We’ve connected with HeyAlfred to get the 411 on finance!

You know that feeling, when it’s almost the end of the month, but payday still seems so far away – you start mentally calculating how much you’ve spent and begin regretting that Friday night out or the time you #treatedyourself a bit too much during an online shopping spree. Some may even find it hard to sleep because their bills keep piling up, but believe it or not – for most of our adulthood, our anxiety surrounds our finances.

This is where budgeting helps.

Does the word ‘budget’ make you clench your teeth like that Chrissy Teigen GIF? You’re not alone. It does seem quite restrictive and requires too much commitment, like, “I’m just not looking for a relationship right now”.

But when you budget the right way, and customise it to your own personal choices, a budget can actually give you the freedom to spend without guilt – you won’t have to constantly worry about how the money you splurge on iced coffee could have gone to your credit card loans instead.

It’s a simple guideline for where your money goes every month, so you can enjoy your life even more. Woo!

What is a budget?

A budget is essentially a spending plan for your money – for whatever goal you have (saving for a holiday, paying off debt, early retirement etc), a budget can help you achieve it.

Having a plan will ensure that you have enough money to cover the things that you need, and are important to you. 

Note: never think you don’t have enough money for a budget! If you start budgeting the second you get your first pay check, you’ll be able to build a habit that will last your entire career. 

How do I create a budget?

One of the most popular ways to budget is the 50/30/20 method:

However, personal finance should always be personal – like skincare, the most common method may not work for you as an individual. So, if you can’t currently save 20% of your income, try starting with 10% or 5% and grow it from there.

The best thing to do when developing your budget is to test out different ways and then tweak them to suit your own lifestyle and goals.

How do I implement my budget?

First, start by tracking all of your expenses for the previous month – write down everything you’ve spent on or use an app like HeyAlfred to help with the tracking.

This will provide you with a better understanding of your spending patterns and habits: are you spending too much on something you don’t need? Are you putting aside money for savings every month? Don’t be afraid to look at your own spending – the more aware you are, the faster you’ll be able to make better decisions for your future. 

Next, set an amount for each category of spending (food, transport, bills, rent, gifts, subscriptions, entertainment) and from there, pinpoint the expenses you can do without.

Try out your new budget and don’t stress if it doesn’t work out the first few times! Maybe you find yourself constantly overspending on groceries (we, too, get carried away in the snack aisle) – is there anywhere else you can cut down on so your grocery budget can be increased? Adjust it accordingly.

How do I stick to my budget?

Consistency is key. Don’t set a budget that is too strict – start small and be kind to yourself. If you’re used to spending RM500 on eating out every month, it would be unrealistic to cut it down to RM0. While it’s good to challenge yourself, don’t set yourself up for failure either. 

To be consistent, you also have to enjoy the process, so put aside a budget for the things you like too!

Tip: Automate things like paying your bills – you can also automate your weekly savings via the HeyAlfred app.

How can HeyAlfred help?

HeyAlfred is a personalised financial tracking app that helps you save, budget and track your spendings.

It automatically tracks all of your spendings (across different bank accounts) and displays it on the dashboard – allowing you to see what you spend on by category. From viewing all your spending categories in one chart, you’ll be able to identify your habits and notice when you over spend.

HeyAlfred also dishes out budgeting and saving tips to help you stay on track of your financial wellness journey. From the data based on your personal spending, the chatbot Alfie will let you know when you’re close to going a little over budget. 

The latest version of the app lets you automate your savings (via their partner Pod), so you can easily save for any goal you have – there’s nothing like a well-planned savings goal for your next big adventure (or purchase) to reward yourself with.

Download HeyAlfred on the App Store or Google Play and take control of your finances today!

 

Wellness is more than skin deep

One of the biggest myths about self-care is that it’s a luxury. Don’t believe the hype. Wellness has been promoted as lavish spa treatments, expensive facial creams and exotic vacations, when in reality, it’s mundane activities like allowing yourself to sleep in on the weekends and unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel bad. Sure it can be pretty pricey to pay for a therapist, sign up for a gym and stock up on healthy food, but financial wellness isn’t how much you spend on wellness – it’s about the wellbeing of your finances.

It’s hard to feel good when your finances aren’t looking good. The stress can even take a toll on your health and unfortunately, some financial situations might make it hard to get help. Don’t beat yourself up when it comes to things you can’t control, but by being more diligent about money management and mindfully spending within your means – you’ll be able to improve your financial health and prepare for a rainy day or emergencies. This is especially the case in today’s climate as we face the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn to plan better

Contribute meaningfully to others

Once you have yourself and your family covered, it would be great to consider the community and those in need. You can allocate some of your finances for meaningful contributions (one-off or monthly) to charitable causes that you believe in – whether it’s geared to help those who are underprivileged, raise environmental awareness, find a cure or encourage the advancement of creative industries. The opportunities are plentiful and the choice is yours – go for a cause that reflects your passion and champion it! As Sam Smith’s Money On My Mind goes, “do it for the love – of yourself and others”.