Questionnaire: Do You Budget Wisely?
Keeping to a budget is a skill that does not come naturally to most people, after all everyone enjoys a nice treat every now and then. Yet budgets are imperative for students who must get by with limited funds and don’t want to take on any more debt than they must.
QuestionnaireTo help you reflect on your budget we have devised the following questionnaire. Answer each question honestly, then total up your “yes” answers and match the number to the explanations at the end to find out if you budget wisely.
1. Do you know how much money you have to spend each week/month?
2. Do you know how much your fixed costs (rent, utilities, etc) total each week/month?
3. Do you put a little bit of money aside regularly in case of emergencies in the future?
4. Do you avoid carrying a balance on a credit card to avoid paying interest?
5. Do you compare the cost of items (groceries, supplies, etc) at many shops before buying?
6. Do you pay mainly in cash for your purchases?
7. Do you review your bank statements regularly to look for errors?
8. Do you plan inconsistent purchases (haircut, clothing, etc) so they do not fall at once?
9. Do you look for offers and deals prior to purchasing items?
10. When budgeting, do you over-estimate purchases to ensure you have enough money?
11. Do you build a little discretionary spending (for treats) into your budget?
12. Would you be willing to ask for help with budgeting if you find out you are not good at it?
Do You Budget Wisely?If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then you most likely do not budget well. Your first mistake may well be that you avoid looking at the honest numbers of your situation. Spend a month tracking how much money you have to spend and how much you do spend. Be sure to pay attention to where you spend it and what you spend it on so that in the future you can make more education decisions about what you truly need and if there is anywhere else you can purchase it for less money. Make a point of paying in cash for a while until you get used to your new budget. Remember that once the cash runs out you should stop spending and not rely on credit or loans to continue purchasing things you might want but don’t really need.
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you may budget wisely. It is likely you pay some attention to money, but you may find it difficult or frustrating to limit yourself in favour of saving up for something special. Think about when you make the most impulse purchases. What are they? Where do you buy them? How do you feel when you buy them? The more you understand about your own spending habits the more likely you will be to create an honest budget that you will be able to stick to. Putting away any credit cards should also help you get a better grasp of how much money you actually have, and hopefully keep you away from an endless cycle of spending and debt.
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you most likely budget wisely. You likely know how much money you have for any given time period as well as how much you must spend on necessities. If you are still finding yourself spending more than you have then it may be because you are having trouble spotting the differences between “needs” and “wants”, or because you forget a few purchases you’ve made on a credit card or by owing others for things. As unemotionally as possible look at your spending habits. If you find you can’t give up certain items then see if you can find them for less money at another shop, or a different brand of the same product which will cost you less. If you still can’t quite stick to a budget consider asking for help from someone you know to be good with budgeting and saving - hopefully their good habits will rub off on you!