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Money is always a hot topic. Do I have enough? How can I make more? How am I doing compared to others?

I must be honest and say that over the years I’ve tried pretty much every way to save and budget and control my money. I was always looking and reading and speaking to people to find out the hottest new tip or shares to buy.

I day-traded shares. I lost money. I bought other people’s debt. The law was changed and I lost all my money.

I paid money for budgeting software and apps that promised to help me take control and save me much more than the cost of the products in a few months.  I spent hours doing online courses learning how to use the software, then got a new phone and found out that the software won’t work with the phone. I lost interest in the others.

I tried writing down every cent I spent. I tried keeping all my receipts. I tracked and tracked until I was exhausted and couldn’t do it anymore.

I’ve done it all. And it was stressful!

Then Mr Tiara Tribe walked into my life. Well, he didn’t walk – he kind of strolled in after a phone call and won me over with a big grin. I was so attracted to his relaxed attitude towards life. It was so different to the way I felt about my own life.

And, the way you manage one aspect of your life is how you manage all aspects. His relaxed attitude, I later found out, spilled over into his approach to money.

Fast-forward a year later and we are moving in together. And, of course, now we have to talk about our money. Here I am trying to convince him that we need to track our spending and sit down every month to plan budgets and stuff.

He cringed. Aren’t there much more fun things to do than all that?

Then he gave me his suggestion. A simple one that’s made all the difference. And one that I later found out has a bit of a movement on the internet – it’s called the anti-budget.

In a few sentences he taught me:

  • How to create weekly freedom money and more time
  • How to save on autopilot to reach my goals
  • How to make money fit my lifestyle and add value to my experiences

There are a few ways to do an anti-budget, but here’s how it works for me.

This is a more intuitive approach than what you’re probably used to, and with it you slowly build new habits with spending and begin to trust yourself again. When the anxiety is gone, you are much more relaxed and you don’t need to hold so tightly to money before spending it for a ‘fix’.

If you don’t want to spend hours on your finances and get overwhelmed, then this one is for you. If you want more time to laugh and love and spend time with those you care about, then this one is for you.

There is an EASY way to manage money. And it ties in with my post on KISSing your way to success. It’s all about automating and keeping things simple. So, take an hour to set this up, then let your hair down and enjoy your life.

Cause it’s short and all.

There are four basic steps to my system:

  • Work out how much comes in and goes out every month
  • Decide how much you want to save
  • Automate all payments
  • Enjoy your freedom money with what’s left

This is how I’ve set up my personal anti-budget:

I printed a pretty bill pay checklist. You can do this in an Excel spreadsheet, but I like working with paper for some reason.

I listed all my monthly bills that need to be paid on the list. There is a column next to the bill list for each month of the year.

As a bill comes in, I write the amount in pencil by the expense under the month it’s due. I then highlight that amount when the bill gets paid. I can literally scan this page at any time and see how much money must go out and what has been paid.

I set up stop orders for bills that had to be paid manually. The debit orders I left as they were.

I did a quick calculation of how much I get in every month and how much all my bills come to. I then worked out my other expenses, such as fuel, food, etc.

Now I knew what I had to work with.

Say I get in $4 000 per month. $1 000 goes towards bills and $1 000 towards other expenses. These payments are automated and tracked in the bill pay checklist or paid with my debit card.

I want to save at least 10% of my income for investing and match that number in an emergency fund. (I want my emergency fund to be 6 months’ worth of income.)

I know I have $2 000 left, so I up the 10% saving rate and automate these payments – $500 to long-term investments and $500 to emergency savings. Once I’ve saved 6 months’ worth of emergency money, I can put the full $1 000 into long-term investments.

There’s still $1 000 to play with. Divide that amount into 4 for the 4 weeks in a month, which gives you $250 a week. Every Monday or Sunday, I draw $250 in cash to spend in the coming week. I call this is my ‘freedom money’ because it gives me the freedom I’ve always craved.

I use it to go out, treat myself, buy whatever I need.

If I have some freedom money left over at the end of the week, I usually add it to my emergency fund, otherwise I carry it over to enjoy the following week. There are no strict rules here. I just enjoy it without feeling guilty as my bills are paid and my investments are growing.

Some weeks I use all the freedom money early in the week and cut back over the weekend, other weeks I barely use any of it.

If you don’t have much or anything left for freedom money, then you need to look for ways to cut your expenses (the bill pay checklist will help) or ways to increase your income. You could get a part-time job, freelance in the evenings, start an online business, or study and get a higher-paying job. There are so many opportunities to bring in more cash.

After a few months of doing the anti-budget I realized that I needed to be flexible with my money. It’s there to help me with future goals, but also to support me in enjoying the life I’m living now.

I don’t want to spend hours updating spreadsheets. If you automate and simplify the process, the machine runs on autopilot. You might just need to oil it every now and then, to see if you can make the process better and work for you better.

What I do enjoy is keeping track of my savings on paper, so I can see how my net worth is growing. But that’s a chat for another day.

Money is basic math – it doesn’t need to be complicated. Respect it and it will respect you.

Is an hour of set-up time worth this sense of freedom? I think so.

Let me know how it goes and if you have any tips for our anti-budgets.