It’s more fun than it sounds! We like to think of budgets as a plan for your money and what you’ll spend it on – including the things you want to buy. Budgeting isn’t just for bills! But how do you set a budget up? And what should it cover?

With rises in the cost of living recently, how best to make our money go further?

Making ends meet – and making a surplus with our budgets – becomes all the more challenging when costs keep rising. The goal is to stay on track and not take on any new debt. Many times we can adjust our spending plans, but that said, we may need to take steps to earn more. Here are some tips to make your money go further, ways to save on groceries, and even ideas for side hustles to bring more money in.

What should I budget for?

Your goals, definitely. A budget is simply a plan to flow your money towards what you want, to live your best life. In addition to covering your bills and everyday expenses, the key thing with budgeting is to make a surplus, to have extra money left over, and not a deficit. Once you do, you've got money to aim at whatever goals you'd like to set. Here's where to start your budget

How can I stick to my budget?

To build a great budget that you can stick to, it helps to first know your numbers. By tracking your spending, you’ll start to see where your money is going, and you’ll be better placed to make decisions about where you really want your money to go. Too often we skip the step of looking at our current spending and jump to starting a budget with numbers that aren’t realistic. The key is to capture everything you spend for a month or two to get your full spending picture. There are several apps designed to track spending on the go or you can download your past transactions from your bank, which really helps to see the patterns. Here’s more on money tracking

Why should I plan my spending?

Using a budget to plan your spending and sticking to it not only helps make ends meet, it lets you spend on the things you want and enables you to reach your goals. Most things we'd like to achieve in life take money, and that money needs saving if we're not going to depend on debt too much. Once you've got a surplus in your budget, you can make sure it gets saved into separate accounts and builds towards what you want automatically. Live your best life! To set some goals today, here's our goal planner

Which budgeting method or strategy is best?

The classic "envelope" or "jar" technique helps give every single dollar a job to do. Our budgeting tool is a digital version of this. With this way of budgeting, you add up your incoming money and then divide it into the different categories you need to spend on, like your regular expenses (rent, mortgage, phone, power, insurance) and your irregular ones (like food or petrol, which can go up and down). Most importantly, you can include the goals you’re saving for. Here's our budgeting tool to start your plan today

Watch Video

What does ‘pay yourself first’ mean?

It’s the best way to save money – setting money aside every time you get paid. Send a chunk of money to your savings before your bills. This way you make sure saving is a priority for you and your whānau, and money is flowing towards your goals.

Learn more about budgeting

Still wondering about budgeting? We’ve put together some resources to help answer your questions.

Still wondering?

If you’d like to discuss your own situation (even anonymously) or need further advice, contact MoneyTalks.

Live chat online

Call 0800 345 123

Text 4029

Find out more

Feeling Stuck