Your work as a tradie likely keeps you hopping from dawn till late into the night. When you finally have a moment to yourself, dealing with your financials is not on the list of things you would like to undertake. Yet, you may end up spending your rare free moments doing just that, especially if you do not adhere to any budget.

While the word budget frequently makes people cringe, having a budget is much more helpful than you might believe. You work extremely hard for your money; keeping an eye on it is in your best interest.

Fortunately, planning your budget is not as painful as many people think. Here are nine steps to help take the aggravation out of building your budget.


1. Getting Started

Every journey starts with the first step. Some people struggle with beginning a budget more than others. To help put you on the path to budgeting, try these steps:

  • Determine the reasons you need a budget. Obviously, as a person who operates as a tradie, you need a budget to keep your business on track. However, think about other reasons a budget can help you. For example, is it difficult to make it from one paycheck to the next? Are you planning for something important, like expanding your business or making a major purchase? Having a clear reason to make a budget often helps get the ball rolling.
  • Create time to work on your finances. Give yourself time and space to work through the budget. If you feel rushed, there is a greater chance that you will do a substandard job or stop before completing it.
  • Share your intentions with a business associate or a significant person in your life. We all need a little push sometimes.


2. Gather What You Will Need

To get an accurate picture of what your budget should look like, collect all of your financial records to give you a financial framework. Underestimating what you spend is a common issue most people have; this allows you to get an accurate picture of your situation.

Typically, you will want at least 30 days’ worth of records. However, if your business operates on a quarterly budget, adjust your numbers to fit your scheme. Here are examples of what you will need

  • Business expenses
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utilities
  • Food costs
  • Credit card payments
  • Entertainment
  • Auto and upkeep


Gather all the documentation you require
Gather all the financial documentation you require.


3. Be Realistic When Looking at Your Present Expenses

If you are not happy with the state of your finances, remember this is the way you will take control and redirect your course.


4. Create Goals for Saving

If saving does not come naturally to you, do not fret, you are not alone. Saving is no simple feat. However, once you get used to it, the saving will not feel like such a sacrifice.

  • Start with saving a small amount each time you get paid. Frequently 10% of your pay is a suggested amount. However, if 5% is a more comfortable sum, then begin there.
  • Keep your savings separate from your general funds. If you need to make an effort to get your savings, you will have time to consider if you need to spend.
  • Track your progress. Seeing the fruit of your labours is a great motivation to keep saving.


5. Set Spending Limits You Can Live With Comfortably

Having manageable limits will make sticking to your budget easier. You should resist the urge to cut out all things that are fun or convenient.

Instead, try cutting back. Rather than saying you will never eat out for lunch again, allow a small splurge. Try packing a lunch a few days a week and treating yourself to a meal out on Fridays. The goal of your budget is to help you have control of your money not to make your life miserable.


6. Use Cash as Much as Possible

While this may not be possible in relation to your business, paying with cash for other purchases helps to keep track of what you are spending. Additionally, some people find handing over cash more difficult than using a bank or credit card.


7. Take Advantage of Tools in Place to Help You

There are many budgeting apps and programs that are very useful. Once you have the programs set up, maintaining your budget and tracking your spending is much easier. Also, consider setting up automatic payments for recurring bills. This saves you time and eliminates late charges if a payment falls through the cracks.


Make use of budgeting apps on the market
Make use of budgeting apps on the market.


8. Shop Around

While looking for the best price is often second nature for major purchases, do not underestimate the difference checking prices can make on recurring purchases. It may surprise you when you find better deals on regular expenses such as:

  • Insurance premiums
  • Utilities
  • Internet and phone
  • Credit card interest rates
  • Entertainment services


9. A Plan for the Future

No one wants to think about the possibility of illness or injury diminishing their capacity to work. Unfortunately, we all need to expect the unexpected. An insurance checkup can go a long way to put your mind at ease. Feel free to contact Tradies 365 to speak with an expert who can make sure you have the right cover at the right price.

You will be pleasantly surprised when you discover that your budget is not confining you but is actually your key to financial freedom.