days and I love looking for cheaper alternatives and bargains. I think I am getting really savvy at shopping. I am no longer buying junk because I know that will eat (pun intended) into my weekly allowance. I also know that it’s not forever. When business picks up again I will be able to raise the amount of allowance I give myself. It is working for me really well and my bank statements are showing surplus money at the end of the month. This extra money get’s transferred into a savings account and I am loving seeing it increase month after month.
You can find my simple budget planner in my Etsy shop as well as all other printables mentioned above. Just follow the link below: