STICK TO A ZERO-SUM CHRIST­MAS BUD­GET

Your Family - - Money Smart -

A zero-sum bud­get is one that has been planned to the last de­tail. The ob­jec­tive, which might seem strange, is to spend ev­ery last rand in the pot (but never more). The catch is, ev­ery bit of money must be spent on ex­actly what it was al­lo­cated for – each and ev­ery rand in the bud­get is as­signed a job. This way, no money is spent care­lessly and there’s noth­ing left to waste. Although the con­cept might sound strange, this kind of bud­get­ing is ideal for keep­ing Christ­mas spend­ing in check. Here’s how to cre­ate your zero-sum bud­get:

1 RECORD YOUR MONTHLY IN­COME

This should in­clude pay checks, any in­come from small busi­nesses or ‘side hus­tles’, and can also in­clude money you’ve made sell­ing items on­line on sites like OLX or Gumtree. Use a note­book, or use a bud­get­ing app like 22seven, and list your en­tire in­come.

2 LIST MONTHLY EX­PENSES

Just be­cause you’re putting to­gether a bud­get for Christ­mas doesn’t mean you should ig­nore all your usual ex­penses. Start your bud­get with the ne­ces­si­ties like bond, food, util­i­ties, and petrol. Once you’re done with the es­sen­tials, list all your other monthly ex­penses – in­ter­net, en­ter­tain­ment ser­vices like Net­flix, and your gym mem­ber­ship. Fol­low up with any other ex­penses you can think of.

3 CUT AND SAVE

Cut down on any ar­eas you can to start putting to­gether sav­ings for your Christ­mas

bud­get each month. Make sure the goal amount you want to save for your bud­get takes into ac­count all the trim­mings, like wrap­ping pa­per, food and dec­o­ra­tions, as well as gifts.

4 MI­NUS YOUR IN­COME FROM YOUR EX­PENSES TO EQUAL ZERO

If each and ev­ery rand of your in­come is al­lo­cated to some­thing, the to­tal should be zero when you mi­nus that amount from your ex­penses. If there’s money left over, give it a ‘job’ – al­lo­cate it to some­thing (even if it’s a treat). If you don’t, you’re more likely to spend it care­lessly and won­der where it went at the end of the month. With your zero-sum bud­get, ev­ery­thing is ac­counted for. The key is to never spend more than the al­lo­cated bud­get. Stick to your zero-sum bud­get and you’ll find all the money-re­lated stress will dis­ap­pear from Christ­mas shop­ping, be­cause you’ll know ex­actly what things will cost, and it won’t af­fect money set aside for your other ex­penses.

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