10 Reasons Why You Should Create A Personal Budget in 2019

10 Reasons Why You Should Create A Personal Budget in 2019

I get it. I know that talking about money matters seems scary. I understand that Financial Management seems complicated. But I also want to make sure you are getting the information you need to make you financially secure, regardless of your current life situation.

I love making Financial Management simple and appropriate to you. No matter which way you look at it a very good starting step is to create a personal budget. See my previous blog post where I run through setting up the personal budget and, if you want the budget template, get it here.

Why is a personal budget so good? Here are my top ten reasons.

1. Give yourself control over your money – a budget makes sure your spending and saving is intentional. It helps you decide if you want to sacrifice short term perks (that extra treat each day) for long term benefit (a special holiday)

2. A Personal Budget keeps you focused on your money goals – avoid unnecessary spend to be able to afford things that are important to you

3. It makes you aware of unnecessary spend – a budget makes you aware of money coming in, how fast it goes out and where it is going. It allows you to cut out spend that may not have been recognised before

4. Helps you allocate some money to savings – by understanding what the monthly spend needs to be it is easier to see how much can be saved, and what items need to be saved for (car insurance, home repairs)

5. Helps you decide as a household how the money will be spent – a budget allows everyone to decide on what is needed in advance and agree how money will work for everyone

6. Allows you to be prepared for expected and unexpected costs – budgeting allows you to plan to set aside money for emergency costs.

7. Provides you with early warning for potential problems – by taking a big picture view you will see potential problems in advance

8. Helps determine what financial support you may need – when you understand your financial situation it is easier to see what other support you need

9. Determine how much debt you can take on – Budgeting shows what repayments you can realistically afford

10. Gain extra money – In budgeting, you get to identify and eliminate all unnecessary spending like the app you no longer use, late fees, etc. These seemingly small saving can add up over time

Start your budget today. Get control back into your money matters. Start planning your future.

Watch my previous post to see how easy it is ( https://www.askpaul.ie/easy-steps-personal-budget/ ) and talk to me for all your financial questions. No obligation, just simple explanations.


Take control of your finances. Book your 1:1 with Paul today

The 6 key steps to creating a personal budget in 2019

The 6 key steps to creating a personal budget in 2019

A personal budget can have a big impact on your life. It doesn’t matter how you create a personal budget (excel spreadsheet, notebook etc) but you do need some way to determine where your money is going each month. The trick is to find a way to track your finance that works for you. The following broad steps can help you create a budget.

Step 1: Set your goals

Before you start identifying all your incomings and outgoings, make a list of all the financial goals you want to achieve, for both the short term and long term. These goals aren’t set in stone but it will help if you know your priorities before you start a budget. Knowing the goals you want to achieve may make it easier to be honest with yourself about that extra daily coffee.

Short term goals should take no longer than a year to achieve. Long term goals, such as saving for retirement, the perfect home or children, may take many years to achieve.

Step 2: Note your net income

Identify the amount of money you have coming in. Make sure to use your net income (your take home pay). It is important to note how constant this income is and what might cause it to vary on a monthly basis.

If you have freelance or part time roles it is important not to overestimate what your monthly income is. I would suggest using a low income month as the amount to use when setting up a personal budget. Any additional income in a month can be used to grow savings faster.

It is also good to think about other potential sources of income. Can you convert a hobby or talent into a way to supplement your income?

Step 3: Track all your spending

It is important to create a detailed account of all places you are spending money. The more detail that is used the easier it will be to identify where changes can be made.

Start with printing out your bank statements and credit card statements. Go through these to identify and list

  1. All fixed expenses: regular monthly bills such as rent, car payments and utilities. It will be difficult to cut back on these but understanding how much of your income is assigned to these is important.
  2. List all variable expenses: these may change from month to month such as groceries, mobile phone and entertainment. Here you have opportunities to cut back.

Step 4: Set out your savings objectives

Make sure you note all the areas where you currently save and based on your goals you set out, determine the areas you want to save for. Don’t be too concerned about the value you will be saving on a monthly basis. This will be based on the amount of money remaining after paying for all your expenses. The savings categories should be detailed. This will help you decide on what has to be sacrificed or what is essential.

Savings should also include items such as car insurance and other once off lump sum payments. This will help you manage your money without unexpected shocks.

Step 5: Make a plan and adjust habits

Use the variable and fixed expenses you compiled to help you get a sense of what you’ll spend in the coming months. This will help you predict how much you have to budget for. Your past few months spending habits will guide you when trying to predict variable expenses.

Once you’ve done all this, you have what you need to complete your budget.

You now have all your income and spending details. This helps you see where you have money left over each month or if there is too little left over, where you can cut back.

The money left over can be put towards your goals and savings. If there is too little left over, you can either postpone certain goals or reduce some spend (small savings can add up to a lot. Don’t overlook the little things). Such decisions come with big trade-offs, so make sure you carefully weigh your options. You need to be able to commit to the budget.

Step 6: Keep checking in

Review, review, review. Very little is set in stone. Income may increase. Goals change. Control over spending.

Keep checking and readjusting your budget to suit your current situation. Follow the steps above and find a routine that suits you.

If you want any financial help please contact me. No obligation, just simple explanations.


Take control of your finances. Book your 1:1 with Paul today

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for 2019

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for 2019

1. Budget – first and foremost you need to sit down with pen and paper, or excel, and put down your income(s)* and your outgoings! This will show you how much you have coming in and going out. It should also highlight places you are overspending in!

  • Have access to your on-line banking or last statement – this will help you remember all your out goings.
  • Be ruthless about cancelling direct debits you no longer need BUT be very careful about cutting financial products from your bank account. Please get a review with a Certified Financial Planner® before cutting your financial products.

To view my “Easy Steps to a Personal Budget” tutorial, click here.

2. Become debt free in 2018 – Use all your spare cash to get rid of personal loans, credit cards car loans, credit union loans etc. Use the debit snowball effect which is paying off the smallest loan first, then the next smallest etc. Don’t go for the highest paying interest loan first as this could take too long to clear and will reduce your chances of success!

3. Ditch the cards – credit and debit.

  • a. Debit – cash is KING! When spending on your debit card it can be very hard and difficult to track how much money you spend
  • b. Credit – try make 2018 the year that you spend what you have put aside from your personal budget to spend! Don’t spend on credit.

4. Stop paying money for stupid things… – Like bottled water and coffee. This could save you over €1,000 per year.

5. If you are a smoker stop! – I was a smoker and stopped 4 years ago. I managed to save over €4,000 in 24 months! So I know it can be done!

6. Don’t change the car (unless yours is on its last legs, sorry wheels!) – Changing the car in January can be a very impulsive thing to do. But unless you’ve got cash please do not take out a new loan or an even bigger loan. 2018 should be about trying to get debit free!

7. Please don’t start a gym membership, unless you are 100% committed – Losing weight can be as easy as stopping eating and walking – once you mastered this for the month of January then invest in gym membership in February! Plus it will be easier to find a treadmill in February.

8. Claim last year’s tax back! – Get onto revenue.ie (my account) and claim your tax back on medical/dental expenses from last year!.

9. If you don’t have a second account with your bank get on it! – This second account should be used weekly to lodge money from your main (working account) into it. Your second account is going to be called Acorn Account. This is where you will act like a little squirrel and take money from your main account and hide it in your acorn account. So if you usually buy a cup of coffee for €2.50 a day going to work (€600 per year) at the end of each week (of not buying coffee) you will put €12.50 in your acorn account. If you were going to start a gym for €50 per month, don’t, instead set up a standing order for €50 to go from account 1 to your acorn account. You’re already on track to save €1200 in 2018! Now I want you to transfer money from account 1 to acorn account every time you think of an impulse buy, but don’t.

10. Switch providers! – I’m a big believer in getting the best of value out of banks, utility providers, insurance etc. Give yourself 1 hour with a laptop, bank statements, and all your bills, statements/statements. It’s usually better to do this on a Monday to Friday 9-5 if possible so you can speak to existing providers and new providers if needed.

    • Gas
    • ESB
    • Mobile Phone
    • Home Phone/Broadband
    • Car/home insurance
10 Easy to Apply Tips to Live a Happier, Healthier Life in 2019

10 Easy to Apply Tips to Live a Happier, Healthier Life in 2019

So you should have read my Top 10 Money Saving Tips for 2018 by now. Number 7 was the point of not joining a gym and signing up to monthly fees in January. It’s my belief that losing weight doesn’t need to cost money and to prove this I teamed up with Jay Reynolds (Personal Trainer and Nutritional Coach) to bring you his top 10 tips for living a healthier life in 2018! And here they are:

1. Move more – This could be something as simple as walking the dog every morning before heading off to work or arranging different physical activities with friends a few times per week such as 5-a-side football or hiking or even joining a dance class. All movement is good movement and in fact the lower intensity it is the more regularly you can do it, just make sure it’s something you really enjoy. All smartphones come with an app that tracks your daily step count, provided your phone is in your pocket. Try increase your step count. A good number to aim for is at least 10,000 steps per day.


2. Don’t crash diet – The first thing most people will do when adopting a new year diet is they drastically slash their food intake. This is not the answer. Dropping your calories extremely low will eventually end up with a crash and a rebound. Dropping your calories really low will actually “shock” the body and slow your metabolic rate down by subconsciously reducing your daily activity ,you will be too tired to exercise, your sleep quality will decrease, this will result in an increase in hunger. What we are ideally are looking for is just a small drop in calories paired with an increase in daily activity levels. This will get the fat loss ball rolling without extreme hunger or tiredness. Slow and steady wins this race.

3. Sleep – Adopt a good, regular sleep routine. Most people cannot fathom how many positive effects that consistent good quality sleep has not only on fat loss but on your physical and mental performance. Sleep no less than 7 hours per night. Go to sleep at the same time every night. Turn your bedroom into a cave. There should be no electronics in the bedroom. No TV, no computer, charge your phone in another room. Your bedroom should be tidy. There should be NO light in the room when you are trying to sleep, no even a standby light from a TV. The body likes routine. If you keep changing up your bedtimes it will negatively affect your sleep. The same goes for waking up. Wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. If you are “Snooze Whore” then put the alarm clock on the other side of the room so you HAVE to get up to turn it off. Start to “wind down” an hour before bed. Don’t go to bed stressed or with your mind racing. Get off your phone 1 hour before bed. The light that screens omit impacts the production of melatonin, a “sleep hormone”. We want to be sleepy when we hit the pillow.

4. Don’t keep junk food in the house – Out of sight, out of mind. It’s crazy that people have drawers full of crisps and biscuits. Why make things hard for yourself? You are so much less likely to eat junk if it’s not within easy reach.

5. Make a list – Write down easy to make, healthy meals that you actually like. Then write a list of ingredients needed and go get them all. Stock the house up with healthy foods.

6. Don’t fall for marketing – Stay away from the “health food” section. Things like protein bars, organic nut butters and gluten free products are just overpriced, heavily marketed nonsense.

7. Don’t reinvent the wheel – Stick to the old school stuff like lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, fruit, veg and low fat dairy like Greek Yogurt.

8. Don’t drink calories – Your coffee should not resemble a child’s desert. It should not be laden with cream and caramel syrup. Black coffee with a drop of milk is okay. Swap full sugar soft drinks for zero calorie diet versions or if possible swap them for water.

9. Give up the “quick fix” mind-set – No one ever got in amazing shape in 6 or 12 weeks, regardless of what adverts say. By trying to rush things you are setting yourself up for disappointment. There is no magic diet, no magic pill, no magic workout plan. Success is the result of consistent hard work done over a long period of time. Instead of trying to drop 10 pounds in a week and then being annoyed when you fail (which you will), why not aim for 1-2 pounds. It will be a lot easier to lose 1-2 pounds and you won’t have to starve yourself.

10. Don’t fall for fad diets like detoxes and cleanses – Find a diet that A: You enjoy, B: Gets you results, C: You can adhere to and sustain in the long run.

Bonus Nutrition Guide

  • Vegetables are your friend. They are super low in calories, they are packed with micronutrients and they keep you full for long. Half of every plate of food you have should be vegetables. All vegetables are good but greens in particular are the best of the best.
  • Eat protein with every meal. Protein is highly satiating, meaning it keeps you full for long. It also helps retain lean muscle tissue which will keep your metabolism high. Guys aim for 2 palm sized servings of protein with each meal, girls aim for 1 palm sized portion with each meal.
  • Carbs are not the enemy, just use them wisely. Carbohydrate rich foods are potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. Keep them for directly before and/or after exercise, depending on your goals. Even if your goal is purely fat loss there is no reason to avoid carbohydrates. They will help you train hard and recover fast. Just remember; if you are not training just fill your plate with protein and vegetables.
  • Fats are an essential part of healthy balanced diet. Fat’s such as nuts, avocado, oily fish, olive/coconut oil, real butter. Be mindful here though, while fat is an essential part of your diet you don’t need as much as many people think. There is no need to put coconut oil or butter in your morning coffee. There is no notable health benefits to this so called “Bulletproof Coffee”. It’s just another fad and it will drive your calories through the roof.
  • Don’t worry about counting/tracking calories until you have these few basics firmly in place. Most people are not looking to get “Hollywood lean” so becoming extremely detailed with nutrition isn’t necessary. If you are just looking to lose a few kilo’s, burn belly fat and tone up to look and feel better then these few steps listed above will work brilliantly, I use these with 97% of my clients. Only the high level, elite professional athletes need the highly detailed methods.

You can get in touch with Jay at ReynoldsTrainingSystems@gmail.com or click below to follow him on social media.