Only half of Canadians report having a budget. Does your household have one, or are you spending carelessly?
Creating a weekly budget can be a pain, but once you’ve established it, it can help you improve your spending and saving habits. You’ll find yourself saving more money than ever before.
But what are the pros and cons of a weekly budget, and how should you start one? Let’s talk about it.
Read on to learn all about why you should have a weekly budget and a few bonus budgeting tips.
Benefits of a Weekly Budget
When it comes to figuring out a weekly vs monthly budget (though there’s nothing wrong with doing both), it’s a good idea to compare the pros and cons.
Why would you want to keep track of a weekly budget instead of (or in addition to) a monthly budget? Here are a few benefits of maintaining and tracking a weekly budget.
Easier to Track
It’s far easier to keep track of a weekly budget than it is to keep track of a monthly budget.
When you’re budgeting strictly (which you should at first, more on that later), you should be noting every single expense. That means that you’re keeping receipts (or taking photos of them) and putting everything into a spreadsheet at the end of the week.
It’s far easier to keep track of a week’s worth of expenses than it is to keep track of a month’s worth of expenses.
If you only have to track expenses for a few transactions every week, it should only take you a few minutes to do your calculations. This makes the budgeting and tracking process more approachable and makes you more likely to keep up with it.
When you’re only focusing on a monthly budget, you’re planning everything a month ahead of time. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for fun, surprise expenses, or potential changes (either positive or negative).
When something comes up, you have to rework your entire budget.
When you have a weekly budget, this isn’t the case. It’s far easier to make changes week-to-week without disrupting your overall budget for the month. You can easily plan to spend a bit less money next week if you overspend this week.
May Make Saving More Accessible
Planning to save money every month can be more stressful than it seems. You know that you want to set aside a certain amount of money, but when you’re planning so far ahead, it seems like a large sum.
When you choose to put money into a savings account every week, that sum of money seems far more accessible.
For example, let’s say that you want to put away $500 per month into savings. This is a low number for some people, but for others, it seems inaccessible.
When you break it down week-by-week, it’s just over $100 per week. What can you cut from your expenses every week (or how can you make more money) to be able to add that much money into your savings account?
Downsides of a Weekly Budget
So why wouldn’t you want to devote time to a weekly budget, and instead, put all of your energy toward tracking a monthly budget?
For many people, a monthly budget is more than enough. Here are a few downsides to tracking week-to-week.
We mentioned before that tracking can be easier if you’re only noting down expenses weekly, but this isn’t true for everyone. Some people prefer not to spend time tracking every week, and instead, track only once at the end of the month.
Reviewing your purchases, income, and budget adjustments every week might be too overwhelming for some people.
May Be Too Flexible for Some Households
If you’re good with money, tracking a weekly budget should be fine. If you have a hard time controlling yourself with money, however, you may prefer the strictness of a monthly budget.
It’s easy to overspend one week and decide that next week you’ll make up for it by spending less money. This is harder to do when you’re tracking a budget for an entire month.
How to Create a Reasonable Weekly Budget
If you think that a weekly budget is right for you, it’s time to start planning! It’s not hard to create a budget. Sticking to it is the challenge.
Here are a few budgeting tips that can help you get the ball rolling.
Make a List of Necessary and Unnecessary Expenses
Any time you start a budget, you need to make a list of wants and needs. This will help you determine how much money you’re actually spending vs how much you can save if you choose to make some cuts.
Make sure that you note which expenses are recurring as well.
Necessities are going to include things like bills, food, and necessary clothing (though there are definitely ways that you can save on these things).
Unnecessary expenses include things like going out, luxury items, toys, and subscription services (among other things). Anything that you don’t need to survive and keep a roof over your head is unnecessary.
Recurring expenses can be either necessary or unnecessary. They include subscriptions, bills, and memberships to things like gyms.
You’re going to have to divide recurring expenses into weekly payments to get an accurate idea of how much you’re spending.
Compare Expenses to Income
Once you have a list of expenses, compare them to the amount of money you’re bringing in every week. Consider every source of income.
If you only get paid bi-weekly, split that in half to get your weekly income.
Subtract your regular necessary expenses from your income to see how much money you have leftover. Try to aim for the 50/20/30 method when you’re determining how much you can spend on “fun” things and how much you should try to save.
Try to Save Every Week
As we mentioned before, saving money every week can be easier with a weekly budget. Setting aside even a few dollars will make a huge difference.
Let’s say you can only afford to set aside $100 per week to put into a savings account. This isn’t ideal, but it’s the reality for many people living in Canada.
That will turn into $5,200 by the end of the year. No, that might not seem like a lot of money, but when many people don’t have any savings at all, it can make a big difference.
Of course, the benefits are larger if you’re able to save more money every week.
Consider Using Cash for “Fun Money”
If you struggle to not over-spend, it might benefit you to use cash for your spending money.
Every week, withdraw the amount of money that you’re able to use for non-necessities based on your budget. That is the only money that you’re going to have access to.
Once the cash is gone, you’re done spending. If something comes up, you can always pull out your bank card, but then you’ll know that you’ve over-spent and you can adjust next week’s budget accordingly.
When you have leftover cash, you can either save it or put it toward the next week.
Make Spending and Saving Goals
Even though you’re only tracking your budget weekly, you should still be setting goals! How much money do you want to spend and save every week?
Consider looking for ways to cut down costs on necessities so you can spend more “fun money” or put more money toward your savings account. For example, you can meal plan to save money on groceries.
Making spending and saving goals can actually be fun, and you’ll be shocked at how much you can save if you’re careful.
Track Progress Every Month
While this is a weekly budget, you should also still be tracking your progress every month to make sure that you’re on track. You may discover that your budget wasn’t as accurate as you’d thought and that you need to reconsider.
You could have miscalculated your expenses or income, and you won’t notice until it’s time to pay bills.
Do You Have a Weekly Budget?
Having a weekly budget isn’t for everyone. If you like having spending flexibility, you’re good with managing your money, and you think you’d prefer shorter budgeting sessions once per week over long budgeting sessions once per month, making a weekly budget might be right for you.
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