Money migraines got you down? There’s no magic pill, but a budget may ease the pain

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It's vital to do your homework about the person you're entrusting with your wealth creation and investment plans. For example, if you need
someone to take a comprehensive
look at your finances, a planner
who can only sell you a policy
won’t be useful to you.
It's vital to do your homework about the person you're entrusting with your wealth creation and investment plans. For example, if you need someone to take a comprehensive look at your finances, a planner who can only sell you a policy won’t be useful to you.
Delmaine Donson/Getty
  • Not having a budget and over-spending, as a result, can have long-drawn consequences.
  • A monthly budget will also allow you to save wisely towards future goals.
  • From using a spreadsheet to an online budgeting tool, there are ways to draw up a budget, which could help relieve your financial stress.


Rising interest rates and increasing inflation have created so much economic uncertainty that for many people, just glancing at their monthly expenses is enough to send them into a panic.

But while there is no miracle cure for your financial headaches, something as simple as a household budget may ease the pain, says Yaasin Nordien, COO of DirectAxis Loans.

Many finance experts recommend budgeting, but studies suggest that most households don’t have a budget, even in wealthy economies such as the US. In South Africa, the figure is likely to be higher.

READ MORE | Is rising inflation affecting your mental health? An expert shares ways to cope

“Reasons people don’t budget may be that they’re in denial and are afraid to look too closely at the state of their finances. They might think it’s too complicated or difficult to draw up a budget, or because for some people budgeting, much like dieting, has negative connotations,” says Nordien.

But instead of thinking about a household budget as a daunting exercise, Nordien says you should consider it a tool to enhance your future financial security. He says that setting a budget and sticking to it puts you in control of your money. By contrast, the opposite will only increase your financial stress.

Here's how budgeting can be beneficial:

  • It helps you focus on setting and reaching future financial goals rather than living paycheck-to-paycheck.
  • It discourages you from spending money you don’t have.
  • You will be motivated to track your income and expenses and stop unnecessary spending.
  • It allows you to manage debt repayments, avoid bad debts and maintain or improve your credit score.
  • It helps you spot potential problems and stop them from escalating.

It's worth the time and effort

Drawing up a budget can be a bit time-consuming, but it really isn’t difficult, says Nordien. You can use a spreadsheet, an online budgeting tool such as DirectAxis, or even a simple piece of paper.

How to get started

List all your income on the left side - this includes your salary and any earnings from rentals or side hustles. 

On the right, use your bank statement to jot down all your expenses. This will immediately show where you might be able to cut or reduce spending.

READ MORE | How to be wise with your spending

The above strategy will also allow you to put parameters in place, such as determining your monthly spending limits and how much you may be able to save each month. 

If you are able to save some money towards achieving your financial goals, Nordien suggests including it in your budget as a fixed expense.

Keep a close eye

The same way a guard dog warns you about danger before you see it, keeping a close eye on your budget will show you where there might be risks. If things start to look a little tight, you can do something about it before it becomes a problem, says Nordien.

If you’re a beginner at budgeting, don’t be too hard on yourself: your first budget might not be perfect, but a good idea is to revisit it to see how you are progressing. You will also be able to refine it as you go along.

READ MORE | Financial stress is hurting our home life, 94% of SA participants in new poll say

“It’s amazing how this simple exercise, which probably won’t take more than an hour, can be so empowering, insightful and help you reduce some of the stress of worrying whether your money’s going to last for the month,” says Nordien.


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