coinsYou’re going to be graduating soon, heading out into the real world and applying for jobs. That means soon you’ll be responsible for managing your own money. If this is your first time managing a budget, it can seem painful and daunting at first. But budgeting doesn’t have to be that way at all. Budgets do have a bad reputation but they’re really just a tool for achieving your goals. There are ways you can make budgeting less painful and these are some of them. Be clear about your goals There’s not much point in budgeting if you don’t know what your goals are. Do you want to make it through the month without running out of money? Do you want to save for a specific goal like buying a car or moving into a new flat? Do you want to create an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs like doctor’s visits or new textbooks? Do you want to start researching investment strategies and begin investing in your future? Whatever your savings goals are, it’s important you’re clear about them. It can be difficult to put money away when you aren’t sure about its purpose. Track your spending One of the easiest ways to see an improvement in your spending habits is to track every cent you spend. Whether you use an app on your phone or an old school pen and paper, all that matters is you do it. That way you’ll soon begin to notice what your bad spending habits are. Are you spending too much on eating out or partying? Are you a little bit too generous with your money and find yourself constantly buying gifts for others? Once you’ve identified your spending patterns, you can begin to make changes to improve your money habits. Treat yourself in small ways It’s important that you don’t feel like you’re deprived. You still need to have some things to look forward to. You might not be able to treat yourself with fancy weekends away, expensive dinners out or buying rounds of drinks at the club. But you can enjoy a relaxing and beautiful walk in nature, spend time reading a good book and treat yourself to your favourite chocolate. You’ll soon learn to enjoy yourself in ways that don’t cost a lot of money. Image: Pexels