How to create a budget that works

An easy 7-step process

How I created my budget

I’m one of those people who for years, would use the excuse ‘ I cannot stick to a budget.’ This excuse was mostly driven by the fear of Math. The thought of coming up with a spreadsheet was scary for me.

1. How much do I earn?

This is rule number 1; your budget should fit within your income. You could have more than one income which is great. Either way, your budget shouldn’t exceed your income. That would be financial suicide.

2. Started with the basics

At the time, I wasn’t good at budgeting. So I wasn’t going to complicate the process because that would make me give up along the way. I kept things simple. I didn’t even use an excel sheet, I used what I’m most comfortable with-word documents.

  • Rent
  • Electricity and water bill (In Dubai, this is sent as 1 bill)
  • Gas bill
  • Food
  • House supplies ( cleaning materials, scented candles, etc)
  • Transport to work
  • Hair, Beauty & Grooming
  • Internet
  • Savings and investments

“The truth is, a habit must be established before it can be improved. If you can’t learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the finer details. Instead of trying to engineer a perfect habit from the start, do the easy thing on a more consistent basis. You have to standardize before you optimize.”

3. Tracked my expenses

At the back of my mind, I knew what I should be spending my money on since I already had a budget.

“Habit tracking keeps you honest. Most of us have a distorted view of our own behaviour. We think we act better than we do. Measurement offers one way to overcome our blindness to our own behaviour and notice what’s really going on each day. When the evidence is right in front of you, you’re less likely to lie to yourself. “ — James Clear, Atomic Habits.

4. I adjusted my budget over time

Budgeting is like peeling back an onion. You start with the highest level and keep going deeper into the core of the onion until you understand what works for you.

  • Emergency fund
  • Black tax/Charity — causes I care about
  • Recreation — life is for the living!
  • Taxi — For commuting at night or when it’s more convenient as compared to public transport.
  • Self-improvement (Books, online courses, etc)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The goal is to keep our expenditures low.

5. Didn’t care about perfection

When we think of budgets, we think of perfect and balanced spreadsheets. If we aren’t already good at it, we give up altogether. I was all about learning along the way, do the same.

6. Excel labels matter

The identity you give yourself matters. Instead of saying ‘I read books’, call yourself a reader. This motivates you to work towards defending your identity.

I also encourage my clients that I’m guiding towards getting out of debt to use the same trick. Need help? I can walk with you through this process. (Email:

7. Fine-tuned my budget using custom-made budgeting questions

A budget is not meant to be a jail term. Our spending habits and priorities change over time and so should our budgets. It’s okay to make adjustments so that you can make the most out of your paycheck.



Your voice of reason before you blow all your money this weekend!

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