What is a budget?
A budget is a plan that helps you manage your money and see where your money is going. It can help you to figure out how much money you have coming in, how you spend it, and how you save. A budget is a very useful tool for everyone to know how to use across the lifespan.
How can budgeting help me?
Everyone can benefit from having a budget. Making a budget can help you balance your income and your expenses. It may even help you with savings. Ultimately a budget helps you by guiding your spending so you can reach your financial goals. Setting limits on your spending when gambling and tracking your progress are key elements to responsible gambling and supporting your financial resilience.
A budget is especially important if you:
- are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by your finances
- are feeling like your spending is out of control
- don't know where your money is going
- are struggling to pay off your debts
- don't have a savings plan
- are planning for a life event or a major purchase
- want to make the most of your incoming money
Having a budget helps you:
- reduce overall stress
- find ways to pay down debt
- reduce costs and save more money
- live within your means
- feel in control of your finances
Before you start a budget, think about the following
- What are my financial goals? Identify short term goals (like saving $50 per week) and longer-term goals (like paying down debts). Make saving for those short and longer-term goals a part of your budget!
- Where is my money going? Know where your money is going before you start a budget. Collect copies of all your bills and track all your spending – from your daily coffee to your weekly grocery run. Do this for at least one month, keeping good notes. Every dollar you spend has an impact on your overall budget (and can really add up long-term).
- What are my “needs” and “wants”? Categorize your spending into “needs” and “wants” (needs being the items you cannot survive without (essential): housing, medications, groceries, etc. and wants being the “non-essential” items: daily coffee, entertainment, designer clothing, etc.). Not everyone’s needs and wants are the same and they may change overtime. For example, if you have a family, you may need a larger home. However, if you no longer have children living at home, a smaller dwelling like an apartment may be what you need. Knowing the difference between “needs” and “wants” is essential to creating a smart budget.
- What is the role of budgeting in gambling entertainment? Setting limits and tracking behavior are key factors in responsible gambling and in supporting your financial resilience. Budgeting can help you set limits on what you spend. You can set a budget for what you want to spend daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. You can do this by setting a limit on the $ (dollar amount) that you spend OR by setting a limit on the % (percentage) of your income you spend. A good rule to remember when gambling is never spend more than you can afford to lose.
In addition to budgeting, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation provides education and tools to support responsible gambling and financial resilience.
- Playwise: The Atlantic Lottery Corporation makes education and limit setting tools available to players to support them in making informed decisions. Playwise is a collection of tips and tools to help support responsible gambling.
- Limit Setting on ALC.ca: The Atlantic Lottery Corporation offers limit setting as an important tool that can help to support your financial resilience. There are three types of limit setting on alc.ca: weekly deposit limit, daily spent limit, and the daily time limit.
Once you know where your money is going, you are ready to create a budget! You can plan to make small changes that can have a major impact on your budget and help you cut costs or save!